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How Common Is Osteoarthritis Or Is It A Rare Disease?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, distressing millions of people globally. When the smooth cushion between protective cartilage is inflamed, the bones wear down and the joints can get excruciating, swollen and limited in movement.

It typically affects the knee and spine in addition to finger, neck, and toe. An osteoarthritis warning sign can generally be coped, while the injury to joints can’t be reversed.

How Common Is Osteoarthritis?

How Common Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage associated with the joints is stressed and becomes stiff thus losing elasticity. This eventually makes them more vulnerable to injury and damage. Since this is an advancing disorder, the cartilage is susceptible to more damages and loses its potential to perform as a shock absorbent. When the cartilage loses its ability, osteoarthritis patients tend to experience more stress and pain as the bones start rubbing against each other.1

Osteoarthritis is considered to be the most widespread disorder in the United States affecting a huge population that includes both men and women. It has affected over 25 million Americans and gradually worsened over time. Although it affects men as early as 45 years, most women after 55 years of age are affected by this disorder. Research studies show that Osteoarthritis affects 10% in men and 13 % in women after 60 years old.

However, another study reveals that osteoarthritis is not restricted only to older adults, younger adults also experience symptoms due to the obesity epidemic. The symptoms in such cases would be joint stiffness when you get up from one place after relaxing for a considerable time, distressing pain, and limited range of motion.2,3

There are a few major reasons for developing this condition.

Factors Influencing The Development Of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis was earlier considered as the wearing down of joints over age however scientists describe the disorder as the complication of the joints.

  • Age is a classic factor of osteoarthritis. When the person grows older, not all the joints in the body perform in the same degree and they eventually undergo wear and tear causing damage to the bones
  • Genetics is a strong determinant of this condition. You have higher probabilities of developing this disease when it runs through your families such as grandparents, parents, siblings and so on.
  • Overuse of joints and muscles can cause osteoarthritis, and this is most common in sportspeople who make excessive participation and experience sports injuries to joints.4

Is Osteoarthritis A Rare Disease?

Whipple’s disease caused by a bacterium, Tropheryma whipplei is a rare disease that predominantly affected older men has similar symptoms (chronic joint pain) to Osteoarthritis. Therefore, in certain cases, this is falsely misdiagnosed for Osteoarthritis.

Research states that nearly 7 patients were incorrectly identified for arthritis because the onset of the symptoms and diagnosis took approximately 5 years and they were treated using arthritis medications.

On the contrary, osteoarthritis is a common disease primarily affecting the spine, hip hands, fingers, wrist, and knees. The latest study on rare diseases has found that Osteoarthritis is triggered by a rare genetic disorder characterized by arterial aneurysms. The presence of this disease on the arterial tree led to the early onset of Osteoarthritis.

The discovery of this genetic material in humans implies that we are noticing a strange mechanism or causing a factor of developing this condition. These factors act as a sourcing agent in causing the abrasion on the surface of the joints and thus resulting in this condition.5,6


  1. Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis – NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920533/
  2. Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/osteoarthritis-basics#1
  3. 7 Common Causes of Osteoarthritis – Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/common-causes-osteoarthritis
  4. Sometimes called wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis
  5. New cause of osteoarthritis identified by research on a rare disease https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124952.htm
  6. Rare Disease Can Be Misdiagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis https://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/rare-disease-can-be-misdiagnosed-as-rheumatoid-arthritis

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 8, 2020

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