Osteoarthritis (cont.)

How can self-care and a "good-health attitude" help?

Three kinds of programs help people learn about osteoarthritis and self-care and improve their good-health attitude:

  • Patient education programs

  • Arthritis self-management programs

  • Arthritis support groups.

These programs teach people about osteoarthritis and its treatments. They also have clear and long-lasting benefits. People in these programs learn to:

  • Exercise and relax

  • Talk with their doctor or other health-care providers

  • Solve problems.

People with osteoarthritis find that self-management programs help them:

  • Understand the disease

  • Reduce pain while staying active

  • Cope with their body, mind, and emotions

  • Have more control over the disease

  • Live an active, independent life.

People with a good-health attitude:

  • Focus on what they can do, not what they can't do

  • Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses

  • Break down activities into small tasks that are easy to manage

  • Build fitness and healthy eating into their daily routines

  • Develop ways to lower and manage stress

  • Balance rest with activity

  • Develop a support system of family, friends, and health-care providers.

What research is being done on osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is not simply a disease of "wear and tear" that happens in joints as people get older. There is more to the disease than aging alone. Researchers are studying:

  • Tools to detect osteoarthritis earlier

  • Genes

  • Tissue engineering

  • A wide range of treatment strategies

  • Osteoarthritis in animals

  • Medicines to prevent joint damage

  • Complementary and alternative therapies

  • Vitamins and other supplements

  • Injection of hyaluronic acid (a natural part of cartilage and joint fluid)

  • Estrogen

  • Biological and structural markers (biomarkers) for osteoarthritis.