World Arthritis Day – 12th October


About  : 

World Arthritis day is observed worldwide on 12th October with the goal to increase public awareness about the existence and impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMD) and the importance of early diagnosis along with timely medical intervention which helps in leading a comfortable life. The theme “It’s in your hands, take action” is set to raise awareness and to encourage people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, their carers, families and general public to take action and make a difference to the quality of life of people living with RMDs.


Arthritis :

A common disorder that affects the joints causing pain and inflammation, making it difficult to move or stay active. Arthritis is most commonly found in feet, hands, hips, knees and lower back.


Types  :

1)    Osteoarthritis – The most prevalent type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wear down and usually affects the joints in hands, knees, hips and spine.

2)    Rheumatoid Arthritis - An autoimmune and inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks the healthy cells of the body by mistake causing painful swelling, stiffness and loss of function in the affected parts, usually joints of hands, wrists, knees and feet. It also affects other organs like the lungs, liver, heart, blood vessels and eyes.

3)    Childhood / juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – It broadly refers to several different chronic disorders involving inflammation of joints, which can cause persistent joint pain, swelling, warmth, stiffness and loss of motion in children under the age of 16 years.

4)    Ankylosing Spondylitis – A rare type of inflammatory disease that, over time causes some of the bones in the spine to fuse. It mainly affects the back making it stiff and painful along with the rib cage and neck. The fusing of bones in the spine makes it less flexible resulting in a hunched posture. Men are more often affected than women.

5)    Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – A chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system of the body attacks healthy tissues causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage affecting the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels and other organs. Its seriousness ranges from mild to life threatening. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is more common among women than men.

6)    Reactive Arthritis – It is joint pain and swelling triggered by an infection in another part of the body mostly the intestines, genitals or urinary tract. This inflammatory arthritis affects the large joints like knees, ankles, spine and smaller joints such as toes, fingers and heels. It also affects the eyes, skin and urethra.

7)    Psoriatic Arthritis – A chronic inflammatory disease of the joints and where tendons and ligaments connect to bone. It occurs in people with skin psoriasis, a disease that causes red patches on skin topped with silvery scales most often on the elbows, knees, ankles, feet and hands.

8)    Fibromyalgia – This disorder is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. It is believed that fibromyalgia affects how the brain processes painful and non-painful signals and amplifies the painful sensations.

9)    Gout – A common painful form of inflammatory arthritis caused by uric acid crystals that form in and around joints. It is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, tenderness in one or more joints, mostly the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint) and also the knees, ankle, foot, hand, wrist and elbow. This is more common in men and females usually develop gout after menopause. It is treatable with medications, lifestyle and diet modification.


Symptoms :

Depending on the type of arthritis, signs and symptoms include :

·        Pain in one or multiple joints

·        Joint stiffness

·        Swelling in joints

·        Redness

·        Tenderness

·        Warmth

·        Decreased range of motion

·        Weight loss

·        Fever

·        Fatigue

·        Weakness

·        Anaemia


Treatment :

There is no cure for arthritis, but, there are treatments that help in managing the condition.

a)     Medication – Anti inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve arthritis symptoms. Commonly used drugs include analgesics, Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), counterirritants (Creams or ointments containing menthol or capsaicin), Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARD), biologics (Genetically engineered drugs) and corticosteroids.

b)    Physical therapy – Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. The common forms are physical therapy (specific exercises tailored according to individual needs) and occupational therapy (practical advice on managing everyday tasks)

c)     Therapeutic injections – Pain and inflammation in joints are temporarily relieved by cortisone shots. Arthritis in certain joints like the knee may improve with a treatment called viscosupplementation, where lubricant is injected to help joints move smoothly.


Conclusion :

The Department of Rheumatology, Ruby General Hospital is a specialized department dealing with the clinical problems and allied conditions and providing comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. Consultant MD, DM Rheumatologist is available on all days of the week.


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