By: CPMC Genetic Counseling Staff 
Reviewed by: Mark A. Pollard, MD, Cooper University Hospital and Dr. David E. Feinstein, DO, Cooper University Hospital 

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects millions of people in the United States. Osteoarthritis is often referred to as "wear-and-tear arthritis" as it occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time. Cartilage is the firm, slippery tissue that allows joints to move smoothly. In individuals with osteoarthritis, the slippery surface of cartilage becomes rough and eventually can wear down completely, leaving bone rubbing against bone. Osteoarthritis can impact any joint in the body; however, the most commonly affected joints include the neck, lower back, hands, hips and knees.

Osteoarthritis usually begins after the age of 40, is progressive and gradually gets worse over time. For some people, osteoarthritis is mild and does not interfere with day-to-day life. However, for others the pain experienced is significant and debilitating. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments and lifestyle interventions available that can slow disease progression, improve joint function and relieve pain.

How Common is Osteoarthritis?

Overall, osteoarthritis affects 14% of adults aged 25 and older, or nearly 27 million adults in the United States. Thirty four percent of those adults are 65 years of age or older1. Nearly one in two people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by the age of 85 and two in three obese people may develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime2. Osteoarthritis occurs most frequently in older individuals and is more common among women than men.

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Learn more about Osteoarthritis, from symptoms to understanding your risk, through the links below.

Page References

1. Lawrence RC. (2008). Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part II. Arthritis Rheum. 58(1):26-35.
2. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis_related_stats.htm#life

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Learn more about Osteoarthritis Learn More› ]

Risk Factors

Both genetic and non-genetic factors play a role in Osteoarthritis Learn More› ]

Reduce Your Risk

Risk-reducing behaviors for Osteoarthritis
Learn More› ]

The CPMC Study

Learn how the CPMC Study identifies your risk for Osteoarthritis Learn More› ]