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World Arthritis Day: All you need to know about Arthritis

Dr. Pramiti Rastogi shares her knowledge on World Arthritis Day..

World Arthritis Day is observed annually on October 12 to raise awareness about rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) that affect the joints, bones and connective tissues. This year’s theme is “Living with an RMD at all stages of life” and focuses on the challenges and opportunities for people with RMDs in different phases of life.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that may affect one joint or multiple joints.

Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, redness, and decreased range of motion in the affected joints. It can also affect other organs and systems in the body, such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels.

The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joints. It usually occurs in older adults and affects the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, and spine. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the lining of the joints (synovial membrane). It can affect any joint in the body and often occurs in younger adults, especially women.

Factors Causing Arthritis

The exact causes of arthritis are not fully understood, but some factors may increase the risk of developing certain types of arthritis. The factors include: Family history; Increasing age; Gender(Women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis); Obesity; Injury: Infection; Metabolic disorders (Conditions that affect the metabolism of certain substances in the body, such as gout (caused by high levels of uric acid) or pseudogout (caused by calcium pyrophosphate crystals), can cause arthritis); Some diseases that affect other organs or systems in the body, such as psoriasis , lupus, or diabetes can also cause arthritis.

Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

– The signs and symptoms of arthritis vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. 

– Joint pain: The pain may be constant or intermittent, mild or severe, sharp or dull. It may worsen with movement or activity.

– Joint stiffness: The stiffness may be worse in the morning or after a period of rest. It may limit the range of motion or flexibility of the joint.

– Joint swelling: The swelling may be due to fluid accumulation or inflammation in the joint. It may make the joint feel warm or tender to touch.

– Joint redness: The redness may be due to increased blood flow or infection in the joint. It may make the skin over the joint look flushed or inflamed.

– Joint deformity: The deformity may be due to bone erosion, cartilage loss, or joint damage. It may change the shape or alignment of the joint.

– Other symptoms: Depending on the type of arthritis and its impact on other organs or systems in the body, other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, weight loss, skin rashes, eye problems, lung problems, heart problems, nerve problems, or blood problems.

Treatment of Arthritis

There is no permanent cure for arthritis, but there are various treatments that can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. The treatment options depend on the type and severity of arthritis, as well as the patient’s preferences and goals. These include: Medications like analgesics, corticosteroids, DMARDs, biologic agents, or gout medications ;

Surgical procedures such as arthroscopy, joint replacement, or joint fusion; 

Therapies like exercises, stretches, or massage, occupational therapy, acupuncture, yoga, or tai chi can help to improve joint function, mobility, and strength. 

Preventive Measures for Arthritis

– Arthritis cannot always be prevented, but there are some steps that can help reduce the risk of developing arthritis or delay its onset. These steps include:

Maintaining a healthy weight; Eating a balanced diet: A healthy diet can provide the nutrients and antioxidants that are essential for joint health and function. Foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, such as fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and olive oil, may help reduce inflammation and pain. Foods that have inflammatory properties, such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and processed meats, may worsen inflammation and pain; Exercising regularly; Protecting the joints: Avoiding injuries or infections that can damage the joints is important for preventing arthritis; Managing other conditions: Controlling other diseases that can affect the joints or increase the risk of arthritis is also important for preventing arthritis. 

Arthritis is a common disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause pain and disability and affect the quality of life of those who have it.

World Arthritis Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about arthritis and its impact on individuals and society. It also encourages people to seek early diagnosis and treatment and to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent or manage arthritis.

By working together with healthcare providers, researchers, policymakers, and support groups, people with arthritis can overcome the challenges and live well with their condition.

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