We may have heard the term arthritis often, but what exactly is osteoarthritis, and how do we go about establishing an Osteoarthritis nursing care Plan?

What is Osteoarthritis?

Sometimes abbreviated as OA, it is a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage begins to break down and wear away. As this deterioration takes place, the bones underneath start to rub together. All of this leads to swelling, inflammation and pain as well as loss of joint motion.

What are common types of Osteoarthritis?

OA is the most common type of arthritis. It is estimated that slightly more than 12 percent of Americans suffer from the disease. It typically affects the elderly, especially those who are overweight. It may also be a result of stress put on the joints from years of repetitive tasks done, for instance, at a job.

What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

Joint pain, stiffness, and limited motion are all symptoms of the disease. The stiffness especially occurs just after getting out of bed or up from a sitting position. Swelling or tenderness of the joint or a crunching, popping, or grinding feeling or sound happens when you move. It often affects the hands, fingers, thumbs, wrists, the neck or lower back, the knees, hips, or shoulders.

What causes Osteoarthritis?

The main cause for OA has not been pinpointed, but factors such as being overweight, ageing, injury to the joint, or stress put on the joints over the years contribute to the discomfort. In some cases, it may be a result of a genetic defect or that the joint was injured.

Is there a cure for Osteoarthritis?

To diagnose whether or not you have OA, a doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam that may include X-rays, an MRI, and blood work to rule out other potential conditions.

Once diagnosed, nursing care for Osteoarthritis is an important part of living with the disease. Physical therapy can be done to help restore motion and function. Also, maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle and controlling the pain are areas of treatment. Exercise and sometimes rest along with possible medications, alternative therapies, or surgery to replace the joints are often options.

How to prevent Osteoarthritis?

Starting early and making sure you have proper nutrition and exercise may help to prevent OA. Of course, preventing the disease from happening is the ideal way to go. However, for those suffering from the discomfort, prevention is no longer an option. Once the inflammation flares up and the cartilage begins to deteriorate, sometimes the only option is surgery or pain management treatments to help retain as much mobility as possible.

How does osteoarthritis affect elderly people?

The painful joint stiffening often leaves elderly patients unable to move about as freely as they once could which may put them in a wheelchair and often leads to depression. The surgery to correct the problem doesn’t always bring long-term relief and is often challenging to recover from. The pain management options can also become a problem with becoming dependent on the pain medication which can also lead to depression or other debilitating side effects. Osteoarthritis nursing care is important for elderly people living with the joint pain to help properly manage the pain and rehabilitate the joint as much as possible.

Regency Home Care in Atlanta can help someone with osteoarthritis to be as independent as possible. Contact us for more information on private duty care in Atlanta, and to find a partner in care to help with the many effects of osteoarthritis. A few of the ways we can help include:

  • Safe, reliable transportation to health-related appointments and procedures
  • Running errands such as picking up prescriptions and groceries
  • Offering a pleasant companion to encourage physical activity
  • Preparation of nutritious, delicious meals
  • And much more

Call the home health care in Atlanta experts at Regency Home Care at 678.999.2446 to learn more!