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A series of ageing associated diseases – Arthritis

by Yvonne Obike

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What is this?

Arthritis is generally referred to as swelling of the joints in different parts of the body. This condition can affect any age demographic but it seems to occur mostly in women.  There is no cure but there are things you can start doing to live a pain free active life.

Types of Arthritis?

 There are several types of arthritis but the two major ones are Osteoarthritis – which is due to wear and tear of the joints as a result of sports, obesity and even due to injuries. This type of arthritis can also affect your hands, which is commonly seen in older women. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of your joints due to your immune system attacking different parts of your body. This over time causes nodules to develop on your skin over your joints.

 Do I have Symptoms?

 

Osteoarthritis has a slow onset due to gradual deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the particular joint affected.  Its symptoms are joint specific which for example can be holding a cup, brushing your hair, pain when walking. Even being overweight can cause your knees to weaken leading to wear and tear of your cartilage.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can occur slowly or suddenly but are usually very painful causing stiffness all around your joints such as knees, hand and feet in symmetry.  Organs such as heart, lungs can slowly be affected from the damage caused by your immune system.

 

How do I take care of myself?

 

For OA, there is no cure but regular exercise to strengthen your muscles and a healthy diet is the best way to prevent osteoarthritis at any age. A physiotherapist can also give you certain exercises to follow at home which will be specific for improving your joints.

 

For RA, there is also no cure but its is important to get a diagnosis from your doctor the minute you start feeling frequent joint pain at any age before you get older.  Your doctor will advice if you need medication, physiotherapy or surgery to help relive you of RA.

 

Living with Arthritis?

 This is not a death sentence but it will change your day  to day activity, so it is important to start helping yourself!

  • Inform employers to avoid indirect discrimination
  • Regular exercise is more effective than pain medication in the long run
  • Make adjustments to your household.
  • RA is not often passed from parent to child!
  • Look after yourself to reduce further damage.
  • Healthy eating is very important.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once, TAKE IT EASY.

This is a series of ageing associated diseases.

 

 

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