What a pain!
Pain in joints during the cold weather is common. However, if there is a chronic inflammation in the joints, then it is high time to seek medical help. If there is pain, swelling, redness, increased temperature and loss of functioning in the joints, these are the signs of arthritis — a disease and condition that affects the joints. And to raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs), the World Arthritis Day is celebrated all around the globe on October 12. This year it was celebrated with the theme ‘It’s in your hands, take action’.
Pain in the joints
Suffering from arthritis means swelling and pain in the joints. “The symptoms of the disease depend upon the state it is in. Inflammation is the common symptom. Spasm — a sudden involuntary muscular contraction, morning stiffness in the joints are some other symptoms,” explained Dr Sumit Raj Adhikari, MS Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon, Medicare National Hospital, Chabahil.
Difficulty in moving the joints, loss of sleep and weight loss too are some of the other symptoms of the disease. When the disease is left untreated, it starts affecting the cartilage leading to imbalance of muscles. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the common arthritis seen. Painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs, and wrists occur in the same joints on both sides of the body in the morning.
More among women
The disease is common in anyone and can occur at any age. “It can be found in one to three per cent of the population,” informed Dr Adhikari. The disease can be seen in anyone but it is more common in females than in males. “The exact reason is not known but it is three to five per cent more in females than males,” stated the doctor.
Arthritis is more common among adults aged 40 to 50 years but people of all ages can be affected. Juvenile arthritis can be seen in children from ages between four to five years.
Genetic susceptibility is one of the causes for acquiring the disease. If one of the family members has arthritis, then the offspring has an increased risk of the disease. In identical twins, the concordance is high. “If one of the twins has the disease, then there is 30 per cent chance of concordance in the other twin. But if the other twin child is a female, then there is four to five times higher the risk of acquiring the disease,” informed Dr Adhikari.
We suffer from various infections in our lifetime. Whenever there is an infection, the body tries to fight it producing antibodies. However, some antibodies will have an adverse effect. The effect can be visible in the joints. The covering of the joints will be affected, as a result one suffers from inflammation.
When the disease is left untreated, then there are chances of bone deformity. Increment in spleen and lymph node is visible. When the disease is left untreated, people suffer from joint problems, bone deformity, unequal length of legs and increase in the risk of developing heart problems, lungs, liver, kidney diseases and fractures of bones. It will have an effect in everyday life activities. Heart attack, inflammation in the vessels too can occur. “This is why if there is pain in the joints, then timely treatment is necessary,” added the doctor.
When one suffers from arthritis, it is strongly advised not to take any kind of medicine without consulting the doctors. To live a pain-free life, timely treatment is essential.
Joint nerves are cold-sensitive and if one has arthritis, then s/he must take care of her/his joints. It will be better to protect oneself from the cold. There is a tradition of massaging joints with hot oil in the country. “Hot oil massage helps, but it is not the solution. This is why people must visit the doctors to save their bones from deformity,” advised
People even avoid a variety of food items to treat the pain in the joints, but if the pain is because of arthritis “then there is no need to quit the foods you like”. However, if the joint pain is due to uric acid then “one must refrain from red meat and foods rich in protein”. To know if the pain is due to arthritis or uric acid, one must visit the doctor and take the prescribed medicines.