Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slowly progressive joint disease typically seen in middle‐age to elderly people. It occurs when the joint cartilage breaks down, causing the underlying bone to fail. OA symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, knobby swelling, cracking noises with joint movements and decreased function. It typically affects the joints of the hands and spine and weight‐bearing joints such as the hips and knees.
As a result, bones become thinner and structurally weaker. The disease is silent because there are no symptoms when you have osteoporosis, and the condition may come to your attention only after you break a bone. When you have osteoporosis, this can occur even after a minor injury, such as a fall.
The most common fractures occur at the spine, wrist and hip. Spine and hip fractures in particular may lead to chronic pain, long‐term disability and even death. The goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent such fractures in the first place.
OA typically occurs in patients age 40 and above. However, some risk factors might cause it to occur sooner. It affects people of all races and gender.