Causes, types and treatment of ARTHRITIS

MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK - PART V

Survey results for arthritis reported by business standard

Honestly, many of us have hard about arthritis, it is a disease causes joint pain, right? Then is it really "more common than you think"? Read on to know about why is it a part of this series and what is the possible treatment for arthritis.

Let us talk about some numbers. A bussiness standard report from 2018 claimed that 180 million people in India are affected by arthritis i.e. a prevalence of ~14%, higher than AIDS, cancer and even diabetes. One in every five women above the age of 60 suffers from arthritis and whereas one in every ten men is affected in the same age group.  80% of these victims have limited mobility with 25% finding it difficult even to complete their daily tasks. While it more prevalent in the age groups of above 60, people in the middle ages are also impacted (8 in 1,00,00 suffer from arthritis between 18 to 34 years of age). Not only middle ages, JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) affects children between the age groups of 6 months to 16 years.

So what causes this "joint pain" disease?

There are over 100 types of arthritis. The top two being rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder. This means that the immune system of the body starts attacking the healthy tissues causing inflammation in the joints. This inflammatory response affects the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints, eventually destroying both bone and cartilage inside the joint. 

Osteoarthritis on the other hand, is caused by the wear and tear of the joints. As the cartilage around the joints reduces, the friction between bones and the passing of shocks between bones causes the pain under osteoarthritis.

Common causes for arthritis are obesity, age and gender, injuries, muscle weakness and genes.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

As per Healthline, typical symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • limited range of motion that sometimes goes away after movement

  • clicking or popping with bending

  • muscle weakness around the joint

  • instability or buckling of the joint

  • bony growths in the fingers

  • grating or scraping feeling in the knees

Similarly, rheumatoid arthritis has the symptoms of:

  • morning stiffness that can last 30 minutes or more

  • more than one affected joint

  • onset in smaller joints like feet and hands

  • same joints on both sides of the body are affected

  • fatigue

  • low-grade fever

  • inflammation of the eyes and mouth

  • inflammation of the heart muscle and blood vessels

  • low red blood cell count

Is arthritis genetic?

There is no conclusive evidence to prove that arthritis is genetic. Although, certain studies have indicated that one is more prone to arthritis if there is a history of arthritis. in the family.

Similarly, smoking is another cause that does not directly cause arthritis but makes one more vulnerable to it. Also, the effects are more severe for smokers as against non-smokers.

What further complications can arthritis cause?

  • Reduced mobility is the most important hinderance of arthritis

  • Possible weight gain owing to reduced mobility which can further complicate the arthritis is a possible outcome 

  • Increased risk of metabolic disorders with limited movement can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart diseases

  • Inflammation in the other areas particularly in case of autoimmune / rheumatoid arthritis is known to affect skin, eyes, blood vessels and lungs.

  • Effect on mental health because of higher risk of anxiety and depression due to ongoing pain, inflammation and social isolation can also be a serious concern for people with arthritis.

What are the possible ways for treatment of arthritis? Can arthritis be cured?

While stage 1 and stage 2 arthritis can be cured, beyond there is a very little chance for curing arthritis. Ministry of Ayush is conducting the first-of-its-kind clinical trial for Rheumatoid arthritis starting May 2022 with 240 volunteers to gauge the effectiveness of ayurveda for rheumatoid arthritis. 

Most treatments reduce the symptoms and help the patients lead a normal life.

Medicines and supplements

Analgesics, steroids, immunosuppressants are the common form of medications for arthritis. Supplements both, allopathic and ayurvedic (cinnamon seeds, punarnavah, carom seeds, turmeric, etc.) are available to alleviate the pain in arthritis.

    Physical therapy

      Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the joints can also help in managing the condition of arthritis. Massages are also common to help reduce the pain in joints.

      Lifestyle changes

        Losing excess weight, eating nutrient dense diet, avoiding processed food, fried food, dairy products and a high intake of meat, regular exercise (swimming is supposed to be better than walking since it does not pressurise the knees and joints), listening to the body and not over-exerting 

        Surgery

          Joint replacement, more commonly for knees and hips is one way to avoid the joint pain. If the arthritis is more severe for wrists and fingers, joint fusion is known to help, by eliminating the joint, one can eliminate the pain.

            At Chyavan Rishi Ayur Siddha, our small attempt to help the patients with arthritis, is our ayurvedic massage oil for joint pain relief, Chyavan Dard Nivarak. This ayurvedic massage oil in addition to being excellent for joint pain relief also works on muscle and bone development to help fight arthritis. 

            If you would like to read up on the other blogs in this series called 'More common than you think', here are quick links for Urinary Tract Infection, Mental wellness, Tuberculosis, Constipation, Erectile dysfunction, Periodontitis / Pyorrhea, Anaemia, Kidney stones, Asthma, GERD / Acidity, Bloating.