Arthritis is a type of illness in the joints that causes pain, stiffness, and discomfort. In the beginning, it needs to be treated by a rheumatologist. The two commonly known types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. World Arthritis Day is celebrated on October 12, every year. This day was established by the Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI) in 1996. It is important to spread awareness globally about the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. To honor World Arthritis Day 2021, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Rajashekar K T, Senior Consultant - Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement Surgeon, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bengaluru, about things to know about arthritis.
Things to know about arthritis
Patients with RA can have low immunity and have an early association to tuberculosis infection. So, tuberculosis infection should be differentiated with Rheumatoid arthritis with appropriate treatment and investigation to be treated well. During cold seasons the symptoms of arthritis will be more. Bacterial & viral infections can trigger the conditions. Especially viral diseases like Chicken Guinea & dengue can cause arthritis symptoms like arthralgia, but that should be differentiated from RA. These symptoms will go away with 6 months of treatment. Here are some factors one should be aware of about arthritis:
1. Early Arthritis Diagnosis and Treatment Are Critical
Because there are many varieties of arthritis and treatment choices, it is critical to get a good diagnosis and treatment early in the disease's progression. If you wait too long to get diagnosed and treated, your arthritis symptoms may get worse. The best chance of preventing joint injury and impairment is to get a diagnosis and therapy as soon as possible.
2. Other Lifestyle Diseases Can Be Caused by Arthritis
Due to elevated levels of pain, patients suffering from arthritis symptoms such as pain and stiffness generally do not receive enough exercise. This impacts physical health, but it has also been shown that exercise is a natural stress reliever. Changes in lifestyle factors need to be implemented to prevent further damage. Because of decreased activities of human beings, which leads to a metabolic syndrome of diabetes, it can affect the heart and make patients gain weight.
3. Arthritis is more common among older women
Yes, it is common amongst women than men after the age of 40. The reason is not known yet. Maybe some factors of genetic components and hormonal changes can be the reason.
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and keeping weight in check
An individual's weight plays a significant impact in the symptoms of arthritis. Weight gain adds extra strain on your joints, mainly your knees, hips, and feet. Losing weight will not restore the damage that arthritis has already done to your joints, but it will reduce the progression of the disease.
5. Keep a check on the emergence of gout
Gout is a slow poison disease that can be altered with diet. One should keep the uric acid in check to monitor the same. It is important to keep a note of all the symptoms as there can be an emergence of gout.
6. Arthritis' Emotional Impact Extends Beyond Physical Limitations
When you live with chronic pain, you experience a wide range of emotions. Anger, anger, melancholy, depression, loss of sleep, solitude, and fear are just a handful of the feelings that people experience. It's a vicious cycle. The quality of life gets affected once living with RA. Early diagnosis is the key to prevention.
7. Keep a check if your child has juvenile arthritis
Juvenile arthritis is a sort of Rheumatoid Arthritis where when a patient is presented with early symptoms, they can be diagnosed with blood tests and treated. Consult your pediatrician to early diagnose for further treatment.
Types of arthritis
The two commonly known types of arthritis are Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They are:
Osteoarthritis is an age-related degenerative change in the cartilage. It's a gradual process. It leads to wear and tear of the cartilage that leads bones to rub against each other, causing friction, pain and can cause inflammation and determines the activities of daily living like inability to walk, perform daily chores, which leads reduction in walking daily and over a period individuals will also have the inability to walk. They might start using a wheelchair or be confined to bed rest. If addressed at the right time, this problem can be solved using the right measures. When a patient is presented with arthritis at the early stages, the medications like cartilage supplements, injections, physiotherapy, and certain types of thins and braces can help. In advanced settings, treatment approaches like knee and hip replacement will be helpful. This leads to a good quality of life.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease that impacts symptoms all over the body. It can affect the knee, hip, spine, and the small joints of the body, shoulder, and small joints. It is an autoimmune illness when genetic factors are involved, leading to immunological reactions, which further leads to cartilage damage and has patients being affected in multiple body joints. RA is usually treated with disease-modifying drugs with a Rheumatologist. At advanced stages, patients are recommended joint replacement surgeries.