Osteoarthritis 2002 Arthritis Conference Report

William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR, Editor of the Arthritis Center, Gives Perspectives Of Interest On Osteoarthritis From 2002 Annual Scientific Meeting Of The American College Of Rheumatology.

Below are perspectives on key reports presented at the national meeting of the American College of Rheumatology:

Introduction

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by breakdown of cartilage, with the eventual loss of the cartilage of the joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common and affects over 15 million people in the United States. Before age 45, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After age 55, it occurs more frequently in females. In the United States, all races appear to be equally affected. A higher incidence of osteoarthritis exists in the Japanese population, while South African blacks, East Indians, and southern Chinese have lower rates. Osteoarthritis usually affects the hands, feet, spine, and the large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.

Medications