Arthritis In India: types, symptoms and prevention

Posted by Medha Malaviya on 9th Dec 2020

Arthritis In India: types, symptoms and prevention

Arthritis is a very common problem but people are not well-informed about it. Arthritis is not one single disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages can and do have arthritis. Arthritis is not related to age although it commonly occurs as one gets older. A study done by SRL Diagnostics in 2017 revealed that Indians mostly suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis. In India, cases of arthritis are more in women than men. The study also revealed that in the Eastern part of India, high ESR and CRP levels were prescribed to patients which indicates inflammation of joints. In the Northern part of India, medication dosage shows the prevalence of gout and high content of uric acid in the body. Around 180 million people suffer from arthritis in India. It is estimated that India will emerge as the capital of Osteoarthritis by 2025 with more than 60 million to be likely affected.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness and swelling. The movement of the joint becomes restricted and the region becomes red. Many people experience more pain when the area is exposed to cold air. This symptom, however, may not be common for everyone. Symptoms may also differ based on the type of arthritis one has.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease that has the potential to cause damage to the entire body. The pain is distributed on both sides of the body and the best treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can only be done if the disease is recognized early. Early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are:-

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling in the joint area
  • Stiffness in movement
  • Deformity
  • In the later stages, rheumatoid arthritis leads to limited joint movement.

How to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis has no cure but regular treatment helps one manage the pain. Home remedies help in reducing pain and allow the joint to work efficiently. To curb the pain, the following methods can be implemented:

  • Hot and cold compressors
  • Acupuncture for pain relief
  • Biofeedback
  • Oil massages
  • Exercise
  • Products with capsaicin as an ingredient
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Increase Turmeric consumption
  • Magnet Therapy
  • Essential oil treatment

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the most common form of arthritis prevalent in India today. It causes bones to become weak and brittle. The bones become susceptible to fracture even with a mild fall. This type of arthritis usually occurs in the wrist, the hip and the spine. Osteoporosis prevents the body from replacing old tissues with the new ones thus hollowing out the bones and making them weaker day-by-day until the bones are unable to bear the weight of the body. Women past their menopause stage suffer from osteoporosis often due to poor diet and old age.

Osteoporosis is a slow and silent disease. It shows no early symptoms which makes it harder to diagnose and treat. Physical symptoms are only visible when the bone loss increases. Osteoporosis can be recognized by symptoms like vertebrae collapse, backpains, bending of the spine over time, frequent fractures due to brittle bones and stooping posture.

Osteoporosis is more common in women as compared to men and if the family has a history of osteoporosis then one is at a higher risk of suffering from this disease. People having thyroid problems are also high risk patients. A lifelong lack of calcium plays a role in the development of osteoporosis. Low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. People who have had gastrointestinal surgeries or removed/reduced organ size limit the surface available for nutritional intake. This leads to severe weight loss and increases risk of osteoporosis.

Excessive alcohol consumption and tobaccos use also weakens bones. People who spend a lot of time sitting have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do those who are more active.

How to tackle Osteoporosis 

  • Eat adequate amount of protein

Protein increases bone density and is also the building block of the body. Legumes, soy, nuts, eggs are some sources of protein.

  • Maintain Body Mass Index

Underweight people usually have weak bones that can lead to frequent fractures and bone loss. Even being overweight can have negative impact on the bones. One should keep weighing themselves regularly and maintain a balanced weight.

  • Calcium consumption

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. This daily amount increases to 1,200 milligrams when women turn 50 and men turn 70. Dairy products, green leafy vegetables, salmons and sardines, soy, tofu, oranges and cereals are excellent sources of calcium. These should be included in the daily diet. Patients suffering from osteoporosis are also advised to take calcium tablets and supplements to increase quantity of calcium in the body.

  • Soak Vitamin D

The best source of Vitamin D is the sunlight but if its difficult to soak sunlight everyday then other sources of Vitamin D are fish, eggs, red meat etc. It's recommended that adults ages 51 to 70 get 600 international units (IU) and 800 IU a day after age 70 through food or supplements.

  • Exercise Daily

Exercise should include swimming, cycling and running to keep the joints moving and in perfect condition.

Lifestyle changes go a long way in preventing arthritis from happening. Eating a healthy diet is the most important thing. Always remember to include antioxidants and inflammation reducing foods like fish and nuts in your diet. If the pain is persistent, then do not waste any time and immediately consult a doctor. “Prevention is better than cure”, this saying is absolutely true in the case of arthritis. Early diagnosis and a proper course of treatment can help manage arthritis and stop it from getting worse. Fitness and wellness is the key to preventing arthritis.