Degenerative arthritis generally refers to osteoarthritis which is mostly related to aging. As an individual ages, the water content in the cartilage increases while the protein degenerates. Because of the repetitive use of the joints of experienced over the years, the damage done to the cartilage can lead to swelling and pain. As the name would imply, degenerative arthritis can get significantly worse over time leading to extreme pain and discomfort and possibly even disability. Degenerative arthritis often leads to bone spurs forming around the joints due to damage to the cartilage.
In many cases, degenerative arthritis will affect a number of different individuals in the same family which implies that there is some heredity to this condition. Although the exact genetic implications of arthritis in a family are not fully understood, many physicians recommend that individuals who have family members who suffer from generative arthritis take preventative steps to help lessen their chance for developing this condition. Of course, a person does not have to have degenerative arthritis and their family in order to develop the condition on their own. There are a number of different factors that can lead to the development of degenerative arthritis.
One of the most common causes of degenerative arthritis is obesity. This is relatively easy to understand because obesity causes increased stress on the bones, joints and cartilage. Overweight individuals are strongly encouraged to lose weight and exercise regularly in order to get their weight at healthy levels in order to reduce their chances of developing degenerative arthritis. Degenerative arthritis can also be a result of congenital defects, diabetes, hormone disorders, surgery or repeated trauma to the joint. An individual of any of these risk factors should be aware and take steps to protect their joints as much as possible.
Individuals with degenerative arthritis can manage the condition with the use of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medications in addition to a tailored exercise program. Some individuals with degenerative arthritis of also found relief using non-drug-related treatments such as hot packs, acupuncture, massage and low impact exercise such as swimming. It is important for a person with degenerative arthritis to work their joints as much as they would feel comfortable in order to prevent stiffness and swelling from becoming worse. Extreme situations, degenerative arthritis may require an individual to undergo surgery in order to alleviate the pain that they are experiencing. Treatment options will vary, however, depending on the individual.