Published By: Nibandh Vinod
Last Updated: October 12, 2023, 06:00 IST
World Arthritis Day is observed annually on October 12, bringing people from all around the world together to raise awareness about the significant impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases, commonly referred to as RMDs. These conditions are often misdiagnosed, leading to a delay in appropriate treatment. Therefore, World Arthritis Day serves as an important platform to educate the public about preventive measures, early symptoms, and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment to minimize the impact of these diseases on individuals and their quality of life.
Arthritis is a medical condition that primarily impacts the joints. It typically develops with age and commonly affects joints in the fingers, knees, and hips. Arthritis serves as an umbrella term encompassing over 100 different types of rheumatic diseases.
Among these, osteoarthritis stands out as the most widespread and prevalent type of arthritis. Other examples of rheumatic diseases that fall under this umbrella term include gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, and septic arthritis. Each of these conditions presents distinct characteristics and requires specific approaches to diagnosis and treatment.
World Arthritis Day 2023: Theme
The theme for this year, “Living with an RMD at all stages of life,” underscores the fact that most rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) do not have a cure, and their diagnosis is frequently delayed. This necessitates ongoing treatment that may span many years, and in some cases, even a lifetime. Managing RMDs often involves regular check-ups with a rheumatologist and a specialized medical team. In more severe instances, hospitalization and surgery may be required, followed by rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
World Arthritis Day: History
Arthritis roots from the Greek words ‘arthro’ meaning joint and ‘itis’ for inflammation, which translates to inflammation of the joints, a symptom of the disease. World Arthritis Day was first marked in 1996 with the collaboration of the Arthritis and Rheumatism International Foundation. Since then, the day has been observed every year on October 12. In 1859, British rheumatologist Dr. Alfred Baring Garrod coined the name “rheumatoid arthritis”.
World Arthritis Day 2023: Significance
World Arthritis Day tries to create awareness by bringing the focus of the world for one day to a painful and silent disease that affects the population at large and also creates a community of patients, families, carers, and others to voice their experiences. This day aims to draw the attention of governments and healthcare services, as the more there’s awareness of the disease and its symptoms and treatments, the more people will be able to identify their condition and get timely prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of RMDs.
World Arthritis Day 2023: Symptoms
- Joint PainThe first sign of arthritis is joint pain. When an individual starts experiencing such pain, he must immediately visit the doctor for further treatment to prevent the pain from increasing.
- Swelling and TendernessIn arthritis, the affected joints often become painful and exhibit swelling, which is a result of joint inflammation.
- Stiffness in bones in the morningOther symptoms in patients might be redness or stiffness in their bones, particularly in the morning. Moreover, this stiffness and pain might increase during rain or if there is a change in humidity.
World Arthritis Day 2023: Causes
There might be different reasons for arthritis, including family history of arthritis, age, sex, previous joint injury, or obesity. It is to be noted that obesity is one of the major causes of this disease, which generates stress, particularly on the knees, hips, and spine, which in turn leads to a high risk of developing arthritis.
World Arthritis Day 2023: Prevention
- Manage Your WeightLosing weight eases pain and increases the effectiveness of medicines.
- ExercisePracticing exercise such as bicycling, walking, and swimming is essential for people suffering from arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility and reduces joint pain.
- Quit SmokingGiving up smoking is crucial for enhancing the effectiveness of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Balanced DietEven if you are not suffering from Arthritis, a balanced diet is crucial for overall health and well-being to maintain a healthy weight. Eat calcium-rich foods which include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.