Prognosis of Osteoarthritis

Updated at: Jan 19, 2013
Prognosis of Osteoarthritis

A lot of people believe that osteoarthritis is a disease that gets worse with each passing day. Therefore, knowing what the prognosis of the disease is thought to be very important for many people.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
OsteoarthritisWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Jan 19, 2013

Osteoarthritis is a life-long disease and it cannot be cured. Most people believe that it gradually worsens so it is natural for a person with this disease to want to know about his prognosis, for instance what will happen, what to expect years down the road. Read to know about prognosis or outcome of osteoarthritis over years.


[Read: Life Expectancy of Osteoarthritis]


Many recent studies suggest that all patients with osteoarthritis do not worsen with time. Most people with osteoarthritis stabilize and the disease progresses slowly in some cases. In many cases the disease actually stabilizes or may indeed improve spontaneously.

Joint damage in osteoarthritis does not progress rapidly. Although about 40 per cent of older people have x-ray changes of significant osteoarthritis in their hips and knees, less than 5 per cent actually need joint replacement surgery.

Severity of symptoms does not correlate with the changes on x-rays. Many elderly with significant changes on the disease may not have significant pain, joint swelling or other joint symptoms.

According to some studies the following are true:

  • narrowing of the joint space may be indicative of deterioration of the condition.
  • symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hand are a predictive sign for deterioration of the knee joints.
  • rapid progression probably occurs in people who have knee joint pain upon entry into clinical studies.


[Read: How to Prevent Osteoarthritis]


As there is no single factor which can correctly indicate the prognosis of osteoarthritis it may be difficult for your doctor to tell exactly what will happen over years. There is not cure for osteoarthritis but you can improve your prognosis by making life style changes such as doing exercises daily, remaining at a healthy weight. Consult your doctor to more on how you can improve your prognosis.


Read more articles on Osteoarthritis. 





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