#BackToBasics: World Arthritis Day 2019
Arthritis means inflammation of the joints - it leads to pain and stiffness in the joints.

World Health Organization data show that 0.3-1% of the world’s population has rheumatoid arthritis and, the world over, 9.6% of men and 18% of women over 60 have “symptomatic osteoarthritis”.

Arthritis in India:
According to one estimate, 15% of Indians who have a musculoskeletal condition have some form of arthritis. The most common types of arthritis in India are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. In the spirit of raising awareness on World Arthritis Day, here's what you need to know about these three conditions:

Osteoarthritis
-Age of onset: 50 - 60 years
-Cause: Wear and tear of joints over time can lead to changes in the structure and function of the whole joint.
-Symptoms: Joint pain after physical activity such as getting up from a chair, transient stiffness in the morning or after rest, reduced range of motion, tenderness in the joints and bony swelling.

Rheumatoid arthritis
-Age of onset: 30-60 years
-Cause: It is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own immune system attacks the body's joints. It is a progressive disease that affects the articular and extra-articular structures resulting in pain, disability and even mortality.
-Symptoms: Vague pain with the gradual appearance of swelling or tenderness in the joints, prolonged periods of morning stiffness with arthralgia (joint pain), and pain in a limited number of joints.

Diagnosis of arthritis:
-Physical examination: swollen, warm or stiff joints with restriction of movement.
-Rheumatoid factor (RF) test: a blood test that measures the number of RF antibodies present in the blood. Normally, antibodies are produced by the immune system to help destroy bacteria and viruses that can cause diseases. But the RF antibodies can attach to normal body tissue, resulting in damage.
-Levels of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are also higher in patients. Both CRP and ESR levels are used to check disease activity and also to monitor how well someone is responding to treatment.
-Imaging scans: X-rays, CT scans and MRI are commonly used to get the image of bones and cartilage to ascertain the damage.
-The early clinical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are symmetric arthritis (it affects joints on both sides of the body), prolonged morning stiffness, and painful swelling in multiple joints.

-Radiologically, an MRI or even a simple X-ray may show bone erosion or depletion associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
-Additionally, blood samples may show high C-reactive protein levels or high eosinophil sedimentation rate. Patients may also test positive for rheumatoid factor - a protein.

Treatment options
-While knee braces and orthotics can provide support, doctors may also prescribe medicines for pain relief as well as to slow the progression of the disease.
-Disease modified anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD) are sometimes prescribed for people living with rheumatoid arthritis, to preserve the joints by blocking inflammation.
-Administration of steroids in combination with DMARDs has proved useful in the remission of rheumatoid arthritis in some patients.
-Analgesics like paracetamol and COX-2 inhibitors like Rofecoxib - both are types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs -or opioids (sometimes prescribed for patients who are allergic to NSAIDs) are given to reduce pain in every type of arthritis.
-Knee braces and orthotic can be used by patients - knee braces give support to the knees whereas orthotics are the medical devices that are worn inside the shoes to aid comfortable walking.
-Physiotherapy may help some patients to reduce the progression of stiffness in the joints.
-Reduction in fatty and oily food, along with the incorporation of vegetarian protein diet, is advocated in gout patients.
-Patients should avoid sugary and sweetened beverages.
-Drinking more than 2 litres of water a day is a must for gout patients.

Source: https://www.firstpost.com/health/world-arthritis-day-2019s-theme-time2work-calls-on-employers-to-be-more-understanding-heres-an-in-depth-look-at-the-condition-7486031.html
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