Every year on the 12th October, World Arthritis Day is marked. One of the main reasons to try and raise awareness is that a high percentage of people suffering from the impact of Arthritis are undiagnosed. So what are the main symptoms of arthritis?
- Restricted joint movement
- Joint pain, tenderness and / or stiffness
- Red skin over the affected joint that may feel warmer
- Inflammation around joints
- Weakness, muscle wasting
Joints in the body usually naturally repair themselves as they are used. Arthritis slows or stops this repair process, making some joints very painful to move. Lifestyle changes can help, the main improvement being weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight and thus reducing the load on joints. A good posture, both when seated or standing may also help.
No gene has yet been identified, but arthritis is often linked through a family. Genetic based research is ongoing to try to find this apparent link.
Age is a risk factor, with the majority of cases amongst the elderly.
Sex – women face an increased risk of arthritis.
Children and Arthritis
Although uncommon, some children do develop juvenile arthritis. The good news is that most children grow out of the condition and go on to lead a normal life. Lifestyle changes, as described above, can help and doctors will recommend other treatments.
Although there is currently no cure, the earlier treatments can start, the more joint and muscle damage can be slowed, improving outcomes. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical. A main medical treatment are, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which work by blocking the effects of chemicals released when your immune system starts to attack your joints.
Other medication include ‘Biologicals’, which work in the same way as DMARDs and are offered if DMARDs are not effective. A third option are JAK Inhibitors, which can be offered when other treatments are not working.
If you need to reach Rheumatologists to promote your product, service or event, please visit our dedicated Rheumatology page.
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