What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. The most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Arthritis is not an old age disease though most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight. • What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Joint pain, stiffness, swelling, decreased range of motion at the joints are the most common symptoms. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning and feel better as day progresses.
Some form of arthritis like RA, SLE(Lupus), Scleroderma, Sjogrens can affect multiple organs of the body like eyes, lungs,heart, gastrointestinal system and can be life threatening. • What causes arthritis?
An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.
Another common form of arthritis, RA, is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. Some postulates about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis include environmental factors such as smoking, periodontitis (a dental condition), genetic and hormonal issues. • How is arthritis diagnosed?
Symptoms of Arthritis take time to develop and the initial signs are joint ache, swelling and stiffness. Patients may experience fatigue. The early Consultation by a Rheumatologist will immensely benefit.• How is arthritis treated?
Slowing down inflammation and swelling with the help of disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate, hydroxycholroquine, sulphasalazine are some of the options. In patients who don’t respond to above line newer drugs called BIOLOGICS can be used.
Contrary to popular belief, steroids are used only for a short period, particularly for quick response and restoration of function. Most patients don’t need steroids.
Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed for pain relief.
It is extremely important that patients keep themselves physically active, or else immobility can set in quickly. Daily exercises such as walking, yoga or swimming are recommended.
Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight reduce the risk of developing OA and can reduce symptoms if you already have.
Diet with lots of antioxidants, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, can help reduce inflammation., other inflammation-reducing foods are fish and nuts. Minimize fried /processed foods.
While there’s no cure for arthritis, the right treatment can greatly reduce your symptom and improve the quality of life
DR. ARCHANA M. UPPIN
MBBS MD (GEN MEDICINE)
KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital & MRC