Although arthritis doesn't go away, for many people the acute pain of early osteoarthritis often diminishes within a year. The negative effects on activities and physical and mental health are significant regardless of age, educational level, or gender.
Osteoarthritis itself is not life threatening, but the quality of life can significantly deteriorate from pain and loss of mobility. The major complication of osteoarthritis is pain. The degree of pain can vary greatly, from being a mild inconvenience to being debilitating.
Only heart disease has a greater impact on work. Five percent of those who leave the work force do so because of osteoarthritis. Unless alleviated by medication or corrected by surgery, advanced osteoarthritis can force the patient to forgo even relatively low-impact activities, such as walking. No treatment can cure osteoarthritis, and none can alter its progression with certainty, although many therapies are available that can relieve symptoms and significantly improve the quality of life.
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