By: Poelano Malema
World Arthritis Day is observed annually on 12 October.
Arthritis is defined as a disease that affects the joints – areas where your bones meet and move. It causes pain and stiffness.
The disease affects over 300-million people and that number is expected to double by 2030. Arthritis is also the leading cause of disability, reports Global RA Network website.
There are three common types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time and mostly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine.
Another form of arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes Rheumatoid arthritis as an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body.
Then there is Psoriatic Arthritis. This type of arthritis is described by Mayo Clinic as a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a disease that causes red patches of skin topped with silvery scales.
Let’s look at common symptoms that people who suffer from arthritis might get to experience:
– Morning stiffness, lasting longer than 30 minutes
– Pain and/or inflammation in the same joints on both sides of your body
– Pain in three or more joints at the same time
– Loss of motion in affected joints
– Joint swelling that lasts for more than three days
– Joint swelling that occurs more than three times a month
– Difficulty moving a joint
– Severe fatigue
– Scaly, itchy skin
– Changes to finger and toenails
– Weight loss
– Hair loss in spots or around the hairline.
A healthy lifestyle is key to improving one’s condition. It is important to adhere to medical advice and to check what you eat. Your doctor will diagnose and give you the relevant treatment based on your condition.
There is also physical therapy. According to arthritis.org, physical therapy does the following:
– Improves the mobility and restores the use of affected joints,
– Increases the strength to support the joints,
– Maintain fitness, and
– Preserves the ability to perform daily activities.
The arthritis.org website recommends drinking willow bark and ginger teas because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
Image courtesy of Pexels/ @Towfiqu