Osteoarthritis, which is commonly abbreviated as OA, is also referred to as degenerative arthritis, or degenerative joint disease. It usually causes inflammation, degeneration and ultimate loss of cartilage present in the joints.
Causes of Osteo Arthritis
Aging, a Cause of Osteoarthritis
Studies conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, USA, has reported that osteoarthritis is more common in postmenopausal women, usually above the age of 50. This conclusion is based on the fact that calcium deposits as well as abnormal bone growths in elderly people is one of the contributing factors to trigger this condition. Moreover, cartilage which provides protection to the joints in the body, also wears away with aging thus aiding the cause of osteoarthritis.
A Plague to Athletes
Continuous and constant wear and tear of the joints due to excessive physical exercise leads to degeneration of joint cartilages in athletes resulting in osteoarthritis. Hence, sports which cause great impact on the bodies of the athletes, especially causing great stress on their joints can lead to the development of osteoarthritis.
Apart from overuse, athletes are also more prone to injuries caused by on job or on training accidents. Hence, a history of repeated trauma or injuries in the athletes is an important factor contributing to rapid development of osteoarthritis. Traumas like fractures, dislocations or repeated infections can cause degeneration of the internal tissues of the joints.
Apart from repeated wear and tear of the joints, certain occupations such as heavy laborers, lifting of heavy weights, can also result in the overuse of joints, leading to osteoarthritis. Just like overuse of joints, even the underuse of joints as in sedentary persons can also cause osteoarthritis. Absence of a regular practice of physical exercise, which results in improper nourishment of the joints, can also cause osteoarthritis.
Moreover, excessive body weight which cause enormous stress on the joints of the body, especially on the weight-bearing joints can result in the development of osteoarthritis.
Some of the known risk factor which can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis include, presence of a genetic background, i.e., person with a family history of osteoarthritis are more prone to develop this condition.
Addictions, a Contributing Factor
Certain habits like smoking cigarettes, and drinking of alcohol is found to have a direct link to the development of osteoarthritis. Studies have revealed that, women who smoke cigarettes throughout her adulthood, is found to have about 5-10% decrease in the bone density by her menopause, which adds to the development of osteoarthritis. Similarly, excessive consumption of alcohol, which means more than three drinks each day, is also a contributory factor in the development of osteoarthritis.
Certain mental stressful conditions like depression and anxiety, extreme pain or muscle spasms due to any reason; could be contributing factors to the development of this condition.
Studies conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, commonly abbreviated as AAOS, reported that joints in the body are usually affected by rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune arthritis. Similarly, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is also another etiology of this condition.
Role of Diet in the Development of Osteoarthritis
Researchers have reported that diet which is poor in essential nutrients which are necessary for a healthy bone and joint may cause osteoarthritis. Like deficiency of calcium, vitamin D, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, etc., can weaken the bone, metabolism, and also result in degenerating of tissues.
Deficiency of magnesium, along with deficiency of estrogen in postmenopausal women and in women who have undergone oopherectomy, that is removal of the ovary/ovaries; act as synergistic factors leading to the development of osteoarthritis. Similarly, decreased secretion of testosterone in males following removal of the testes, or due to any other reason, is closely related to the development of osteoarthritis.
Likewise, poor intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, which leads to lack of antioxidants, can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis at an early age.
Certain gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac sickness, which is associated with mal-absorption of nutrients, there by leading to nutritional deficiency necessary in a healthy bone mass, can also cause osteoarthritis. Similarly, enteropathic osteoarthritis is a disease, which is associated with inflammation of the bowel or following infection of the bowel by bacteria.
Infectious osteoarthritis, which is commonly referred to as septic osteoarthritis is commonly caused by bacteria, rickettsiae, mycoplasmas, viruses, fungi, or parasites. Bacterial osteoarthritis is commonly caused by the penetration of microbes through injured skin or wounds, such as Staphylococcus and Streptococcus; and gram negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas.
Apart from these, one cannot deny the role played by the infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculi, a bacterium which causes tuberculosis and aids the development of osteoarthritis. Corynebacterial osteoarthritis is a form of osteoarthritis caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis.
Sometimes, urinary tract infection, caused by E. coli is also found to be associated with osteoarthritis. Another important reason is neonatal osteoarthritis, caused by bacterial infection following umbilical sepsis in the newborn. Retroviral osteoarthritis is caused by a form of retrovirus.
The best type of crystal-induced osteoarthritis is caused by gout and pseudogout.
This is a type of an immune-mediated osteoarthritis, caused as a side effect of certain medications, such as following administration of antibiotics, such as sulfonamide, and trimethoprin.
Certain Systemic Diseases
Certain systemic diseases such as, diabetes mellitus, type 1 as well as type 2; systemic lupus erythramatosus, which is commonly abbreviated as SLE, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, which means a high level of cholesterol in the blood, multiple myeloma, etc., can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis.
Psoariatic arthritis, a disorder which is associated with a skin disorder known as psoriasis can also cause osteoarthritis. Apart from these, Lyme disease is also another important cause of osteoarthritis. Apart from these, certain idiopathic types of osteoarthritis, like hypertrophic osteoarthritis, and lymphocytic-plasmacytic osteoarthritis are some other reasons of osteoarthritis. Of course, certain immune-mediated joint diseases such as erosive osteoarthritis cannot be denied. Certain endocrinal diseases such as, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, etc. can also weaken the bones and joints, leading to the development of osteoarthritis.