Degenerative joint disease is a medical disorder that is characterized by low-grade inflammation that leads to pain in your joints. This joint disease comes about from abnormal wearing of the cartilage that covers and functions as a cushion for your joints.
Degenerative joint disease is a form of arthritis. In fact, it is the most common type of arthritis. Almost 21 million people in the United States are affected by it.
Somewhere around 25% of all the visits to the doctors office are due to degenerative joint disease. In addition to this, degenerative joint disease is also responsible for about 50% of all non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug prescriptions.
Degenerative joint disease is referred to in other ways. It is also known as osteoarthritis and degenerative arthritis
There are two kinds of degenerative joint disease. They are primary and secondary.
Primary is a chronic degenerative disorder that is associated with aging, but it does not take place as the result of aging. There are people who have lived well into their nineties, who do not have any functional or clinical signs or symptoms of degenerative joint disease.
Secondary degenerative joint disease is the result of other diseases or factors. However, the medical results for secondary degenerative joint disease are the same as for primary degenerative joint disease.
Degenerative joint disease is marked by the destruction or decrease of synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is what lubricates your joints.
With degenerative joint disease, you start to feel pain upon weight bearing. This includes when you are walking or standing. This is due to the fact that your bone surfaces are not as well protected by cartilage. Your regional muscles may begin to atrophy (waste away), and your ligaments may start to be more lax as a result of you having less movement because of the pain that you are having.
Researchers think that heredity may play a key role in bringing about the degenerative disease. The reason for this belief is that more than one member of the same family is often afflicted with this disorder. Another possible factor in what causes degenerative joint disease is genetics. Some evidence also exists that allergies, whether systemically induced, infectious or fungal, may be a factor that is critical in leading to degenerative joint disease.
The primary sign or symptom of degenerative joint disease is chronic (ongoing, continuing) pain that results in loss of mobility and possible stiffness. The pain is usually marked by a sharp ache or a burning sensation in your surrounding muscles and tendons.
Degenerative joint disease may cause a crackling noise (crepitus) whenever your affected joint is touched or moved, and you may experience muscle spasm and contractions in your tendons.
There may be times when your joints fill with fluid. Your pain may increase during humid weather.
In theory, any joint in your body may be affected. However, most often, degenerative joint disease affects your hands, feet, hips and spine.