World Arthritis Day is observed on the 12th Day of October every year. This was first observed in 1996 and from then on followed every year. This is a global initiative bringing people together to raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs).
Objective of World Arthritis Day:
- Raising awareness about the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
- Encouraging early detection of arthritis.
Types of Arthritis:
Arthritis itself is a common ailment causing pain and inflammation in the joints. It is essential to emphasize that there are multiple types of the condition that can occur to anyone.
- Osteoarthritis: this is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting roughly 8 million people. Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, therefore making movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old and occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, leading to pain and swelling. This can spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape and may cause the bone and cartilage to break down.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: a long-term inflammatory condition mainly affecting the bones, muscles and ligaments of the spine, leading to stiffness and joints fusing together. Other issues include the swelling of tendons, eyes and large joints.
- Fibromyalgia: causes pain in the body’s muscles, ligaments and tendons.
- Lupus: an autoimmune condition that can affect many different organs and the body’s tissues.
- Gout: a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. This can be left in joints (usually affecting the big toe) but can develop in any joint. It causes intense pain, redness and swelling.
Facts about Arthritis:
- Arthritis can limit the type of work that can be done or keep you from working at all.
- It reduces physical activity such as: walking, bicycling, and swimming—decreases arthritis pain and improves function, mood, and quality of life.
- Maintain a healthy weight. People can reduce their risk of knee osteoarthritis by controlling their weight.
Symptoms of Arthritis:
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your range of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Rheumatic conditions tend to involve pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in and around one or more joints. The symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. Certain rheumatic conditions can also involve the immune system and various internal organs of the body.
Treatment for Arthritis:
Treatment for arthritis aims to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain function and quality of life.
Keeping weight in check, strengthening muscles around the joints, doing stretching and flexibility exercises go a long way in keeping the joints healthy and pain-free.
In the early part of the disease, pain can be managed by above measures and simple painkillers and sometimes drugs which are likely to enhance cartilage health. For inflammatory type of arthritis specific disease modifying drugs under medical supervision are extremely important
For end-stage arthritis, now it is possible to replace the joint for most of the major joints and also small joints of fingers. Computer assistance has added another great dimension to joint replacement and helps in precise placement of the artificial joint, thereby increasing its efficiency and expected longevity
Blog Written by
MBBS, MS, DNB
Consultant: Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement