Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of joint inflammation. Thought
to be caused by wear and tear on the cartilage, it usually becomes worse with
age. Without treatment, chronic pain from OA can have significant effects on
your quality of life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
OA is a leading cause of disability among adults.
80 percent of people with OA have some movement limitation.
of people with OA cannot perform the major activities of daily life.
For many people, OA is a source of chronic pain. Chronic
pain can be exhausting and debilitating. It can also lead to problems with
anxiety and depression.
In addition to causing pain, there are a number of ways in
which OA can impact your life.
Achy, tender joints interfere with restful, restorative
sleep. When the distractions of the day are gone, pain can seem intensified. Stiffness
and limited range of motion can also keep you from getting comfortable in bed.
Reduced Quality of Life
Pain and stiffness can decrease the desire to be active. You
may stop wanting to participate in activities that used to bring you joy.
Arthritis may cause a decreased ability to exercise or even
walk. The lack of activity doesn’t only limit your enjoyment of life. It could
cause unhealthy weight gain. This, in turn, could exacerbate OA symptoms and
lead to an increased risk of other complications, including:
Many people miss multiple days of work per year because of
chronic joint pain. Arthritis also can result in a decreased ability to perform
normal everyday activities such as:
In general, function can be improved with treatment.
However, some people with OA may need assistance getting through their day.
Untreated OA usually gets worse with time. Although deaths
from OA are rare, it is a significant cause of disability among adults.
Therefore, it is important to talk to a doctor if OA is impacting your quality
of life. Surgical options such as joint replacements can restore function to
arthritic joints. Pain medication and lifestyle changes can also reduce your
symptoms and improve your ability to get around.