Everything you need to know in one place
Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Did you know already?
- World Arthritis Day is celebrated on October 12 each year to raise awareness of the severity of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).
- The theme of World Arthritis Day 2021 is’Don’t hesitate, connect today: Time2Work‘.
- The day was first celebrated in 1996 by Arthritis and Rheumatoid International (ARI) and has been celebrated every year since then to raise awareness about arthritis.
- Arthritis affects about 21 million people in India, which is about 15% of the total population.
- This debilitating condition affects 1 in 4 adults
Read about our previous coverage of Arthritis Myths for a clearer picture with the correct information.
What is osteoarthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term for rheumatic diseases that lead to persistent joint inflammation. Rheumatic diseases are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that attack the immune system and impair the function of joints, muscles, bones and other organs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 100 rheumatological diseases that can affect your general wellbeing.
Arthritis involves the development of pain, stiffness, and swelling in and around the joints. Some arthritic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also affect the performance of several internal organs.
Arthritis is the most common disease in India, affecting more than 21 million Indians. The number of people who have arthritis is higher than the number of people who have other serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and AIDS. These data add to the importance of recognizing the severity of the disease as they can lead to the development of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary complications, and eye infections.
This article will walk you through some common types, causes, and risk factors of arthritis. You will also learn about the most common symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment and preventive measures that can help better manage the condition.
Common types of arthritis
It is the most common type of arthritis that can affect all joints in the body, but most of the time it affects the commonly used ones and carries your weight, such as the joints of the hands, knees, and feet. In this condition, the cartilage of the joints is damaged by repeated stress, which leads to joint inflammation.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
This condition affects the lower back of your body including your hips, which makes the area stiff and painful. This type of arthritis inflames the joints between the pelvis and the base of the spine. It can also occur due to genetic connections and primarily affects people between the ages of 17 and 45.
As the name suggests, this form of arthritis can affect minors between the ages of 14 and 17 years. The condition causes inflammation of the lining of the joint (tissue in the joints) which can lead to joint stiffness, persistent fever, rash, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, and blurred vision.
A severe form of arthritis that develops due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. The condition causes severe pain, stiffness, and swelling, usually in the first toe, but can affect other joints in your body as well.
Pronounced as’sorry-attic-arthritis“This disease affects the joints of the neck, back, elbows, shoulders, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles and toes. Psoriatic arthritis usually develops in people with a skin condition called psoriasis (the appearance of flakes, itchy, dry patches) and causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease that attacks healthy cells in the body. The condition damages the joints, causes chronic pain, and can also lead to insecurity. Depending on the severity of the disease, RA can negatively affect the function of organs such as the lungs, heart and eyes.
Causes and Risk Factors of Arthritis
There is no single or definitive cause of arthritis. Most forms of arthritic disease occur because of a combination of factors, and some can occur as a result of an existing arthritis condition. Here are some prominent factors that can cause arthritis.
- Tobacco and Alcohol consumption
- Injury to an organ (due to illness or trauma)
- Abnormal metabolism
- Autoimmune disease
- Genetic inheritance
- Lack of physical activity
- Less / no consumption of nutritious foods
- Continuously engaging in activities that put pressure on the joints
Certain risk factors associated with arthritis include
- The risk of developing arthritis increases with age
- Women are more prone to RA and men to gout
- Arthritis can be inherited
- Obesity and overweight
- Joint injuries
- A job that involves heavy lifting
Symptoms of arthritis
The symptoms of arthritis depend a lot on its type. Because it is a chronic condition, symptoms can be persistent or come and go over time. Some of these symptoms are:
- Pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, tenderness, and warmth in the joints
- Chest pain when breathing
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Burning or itching in the eyes
- sleep disorders
- Lumps under the skin (can also occur due to underlying diseases)
- Morning stiffness
- Visual disturbances
- Headaches including migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Diagnosis of arthritis
If you have any of the above symptoms of arthritis, it is time to take the first step in treatment, which is diagnosis. Your doctor can implement the following:
Treatment or preventive measures for arthritis
Treatment for arthritis aims to relieve pain, minimize joint damage, and improve your daily life. Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat the condition and suggest preventive measures that may have lasting benefits. These include:
- Stay physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t skip medication
- Avoid smoking and drinking
- Improving the sleep cycle
- Massage the joints
- Avoiding activities that can put pressure on the joints
- Undergo therapies such as hot water therapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy
- Always consult the doctor if you notice any change in symptoms
Some research studies have found that yoga and Ayurveda can help treat the condition and make joints healthier. Some of the recommended yoga sans are:
- Virabhadrasana or warrior pose
- Vrikshasana or tree pose
- Trikonasana or triangle pose
- Setubandhasana or bridge pose
- Urdhvamukhi Marjariasana and Adhomukhi Marjariasana
Some readily available Ayurvedic ingredients that can complement your diet or consume as side effect-free Ayurvedic dietary supplements to help fight arthritis and promote your overall health include:
- Black pepper
Arthritis is a group of diseases that not only affect your general well-being, but also affect your daily life. To prevent its worsening and lessen the effects of arthritis, undergo early diagnosis if you experience any of the above symptoms. Don’t forget to take the necessary preventive measures and consider yogasanas and Ayurvedic foods that can help treat the condition quickly
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