Private research done on the subject showed that arthritis affected more than 180 million people in India in the year 2017. Numbers also indicated that around 14% of the Indian population sought a doctor’s help every year for this joint disease. While these numbers might have spiked manifold in the past half a decade, prevalence of arthritis is, as it is, higher than diseases like diabetes, AIDS and cancer. This also makes it highly crucial to understand the various aspects of arthritis, something this guide will elaborate on by highlighting the key-facts about this disease.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the generic term used to express a painful condition affecting joint, joint tissues and other connecting tissues. Arthritis is the degeneration (you may call it wear and tear) of cartilage and can affect any joint in your body. At its initial stage, arthritis would typically manifest itself through joint pain, swelling and noisy joints. Unexplained fever, fatigue, weight loss and swollen lymph glands can also be the symptoms of arthritis. In later stages, physical movement of joints may become difficult while chances of deformities can’t be ruled out either.
Fact No. 1: Arthritis has more than 100 types
For each type of arthritis, the symptoms might slightly vary. Typically, any kind of arthritis would demonstrate itself through stiffness and joint pain.
Fact No 2: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis has been affecting more than 15 million adults annually, with India contributing 22% to 39% share to the global numbers. Osteoarthritis can typically affect hands, hips, and knees. After this, the other common joint conditions affecting Indians are gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Fact No. 3: India women are more prone to getting arthritis than Indian men
In India, severe vitamin D deficiency, obesity and poor nutrition make women more susceptible to arthritis. As a result of this, the average age for the onset of knee problems is 50 years among Indian women while it is 60 years for men.
Even in general, women are twofold more prone to arthritis than men.
Fact No. 4: Affects people of all age group
The commonly held notion that arthritis affects only older people is ill-founded. Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.
Fact No. 5: Kids get it, too
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common amongst children. This disease affects children between the ages of 1 and 3 or 8 and 12 years.
Fact No. 6: Can lead to lifestyle diseases
Someone suffering from arthritis has a higher risk of developing obesity, blood pressure and heart diseases.
Fact No. 7: Injuries increase the risk of arthritis
Joints that have suffered injuries previously are more prone to developing osteoarthritis. People with knee injuries, for instance, are six times more likely to get osteoarthritis. People with hip injuries are three times more likely to develop this condition.
Fact No. 8: Weather has no impact on arthritis
It is a common misconception that wet and cold climates are more likely to cause arthritis. Experts are of the view that weather conditions have little to do with the frequency of arthritis.
Fact No. 9: Animals also get osteoarthritis
Aside from humans, animals such as dogs and cats also develop osteoarthritis.
Fact 10: Set to be the 4th most common cause of physical disability in India
Arthritis is expected to emerge as the fourth most common cause of physical disability in India.
Fact 11: No cure for arthritis
Arthritis is not curable. However, it can be managed through treatments, medicines, exercises, dietary control and lifestyle changes.