Education is the most important aspect of living with osteoarthritis. Knowledge is power and you will need knowledge to manage your life with this chronic disease.

Current research explores the causes, treatments, education and prevention. The research exploded in the 1980s with new molecular biology techniques.

How does the body, heredity, infection and environment work together or separately to cause this disease?

Research has shown that there are chemical changes taking place after the onset of the disease that cause the loss of certain fibers that give resilience to cartilage. There are also certain enzymes that destroy cartilage that seem to beginning working faster than the body can replace it. This, apparently, only happens in some people.

The immune system protects us from pollution including swelling, redness and heat and research is delving into the how and why the protection works in some cases and not in others. There is a group of chemicals found in the body by researchers that result in inflammation. Aspirin impeded the production of those chemicals, but the side effects of aspirin are a problem especially when taken over time.

There may be a genetic aspect to osteoarthritis and scientists are researching the heredity factors of the disease. So far, they know that people with a certain genetic marker are more apt to develop the disease than the general population.

Some infections can mix with a faulty gene that can cause a domino effect to set off more malfunctions in the immune system. Also, it is known that certain viruses may cause some types of arthritis.

Interestingly, researchers are puzzled by the disease pattern among countries. And are trying to determine how and why the disease appears to be different in different countries. It also notes that certain injuries can lead to arthritis such as football players with knee injuries often are prone to arthritis.

There are newer drugs being researched to aid with this disease and also how the side effects of those drugs might impact the patients.

What can you do to manage this disease? First recognize the early symptoms, consult with a physician, stay with your treatment plan, exercise to diminish the pain, eat well and maintain a healthy weight, protect your joints, try relaxation methods to control the pain. All of this will make it necessary to modify your lifestyle but it is important that you make your lifestyle one that Promotes good health and manages your disease as well.

A dietary supplement that is most often used by osteoarthritis patients is glucosamine because it stimulates the formation of cartilage that is necessary for joint repair. This supplement is made from shellfish exoskeletons and has a definite anti-inflammatory effect on the body. However, there are natural supplements on the market that will also help to relieve the pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis. Some of these supplements combine various components that appear to have positive results for patients.

Learn all you can about your disease by researching and asking questions. Knowledge is the key to living well with the disease. And as always, discuss any supplement with your doctor or health care provider before taking them.