World Arthritis Day 2023: Urgent Attention Needed for Arthritis Management – Timely Medical Intervention Alleviates Pain
As the world prepares to commemorate World Arthritis Day on October 12, the spotlight is on raising awareness about the profound impact of arthritis, a medical condition characterized by joint inflammation and stiffness. Arthritis inflicts regular and often unpredictable pain on millions worldwide, prompting the theme for this year’s World Arthritis Day: ‘It’s in your hands, take action.’
The Arthritis Foundation, spearheading World Arthritis Day, aims to illuminate the challenges faced by arthritis sufferers, urging global policymakers to address the burden imposed by this condition. With over 100 different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, this day serves as a crucial reminder of the need for collective action.
In India, where approximately 180 million people grapple with arthritis, osteoarthritis ranks among the ten most disabling diseases. Alarmingly, 9.6 percent of men and 18 percent of women over the age of 60 exhibit symptoms of osteoarthritis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Arthritis patients may face challenges in retaining full-time employment within a decade of diagnosis, as highlighted by the WHO. Common symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, limb mobility challenges, joint pain, disrupted sleep, malaise, and muscle weakness.
“Early diagnosis is pivotal in preventing further damage. However, arthritis often goes undiagnosed or is diagnosed too late due to a lack of awareness. Recognizing the symptoms is crucial, and individuals should consult a doctor if concerns arise. Untreated, arthritis significantly impacts daily activities, diminishing the quality of life and physical capabilities,”Dr. P. S. Jaya Prasad, Senior Arthroscopy & Joint Replacement Surgeon at Kamineni Hospitals, LB Nagar, Hyderabad.
While arthritis is commonly associated with the elderly, affecting those over 65 significantly, there is a notable segment of individuals under this age bracket. Nearly 30% of all arthritis sufferers are under 65, with some cases emerging in teenagers and even younger individuals. “For conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, there is no cure, but various treatments aim to manage the symptoms. These treatments often involve basic health measures, such as increased exercise and weight management. Pharmaceutical interventions primarily focus on alleviating pain rather than curing the condition,” added Dr. P. S Jaya Prasad.
Physical therapy has proven effective, although its implementation is often hindered by the painful nature of arthritis. Despite the discomfort, maintaining joint mobility is essential for reducing inflammation and achieving long-term pain relief. Dr. P. S Jaya Prasad warns, “Arthritis can lead to spinal disorders, with 80 to 85 percent of back pain cases lacking a specific cause. Back pain stands as one of the leading causes of disability in young adults.”
World Arthritis Day provides an opportune moment to extend support to those grappling with this condition. If you have relatives affected by arthritis, consider spending a day assisting them with tasks made challenging by their condition. Let us unite to raise awareness, encourage early diagnosis, and support those living with arthritis to enhance their quality of life.