Arthritis is not a single disease but a broad term for several joint related diseases.
World Arthritis Day is celebrated every year on October 12 with the purpose of spreading awareness about the group of diseases known as arthritis. Arthritis is a broad term for more than a hundred diseases related to joints which cause swelling in or around a joint, resulting in pain, stiffness, and sometimes difficulty in moving.
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History and significance
World Arthritis Day was first observed in 1996 with the aim to provide an opportunity for all communities to come together and find a common voice to help people suffering from different forms of arthritis and support their caregivers.
On this day, campaigns are launched around arthritis and people are encouraged to practice timely diagnosis and information is shared on management strategies.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
The most common symptoms of Arthritis are:
*Stiffness and swelling in joints
*Decreased range of motion
*Redness of the skin around the joints
*Unexplained joint pain which may be accompanied by fever.
*Persistent joint pain that painkillers cannot cure.
What are the different types of arthritis?
Arthritis is a broad term that describes over 100 different joint conditions out of which the common types are:
Osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” of joints which develops when joint cartilage breaks down from repeated stress.
Ankylosing spondylitis, or arthritis of the spine, which usually affects the lower back.
Juvenile arthritis is a disorder that affects children 16 years old or younger, where the immune system attacks the tissue around joints.
Gout is a condition where hard crystals/cysts of uric acid form in the joints.
Psoriatic arthritis is, joint inflammation that develops in people with an autoimmune disorder that causes skin irritation called psoriasis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack synovial membranes of joints.
How to minimize the risk of arthritis with age?
Some causes of arthritis are beyond your control, as they may be autoimmune or appear with old age. However, there are some healthy practices which can help reduce the risk of developing arthritis.
Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on weight-bearing joints like hips and knees.
Control/keep your blood sugar in check as high blood sugar can stiffen the tissue that supports joints.
Perform low-impact daily exercise or exercise at least five times a week to help the joints stay limber and strong.
Avoid injury as an injured joint is more likely to develop arthritis.
Quit smoking as it puts stress on tissues that protect joints.
Eat fish twice a week or take fish oil supplements rich in Omega-3s, which may reduce inflammation.
Get routine preventive care to help reduce the risk or slow the progress of arthritis.
(Edited by : sudarshanan mani)