|When was the last time you felt an ache or sharp pain in your knees while
walking down a flight of stairs? Or felt pain in your shoulders while preparing
to make that prized swing at your weekly golf game? Or felt stiffness in your
fingers while cooking for your loved ones?
Sounds familiar? You might just be another victim of Arthritis, commonly known
as 'Achy Joints' or 'Joint Pain'.
So What is
Arthritis is a common condition often defined as a swelling or redness in one or
more joints, stiffness in the morning, and recurring pains. Arthritis takes many
forms, and may be a result of a disease, an infection, a genetic defect or some
other cause. Many people associate arthritis with pain, discomfort and general
stiffness of joints, including lower back pain.
"Most people with arthritis find that being armed with information helps them
make positive changes with their lives."
What are the
different Forms of arthritis?
There are over 150 forms of arthritis. The following occur more frequently:
(1) Osteoarthritis : is the most common form of
arthritis. It is caused by wear and tear and old injuries suffered in the joints
over the years. It usually affects the large weight-bearing joints like the
knees, hips and spine. As osteoarthritis gets worst, bits of cartilage may break
away from the bone, causing the bone end to rub together. This causes alot of
pain and changes the shape of the joint.
(2) Rheumatoid Arthritis : occurs when the
body's defence mechanisms go into action when there's no threat and start
attacking the joints and sometimes other parts of the body. A common disease
that affects about one in every 100 people. People of all ages can suffer from
this condition, but it most commonly starts between the ages of 30 to 50,
particularly women. It usually last more than 45 minutes and makes you tired,
irritable and depressed.
(3) Gout : is used by uric acid crystals formed
in the joints - particularly the big toe, ankles, hands and wrists. Affected
joints become red, hot, swollen and very painful but can usually be controlled
by medication or change in diet.
Contract arthritis only when i grow old?
No. Anyone from as young as 6 months can develop arthritis. However, most people
contract arthritis between the ages of 15 to 65. It is the leading cause to
physical disability for those aged 18 and above. However, in many causes it is
|How do I Treat
Anti-flammatory drugs are often prescribe to reduce pin and inflammation, in
mild cases of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In severe cases,
injections are given to ease the pain and stiffness. It is best to consult your
doctor to address your specific problem.
What can I do to
(1) Lose weight : In cases of osteoarthritis,
losing weight takes away some stress on weight-bearing joints such as the knees
and hips. There is also a clear link between obesity and the development of
osteoarthritis in women's knees.
(2) Get sufficient exercise : Exercise is
important for maintaining healthy and strong muscles, preserving joint mobility
and maintaining flexibility. However, be careful not to overstrain yourself.
Strike a good balance between exercise and rest.
(3) Have a healthy diet : An overall nutritious
diet with enough calories, protein and calcium is important. People taking the
drug methotrexate may need to avoid alcohol altogether. If you suffer from gout,
avoid foods rich in purines (e.g. organ meats, and seafood like crab, cockles,
prawns and scallops).
(4) Take care of your joints : At home, reduce
stress on joints by using ergonomically-designed devices (for example, zipper
pullers, long-handled shoe horns) and devices to help with getting on and off
chairs, toilet seats and beds. In the workplace, ensure that you maintain a good
posture, especially if you tend to spend long hours at the computer and are
involved in repetitive or physically strenuous activities. Engage in stretching
(5) Reduce stress : Stress may also affect the
amount of pain a person feels. Regular rest and relaxation helps, as does
exercise and participation in support groups.
Remember! Leading a healthy lifestyle starts with having good joint health!