Chandigarh, October 11, 2022: Arthritis, which causes inflammation in one or more joints, affects millions of people across the world every year. However, rheumatological disorders are often neglected and assumed to be a part of the ageing process. Due to this misconception, many people refrain from getting timely treatment for their condition.
To raise awareness on arthritis and related complications, World Arthritis Day is observed on October 12th every year, the theme of this year is “Arthritis is treatable,” laying emphasis on the fact that the health condition can be treated with timely medical intervention.
Dr Anil Abrol, Consultant, Department of Rheumatology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, in an advisory sheds light on the causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment options of arthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis-related conditions cause pain and stiffness of joints and can also affect multiple organs like the lungs, heart and kidneys, and can be life threatening.
What is the risk?
Patients with arthritis have a 200% higher risk of heart attack, about 150% higher risk of stroke, and a higher risk of developing cancer and depression, besides the body ages faster. Patients suffering from arthritis face reduced work capacity and productivity.
Discussing the medical condition, Dr Abrol, said, “Arthritis can affect people of any age group, including children as well as young adults and middle-aged population. There are more than 100 different diseases that can cause arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), vasculitis and psoriatic arthritis among several other diseases.”
The most common symptoms of arthritis are:
- Pain and swelling in the joints associated with early morning stiffness
- Joint involvement associated with skin rash
- Low back pain and stiffness in young males
- Eye involvement associated with joint pain/swelling
Window of opportunity
Stating that medical intervention could help relieve symptoms of arthritis, Dr Abrol, said, “Mostly, there is an average gap between the onset of symptoms to meeting a rheumatologist of about two years. Early diagnosis is of utmost importance as it not only prevents the disease from progressing further, but any complications associated with it can be treated effectively. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or a combination with biologics (special injections for arthritis) have transformed the treatment procedure. This way, complete remission of the disease is now possible.” Dr Abrol further added that a balanced diet, maintaining healthy weight, adequate physical exercise, and abstinence from smoking can help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.