Arthritis is an age-related, bone-degenerative disease that damages the protective tissue on top of joints. The causes of arthritis can vary from age-related wear and tear to chronic infection, severe injury or lack of certain nutrients. A recent study suggested that arthritis is more prevalent in India than other diseases such as cancer, AIDS and diabetes, and affects over 180 million people in the country.
The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but other types such as gout are also prevalent. With only 14% of the population in India seeking a specialist’s help for joint disease, India is likely to become the arthritis capital of the world by 2025 if the current rise in incidents continues.
Like all diseases, arthritis too comes with its own set of risk factors. Some of which you can control and others you cannot. Here’s a look at factors that increase your chances of getting arthritis
Modifiable risk factors are something that you can control. Making lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of getting some types of arthritis or can help in not making it worse. These include:
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis than people who are not. Excess weight can be a major contributing factor to developing arthritis or worsening the condition. Being overweight puts immense stress on the joints, and is especially true for the joint of the hips and knees. Excessive weight in these areas can impact the joint directly and cause inflammation that slowly erodes the joint tissue.
Take Control: Maintaining a healthy weight is one major step towards decreasing your chances of arthritis and several other degenerative diseases. Healthy eating combined with physical activity can help you lose weight and stay at a healthy weight.
Certain bacterial and viral infections around the joint area can lead to the deterioration of the cartilage. They can sometimes also cause skin lesions that penetrate the joint and the synovial membrane. People who have recurrent joint infections run a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Take Control: If you notice any swelling or redness in your joints, it could be an infection. Don’t waste any time and get it checked immediately.
Take Control: While high-intensity exercises can have adverse effects on the joints, having a moderate exercise routine can minimise the symptoms or development of arthritis by strengthening the muscular structure around the joint and giving it support.
Joint injuries or overuse of the joints can put additional stress and contribute to arthritis. High-intensity sports such as long distance running can place persistent stress on the joints. Previous injuries can also lead to the development of arthritis if the cartilage or bone is damaged in any way.
Adopting these lifestyle changes, eating a balanced diet enriched with bone-health boosting foods and regular exercising are excellent for maintaining healthy bones and tackling arthritis.
While there are certain factors that you can control, the non-modifiable risk factors are something that cannot be controlled. These include:
Most types of arthritis are more common in women, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Gout is more common in men.
Your family history and genes can also contribute to the development of certain types of arthritis. In many cases, genetic makeup may not lead to the onset of arthritis but can aggravate the condition.
In conclusion, arthritis affects millions of adults and only a few types can be cured. That said, the focus of arthritis treatment must then be on slowing the progression of the disease and controlling the symptoms. By doing so, you preserve joint function and decrease the severity of the disease.