Myths & Facts About Arthritis
Arthritis is an umbrella term used for various joint diseases that can trigger persistent pain and inflammation, thereby affecting the quality of the patient’s life. With a prevalence of more than 39 per cent in India, arthritis can affect people of any age group and may be a result of varied factors that include age-related wear and tear, severe injury sustained in an accident or an underlying medical condition. Although, the condition is very common, there are a plethora of myths associated with it due to lack of proper knowledge. In this blog, we are going to bust some of the major myths associated with Arthritis with the aim of spreading awareness about the same.
Myth: Arthritis is a single condition
Fact: Arthritis is not a single condition but rather a collective term used for a group of conditions that severely damage the joints leading to immense pain and swelling. There are over 200 such conditions that can affect your joints.
Myth: Arthritis only affects elderly people
Fact: The problem is not age biased, which means that it can affect people irrespective of their age. No doubt elderly people are more vulnerable to it, this does not mean that they are the only lot to get affected.
Myth: Advanced age is the only risk factor that increases the chances of arthritis
Fact: Age may be a leading factor, but it is not the only factor and the risks of arthritis may also be associated with other factors like genetics, smoking, obesity, occupation-related, underlying autoimmune disease, etc.
Myth: Joint Pain is the only indication of arthritis
Fact: There are many other indications of arthritis apart from pain. These include swelling, inflammation, reduced mobility and curtailed range of motion.
Myth: Arthritis does not have long term impact and treatment is not necessary if pain tolerance is good.
Fact: Any disease or ailment, be it acute or chronic, requires proper medical intervention. The same goes for arthritis as well. You may ignore the pain for some time but it is likely to intensify. Also, prolonged inflammation can lead to irreversible deformity and joint damage, which may call for the need of invasive interventions later on. Arthritis can alsoaffect other organs like lungs, kidney, heart, eyes, liver andbrain. Studies have also shown the possibility of reduced life expectancy in people with arthritis.
Myth: Arthritis can only be diagnosed by lab tests and if these are negative, the possibility of arthritis can be ruled out
Fact: There are a plethora of means for diagnosing arthritis and these include
- A detailed study of the medical history of the patient
- Physical examination
- Blood tests
- Immunological tests
Myth: Steroids and painkillers are the only treatments available
Fact: Although steroids and pain killers are very common, DMARDs (Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) are the major treatment options. These are further classified as conventional (cDMARDs) and biologic(bDMARDs).
Myths: All the patients are given the same treatment
Fact: The treatment plan varies from person to person depending upon the intensity of the symptoms, the age of the patient, how long the problem has persisted and so on. Each treatment plan is curated after thoroughly assessing the patient’s overall health so as to yield the best possible result.
Myth: Patients with arthritis cannot have a normal life.
Fact: It is very much possible for a person with arthritis to lead a normal life as the latest advancements and treatments have made it possible to effectively address the problem with a very high success rate.
Dr. Bhupendra Vaishnav
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