As a person grows old, there are many symptoms or changes their body starts showing. One of the most common in everyone is pain in their knee joints, legs and back (especially the lower back).
Fit Northeast had a conversation with Dr. Daisy Dutta, a rheumatologist at Guwhati-based Saint John's Hospital to learn some more about osteoarthritis.
Fit Northeast: What does Ostrio-arthritis mean?
Dr. Dutta: According to the World Health Organization, it is the most common disease worldwide infecting the elderly, which is second-most common next to lower back pain. It is basically a disease of the muscular-skeletal system affecting mostly the joints and body. It gradually increases with time. The risk increases with age.
Fit Northeast: Who is mostly affected by osteoarthritis?
Dr. Dutta: The females are affected by osteoarthritis more than men. It is hip arthritis which mostly affects males. It is not that common in India, it is common in western countries. Some studies say that in a certain area of South India, its prevalence is 5 to 5.2%.
Fit Northeast: What are the factors which might lead to osteoarthritis?
Dr. Dutta: There are various reasons like obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and certain supplement deficiency like that deficiency of vitamin D. A trauma to the joints is another risk factor. We all have to be aware of this disease that when we reach above a certain age like more than 40 or 50, we should not go to that disabling situation. We should start taking necessary precautions or preventive measures from a very early age like in our 20s and 30s. Obesity is a very important risk factor that is in our hands and we can control. A fixed amount of physical exercise can be of great help.
Fit Northeast: Is osteoarthritis hereditary?
Females are affected by osteoarthritis than men. It is hip arthritis which mostly affects males. It is not that common in India, its common in the western countries.Dr. Dutta: Some studies have found that in cases of hand osteoarthritis, there is a genetic factor associated. In Karnataka, there is an endemic area. There are several studies that are being conducted. So, it is also important for us to understand that there can also be some hereditary factors associated with it.
Fit Northeast: How can one come to know that he or she is suffering from this issue?
Dr. Dutta: Basically the disease starts with the pain of the joints, most of the large joints like the knee. The pain's intensity increases. He'll gradually become a victim of knee osteoarthritis and in the later stage will have difficulty in climbing stairs, in squatting.
Fit Northeast: What is the role of diet in the recovery of osteoarthritis?
Dr. Dutta: There is a relationship between vitamin D and osteoarthritis. We should have vigilance of vitamin D. If it is low, then we should raise its level. Eggs, milk, wheat can also help in curing it.
Fit Northeast: What are the long-term consequences of osteoarthritis?
Dr. Dutta: Osteoarthritis may lead to many complications in the elderly. There might be complete damage to the joints because of which they might be unable to walk.
There might be severe pain accompanied by swelling. If not treated in the initial stage, there is a chance that the patient might have to go through surgery.
Fit Northeast: Is there any treatment or surgery to get rid of it?
Dr. Dutta: Actually osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that leads to joint destruction. Once the joint destruction starts, we cannot reverse it. We can take certain measures like reducing the pain with some painkillers. The medicines that are given to the patients will depend on the patient's medical and health profile.