Why Pakistanis should observe World Arthritis Day
Perhaps the most common bone-related disorder in Pakistanis is arthritis. Therefore, observing a day for this disease would make sense.
Of course, you need your doctor to properly diagnose you, but if you have pain or stiffness in your joints, you might be suffering from arthritis. Some problems that can arise are if you’re having difficulty climbing stairs, or get a sudden stiffness in your back and legs after sitting for long.
WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis is a degenerative and painful medical condition where joints become inflamed and cause pain. It has become a common problem, and although it is more common in people above 40-years of age, elders are not the only ones who can get crippled by the disease.
The disease is more prevalent in women, who are three times more likely to become diagnosed, due to lack of exercise and a balanced diet, regular bending and squatting and sitting in incorrect postures throughout the day. While getting inflammation in the knee is most common, any joint in the body can be affected.
The major types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis.
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)
RA is an autoimmune disorder (your immune system attacks cells of the joints) and affects the small joints in your hands and feet. It affects the lining of your joints, which causes a painful swelling, resulting in the erosion of bone and joint deformity.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form, happens when the cartilage around your bones wears down over time. This cartilage covers the ends of the bones and acts as a shock absorber to prevent bones from rubbing against each other. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects joints of your spine, knees, hips and hands, but it can damage any joint in your body. While this disease usually affects elderly above the age of 65, orthopedics are now diagnosing younger people between 35 and 55 with this type of disease as well.
WORLD ARTHRITIS DAY
Thankfully, there are organizations that want to create awareness for the disease and let you know you have support. Every year on October 12, the European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) runs World Arthritis Day. EULAR is an organization which represents patients, health professionals and rheumatology researchers.
The day was first observed in 1996 by Arthritis Rheumatism International, to create a worldwide event where sufferers can come together to get their voices heard.
Every year, a new theme is chosen for the day – this year’s theme, and for next year, is ‘It’s in your hands, take action.’ It is to support people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and give every opportunity for their caregivers, healthcare professionals and family members to take action and make a positive difference to the quality of life for them.
Although you should always consult your doctor for treatments, we have come up with a few ways to help you in your need:
- Stay active
- Control weight – being overweight puts strain on certain joints (knees, spine, hips, ankles, and feet)
- Eat a balanced diet: foods rich in vitamin C, fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids,
- Massage: stimulating massage of joints can help reduce stiffness as well as pain
- Turmeric (haldi) – yellow spice has anti-inflammatory properties. Contains curcumin, helps in reducing arthritis pain.
- Hot and cold therapy: take long warm showers in the morning to ease stiffness. Cold treatment can provide quick relief of pain.
So this World Arthritis Day, spend time with people around you who are suffering from this disease and help them understand that they are not alone in this fight.