- 12 Oct 2020
World Arthritis Day is celebrated on 12th October every year. It is an important event that aims at spreading awareness on various types of ailments related to rheumatism and musculoskeletal disorders, arthritis being one of them. People are educated about healthy living choices, prevention and treatment for the diseases through active campaigning, volunteering, social media talks and discussions, health camps and spreading the word through press conferences.
The word ‘Arthritis’ has been derived from the Greek word “Arthro” which means joint and “itis” meaning inflammation. It is a painful and degenerative condition of the bones and joints marked by inflammation that causes stiffness and pain. The problem is caused by wear and tear of joints over the years continues to grow with ageing.
Today if we look at lifestyle disorders and health indices of people around the world, we can easily find some disease patterns growing at an alarming rate. Arthritis happens to be one of them, if not dealt timely and with care. The disease keeps progressing and disables a person from carrying out his normal daily activities. The patients thus becomes dependent on their family members for every simple job they need to do for themselves.
Typical symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion, redness of the skin, warmth and swelling of the affected joints. The disease typically becomes more common with age, but some of its types affect young people and even children and teenagers, of which, juvenile idiopathic arthritis is an example.
Types of arthritis:
Arthritis is the name for more than one form of disease signs. An individual could be suffering from osteoporosis or gout or joint inflammation; and it all will be enlisted under one common term called ‘arthritis’, which causes severe pain in joints, cringes body movements, increases stiffness and sometimes shows swelling too. Another common forms of Arthritis are Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis. These are collectively termed as RMDs or rheumatoid and musculoskeletal diseases.
Common Causes and risk factors
Causes and risk factors associated with each form of arthritis but these are the ones most common ones:
Ageing is a major factor in arthritis as cartilage becomes increasingly brittle over time and is left with less capacity to repair itself. Arthritis can strike at any age, and even children are not exempted of it. While it is more common in older adults, symptoms should be overlooked in all age groups.
Any previous joint damage can be the reason for irregularities in the normal, smooth joint surface. A prior injury surely has a role to play in the development of arthritis of the wrist or the knee, where the complex bone and cartilage structure can be easily compromised by impact or compression.
People who have a joint infection (septic joint)), multiple episodes of gout, or recurring staph infection around a joint are at a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and lupus are among the other types of inflammatory arthritis in which the person’s own immune system attacks his own tissues. What causes this to happen is yet to be ascertained? The individual’s immune system is sensitized and makes antibodies that starts attacking their own joints and organs.
Genetics also seems to play a big role the development of certain types of arthritis, although the association is yet to be fully understood. A patient’s family history can better suggest an increased risk depending on the type of arthritis involved.
Managing arthritis: Possible cure and therapies.
While there is no certain and permanent cure available for arthritis, there are treatment options and some helpful solutions available. The treatment and management of arthritis completely depends on the type and severity of the condition. The commonly followed treatment therapies that are applicable in most forms of arthritis include:
Rest, relaxation, physical therapy, monitored exercises, joint mobilization, healthy diet, weight loss, water therapy, health and cold fomentation therapy, joint care advice, devices such as splints, aces, crutches, wheelchairs etc. for better mobility. Patients may have to undergo surgery in order to restore function or to relieve pain and sometimes to introduce prosthetic joint replacements for better mobility. The therapy plan is developed in agreement with the patient and a multidisciplinary team.
Medication can help minimize the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
Drugs are prescribed in many forms of arthritis. The type of medicine prescribed depends on the condition and on the individual patient. Most of these drugs do not promise a cure but rather limit the symptoms. One of the exceptions is arthritis that is caused by an infection, which can cure the condition using antibiotics.
This area of medicine is showing great assurance in helping rebuild the soft tissues within the joints using stem cells and platelets.
Part of the treatment plan may include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and prescription medications designed to address arthritis pain.
Rehabilitation and Lifestyle Management
Rehabilitation requires patience. It takes time to strengthen your joints and learn how to do familiar tasks in new ways. But the results can show a greatly improved quality of life.
The focus of rehabilitation program is to offer help to the patient return to the optimum level of function and independence possible while improving the overall quality of life—physically, emotionally, and socially. The goal of rehabilitation is on relieving pain and increasing mobility in the affected joint(s).