What is Arthritis? Arthritis is inflammation of a joint bringing such symptoms as chronic joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. The Arthritis Society states that approximately 4.6 million Canadians are currently living with arthritis; by 2036 this number will increase to 7.5 million (1 in 5). Health care costs and loss of productivity amount to $33 billion, by the year 2031 this number is expected to double. (The Arthritis Society, 2014). According to Aging in Contemporary Canada, arthritis and rheumatism is the most common chronic health problem of Canadian seniors affecting 47%. (Chappell, McDonald, & Stones, 2008, p. 221). With over 100 types of arthritis varying from mild to severe the most common age related form is osteoarthritis (OA) affecting 1 in 10 Canadians. Approximately 13% of Canadians suffer with OA. Joint damage from OA accounts for 80% of hip replacement surgery and over 90% of knee replacement surgeries. (The Arthritis Society, 2014). Severe cases of OA can restrict the ability to participate in activities and consequently affect a person’s quality of life. At this time there is no cure for OA without a joint replacement. Although OA can affect all ages the purpose of this paper is to focus on the impact this disorder has on the daily activities and functioning on the aging population. Discussion will also highlight the origin and manifestations of this disorder and will examine current and future treatment options available.
OA is a degenerative joint disorder affecting both men and women over age 60. In an osteoarthritic joint the cartilage between the two bones becomes thin and damaged resulting in a narrowing of the joint space and rubbing of the bones causing destruction.(Touchy & Jett, 2010, p. 285). Generally, weight bearing joints are most affected such as hips, knees, and feet; however, non- weight bearing joints are also affected such as the spine and shoulders. OA is divided into two types, primary arthritis and secondary arthritis. Primary OA generally occurs when there is no obvious reason for having arthritis and is usually found in fingers, base of thumbs, spine and big toes. This type is normally associated with aging and can cause impaired physical mobility, alterations in pain management and in some cases severe deformities. Secondary OA is usually caused by a previous injury to the joint and commonly seen in professional athletes. Researchers have been unable to pinpoint a specific reason for OA; however, certain risk factors exist including age, being female, obesity, family history, joint injury, complications from other types of arthritis and wear and tear. (Touhy & Jett, 2010, p. 287). Different research suggests that other risk factors such as estrogen deficiency, osteoporosis, vitamins C, E, and D deficiency and high levels of C-reactive protein also may contribute to OA. (CDC, 2011).
As people age so does the chances of developing OA; however, this is not a consequence of...