Darbhanga, 4th November 2016: One of the most common health disorders affecting the elderly, arthritis is a debilitating condition that restricts movement and affects normal life. However, arthritis should not be considered a normal part of ageing as healthy lifestyle choices can delay or even prevent its onset.
As we observe World Arthritis Day, doctors at Paras Global Hospital, Darbhanga say that it is important to raise awareness about prevention and treatment mechanisms of arthritis to help people restrict its impact.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness. It affects people of all age groups, most commonly the elderly. There are over 100 identified (and the number is growing) types of arthritides. The most common among them are osteoarthritis i.e. the age-related wear and tear of joints and rheumatoid arthritis i.e. the immune mediated inflammation.
“Majority of arthritis conditions are inherited to some extent. However, the condition can be prevented by lifestyle modification including weight management, regular physical exercise and preventing injuries. Excessive body weight is in many cases responsible for early onset of arthritis as a heavy body puts a lot of pressure on the knee joints causing them to wear out early. This is why obese people suffer from early knee arthritis. At the same time, lack of physical activity is another major driver of arthritis,” says Dr Hasib Iqbal Kamali, Ortho & Joint Replacement Surgeon, Paras Gobal Hospital, Darbhanga.
Arthritic patients suffer from two consequences of the condition – pain in the joints and reduced mobility and restricted movement. This makes it difficult for them to perform their daily normal tasks including walking and performing household chores.
While is no cure for arthritis, a number of medical interventions can be made to reduce its impact. The main goal of treatment is to reduce pain and prevent additional damage to the joints. In case of extreme joint damage which is excessively restricting mobility, joint replacement procedure is recommended.
“While arthritis is an irreversible condition and you cannot get back your young knees, an arthritis-friendly lifestyle can help you maximize your ability and lead a normal life. The focus has to be on the one hand delaying or preventing the onset of the condition by leading a healthy lifestyle and on the other hand managing arthritis once you have it. An arthritis friendly lifestyle includes strict weight control, healthy diet, daily exercise and interventions to reduce pain such as heat therapy and knee supports,” says Dr Abhishek Sarraf, Ortho & Spine Surgeon, Paras Global Hospital, Darbhanga.
Common symptoms of arthritis include swollen, warm or red joints, limited range of motion, and grating feeling in the joints. Imaging scans such as X-ray, CT and MRI scans help in determining the exact cause of arthritis.
Treatment of Arthritis includes:
1. Life style modification including regular walking, posture correction, relaxation techniques.
2. Physical therapy involving exercises and deep heat therapies that help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint.
3. Medications include analgesics, e.g., hydrocodone or acetaminophen which are effective for pain management; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), e.g. ibuprofen which help control pain and inflammation; menthol or capsaicin creams that block the transmission of pain signals from your joints in case of RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and corticosteroids or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
4. In many cases surgical procedures help patients return to their normal lives. Surgical procedures may include Osteotomy or realignment of deformed joints; Join Replacement Surgery or replacement of native destroyed joint with an artificial one which is most commonly performed on hips and knees; and Joint Fusion done in case of small joints of hands and occasionally for large joints.