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Poor Lifestyle Choices Double The Risk of Arthritis: Warn Doctors

Mumbai: Arthritis cases are on the rise. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Gout, and Lupus are some types of arthritis. While rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most painful types of arthritis affecting the joints, surrounding tissues, organs, and leading to the highest number of deaths. Certain risk factors like obesity, smoking, stress and a sedentary lifestyle increase the likelihood of getting some types of arthritis or making it worse. It is possible to decrease the risk of arthritis by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, eat a well-balanced diet, de-stressing, and quitting smoking.

Arthritis is a debilitating condition that leads to pain in the joints and surrounding joints. A large number of people are battling arthritis, some continue to suffer in silence, and many cases go unreported. There are certain lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of arthritis, and leave one crippled for life.

Dr. Dhiraj Sonawane, Orthopaedic Consultant ,Apollo Spectra Mumbai said, “There are many types of arthritis, and the symptoms vary from person to person. Some arthritis is more common in women like osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia. Gout is more common in men. One in five women suffer from RA. People who are overweight or obese may encounter knee osteoarthritis. Excess weight can also worsen osteoarthritis worse. Being overweight will pressurize the joints like hips and knees. Even bacteria and viruses infect joints and cause arthritis. Joint injury and repetitive stress can take a toll on the joint and lead to osteoarthritis in that joint. Even high levels of estrogen (female sex hormone also seen in males) can invite arthritis. Menopause, a previous infection, and stress aggravate arthritis symptoms. Initially, around 10-15 youngsters with arthritis visited me. Now, more than 20 youngsters above 30 come with early arthritis especially who are desk job binded."

Dr Shyam Thakkar, Orthopedic (Foot and Ankle Specialist) at Lokmanya Hospital, Mumbai, said, “Arthritis is now becoming a common problem in Indian population. Most of these patients are above the age of 50 years. Almost, 6 out of 10 patients in our OPD are suffering from arthritis. Most commonly affected joints in arthritis in India are the knee. However, we are also seeing increase in incidence in arthritis in Foot & Ankle, Hips and other joints. Unfortunately, the incidence of arthritis is increasing in younger age group also. The reason for this may be because of increase in participation in sports resulting in sports injuries and other joint related problems especially around the Foot and Ankle which are being neglected. If these problems are diagnosed at an early stage, it can be prevented and treated without surgery. But once the arthritis progresses, surgery may be required. Therefore, the problem can be reduced if the treatment is done at the right time without ignoring joint pain.”

Dr. Fahad Shaikh Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon at Kohinoor Hospital said, “Osteoarthritis of the knee happens in people following occupations that involve repetitive knee bending and squatting. Smoking raises one’s chances of RA and worsens the prognosis of it. Smoking makes it difficult to stay physically active, which is essential in managing RA and other types of arthritis. According to population senses 2011 India has 104 million elderly (60 years) which is expected to grow to 170 million by 2026. According to UN population Fund And Help Age India. Younger population may be affected with joints disorder. Following injury or inflammatory arthritis. Internal derangements of knee and hip is quite common in younger age group due to active lifestyle and sports.

Dr. Sonawane said, “A sedentary lifestyle will worsen the symptoms. There is pain and stiffness in the joints due to various types of arthritis, and the muscles surrounding it can become weak. The tendons and other soft tissue get inflamed causing joint instability. Staying physically active can help improve flexibility in joints and the surrounding muscles. Strength training helps build muscle mass and tendon strength to stabilize and support joints. Walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, quadriceps exercises and cycling can do the trick. If the pain is aggravated then just rest and make sure that you fully recover. Sleep to reduce fatigue, and eat well. Avoid foods with sugar, saturated and trans fats causing inflammation. Expose yourself to sun every morning, eat Vitamin D and calcium rich diet, take regular breaks after every 45 minutes. Avoid sitting and Squatting, ground level activities, Indian toilets, obesity, smoking, do not delay consulting orthopaedician, and say no to long term painkillers."

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