Winter alert: Rheumatoid arthritis on a rise among youngsters

Dr Manan Gujarathi, an Orthopedic surgeon, SRV Mamata hospital, shares how to identify the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and how to tackle it, also how it may affect the youths

Dr Manan Gujarathi, an Orthopedic surgeon, SRV Mamata hospital, shares how to identify the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and how to tackle it, also how it may affect the youths

Experts say that there has been a steady rise in the number of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, creating inflammation which causes swelling and pain in and around the joints.

Often, we believe that arthritis is a disease associated with the aging process, and it begins when the hair starts to turn grey.

However, surprisingly, more young patients are being diagnosed with arthritis of many joints, all at the same time. It is termed as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

First signs of rheumatoid arthritis include pain and stiffness in small joints such as fingers and toes, wrists, etc. Often the pain affects joints worse during winter or after rest, and one may feel better after a few minutes of activity.

If the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is confirmed, don’t lose hope. A diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants is proven to help you limit the onslaught.

Tips to manage symptoms:

Not all joint pains are rheumatoid arthritis. Seek medical attention to identify the cause of joint pain. Often, laboratory tests such as CRP, ESR, RA Factor, Uric acid, Anti CCP may be necessary to pinpoint the diagnosis. In more severe cases, an x-ray may be required.

Infection in the recent past can contribute to joint pain because of the phenomenon of antigenic similarity. In antigenic bio-similarity, antibodies produced to counteract pathogens attack synovial tissue. In simpler words, the body produces antibodies to tackle bacteria and viruses. However, sometimes the joints capsule joints may lookalike a pathogen capsule. Therefore, antibodies attack our joints thinking they are criminals. It is called an autoimmune disease.

The course of recovery from rheumatoid arthritis can vary from patient to patient. Some patients obtain remission from the disease with a short period of medication while some may require prolonged continuous medication. If the structural damage to joint makes is significant, surgery may be necessary.

Staying flexible by pursuing exercises like swimming, yoga, and aerobics keeps your muscles strong and ligaments supple.

In more complex cases, your family doctor might ask to take an opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon or rheumatologist to hasten recovery. Often the doctors will initiate DMARD’s: DMARD’s are not painkillers They are specific drugs effective on rheumatoid arthritis that are relatively safe, even when taken for a long time.

 

Also Read :- Foods that can ease your arthritis pain