By Dr.Amit Saraf Prof & Head Orthopedics, TMU University
Arthritis, swelling, or joint inflammation. describes more than 100 ailments that have an impact on connective tissues, joints, and surrounding tissues. Symptoms of arthritis can vary depending on the type, but joint stiffness and pain are commonly experienced.
Even though there is no known cure for arthritis, receiving a diagnosis and receiving therapy can significantly enhance a person’s quality of life and perhaps even halt the condition’s growth.
Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are among the most prevalent forms of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of arthritis, is brought on by non-inflammatory erosive wear and tear or degenerative reaction to age. It most frequently affects weight-bearing joints and the knuckles of your fingers. People with osteoarthritis may feel pain, stiffness, and swelling when the cartilage in a joint begins to deteriorate.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory condition brought on by the immune system of the body attacking the membrane lining a joint. Inflammation from RA most frequently affects the hands, wrists, and knees. In addition to lung inflammation, scarring, and hardened heart arteries, the illness can also impact other tissues and organs. It starts as morning stiffness that lasts for more than an hour, gets worse when you’re idle, and gets better when you’re moving around.
Depending on the type of arthritis a person has, specific symptoms may vary, but joint discomfort when using the affected body part is a defining symptom of the disorder.
Other arthritis symptoms can include:
- Decreased range of motion
Individuals with RA may also encounter fatigue, drowsiness, and physical weakness. Furthermore, enduring morning stiffness and pain lasting over an hour are typical RA symptoms. As a general guideline, seeking a medical assessment for arthritis is advisable if there’s no relief after two to three weeks of activity adjustments, ice application, and joint elevation.
Expert-Backed Arthritis Prevention Tips
Due to the uncontrollable nature of some risk factors, such as sex, genetics, and age, there is no surefire strategy to avoid arthritis. However, some modifiable lifestyle choices can raise the risk of developing arthritis.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Being overweight increases the chance of getting OA in the knees and can hasten the progression of the disease. In addition to reducing the risk of developing arthritis, keeping a healthy weight can help those who currently have the condition by easing their discomfort and enhancing joint function.
Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
According to research, nutrition may affect the likelihood of getting RA and how quickly it progresses. While some foods may help to increase the risk of arthritis, others may have the opposite impact.
Salt can also raise the risk of inflammation or exacerbate already present inflammation, just like sugar, red meat, high-calorie diets, and refined carbs. Some oils, like olive and flaxseed oils, fatty fish, vegetables, citrus fruits, and other components of the Mediterranean diet are additional foods that reduce inflammation.
Incorporating Low-Impact Exercise
Exercise won’t help replace deteriorated cartilage because it can’t repair itself. Resistance training, however, can boost bone density, which can aid in preventing injuries to joints.
In a research study involving 264 individuals diagnosed with knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA), those who engaged in a supervised exercise program experienced reduced pain and improved quality of life three months into the program. These benefits were still evident when assessed again after 12 months.
Smoking raises the chances of developing cancer, lung disease, and heart disease, and it’s also a contributing factor to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Additionally, smoking can exacerbate the progression of the disease. While the exact pathogenic effect of smoking on RA is still uncertain, the association between smoking and the development of RA is demonstrated in studies.
Moreover, smoking can hinder the ability to engage in physical exercise, which plays a crucial role in effectively managing the symptoms of arthritis.
Avoiding Injury and Joint Trauma
Even while regular exercise is crucial for controlling arthritis, engaging in activities like soccer, football, long-distance jogging, and weightlifting may raise your chance of developing knee OA due to the possibility of joint damage.
Activities involving twisting, turning, and jumping can exert substantial force on the knee joint, and when this occurs repeatedly over the years, it may contribute to joint degeneration.
Keeping up with Regular Doctors Appointments
Receiving a precise diagnosis promptly and adhering to your prescribed treatment regimen can help minimize symptoms and halt the progression of the condition. Consistent medical check-ups are particularly crucial for specific forms of arthritis, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
When to See a Doctor
A person experiencing arthritis symptoms should consider seeking care from their healthcare provider if the following factors occur:
- Persistent joint pain or swelling lasting for three days or more.
- Repeated episodes of joint symptoms happening within a month.
- No improvement in pain despite applying ice to the affected joint.