Home Projects Arthritis Osteoarthritis Occurs as Shock-absorbing Cartilage Breaks Down

Osteoarthritis Occurs as Shock-absorbing Cartilage Breaks Down

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting one in 10 adults in Alberta. It affects men and women equally.

OA occurs when cartilage breaks down. Cartilage acts as a shock absorber between bones and allows them to move smoothly in the joint. As cartilage is destroyed, there is increasing pain, stiffness, swelling and bone damage from bone-on-bone movement. Pain together with fatigue and severely restricted mobility can limit simple everyday activities, such as getting out of bed, dressing, climbing stairs and eating. The ability to work can be severely restricted.

The incidence and cost of OA are projected to increase at an alarming rate as the population ages and people live longer and grow increasingly overweight and obese. It is expected that within a generation there will be a new diagnosis of OA every 60 seconds and one in three will have difficulty working due to OA. The total cost of OA to Alberta’s economy was estimated to be more than $2.7 billion in 2010.

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