World arthritis Day (WAD) was established by Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI) and the first event was observed on 12 October 1996. Since then, every year The European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) has encouraged communities across the globe to help raise awareness in all sections of people across the world of the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
The European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) is a renowned organization that represents people with arthritis or rheumatism, health professionals in rheumatology (HPR), and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations. In India, various health communities are established to spread awareness and support individuals suffering from this condition. Mission Arthritis India and the Arthritis Foundation of India are well known to promote disease awareness for patients suffering from arthritis and rheumatism.
What is Arthritis?
Our daily activities such as walking, sitting, running, holding, stretching, etc depend on our musculoskeletal system's health. One can not imagine doing all these activities with swollen, painful joints. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints. It causes stiffness, pain, and loss of function in one or multiple joints at a time. This severely impacts the quality of life of the patient.
Arthritis has many forms but the most common is Osteoarthritis which is degenerative in nature and is caused due wear and tear of joints. Another type is Rheumatoid Arthritis in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints. Gout is another type of inflammatory arthritis that usually affects large toes and is mainly due to the deposition of excess uric acid crystals in the blood. Treatments for arthritis include oral pain-relieving medications, lifestyle changes, and surgical intervention.
Preventing Arthritis is possible!
Living with arthritis is difficult but preventing it is surely possible. Risk factors such as being obese, smoking, and having low immunity are known as modifiable risk factors. These can be corrected by making changes in diet and lifestyle. Other factors which cannot be controlled are age, gender, and genetics.
(Dr Sameer Ali Paravath is HOD & Senior Consultant, Arthroscopy & Arthroplasty, Centre for Bone, Joint & Spine, Meitra Hospital, Kozhikode.)