Arthritis is a common disease affecting millions of people in India and around the world. According to data from the National Institutes of Health, around 62.35 million people in 2019 are estimated to suffer from some type of arthritis in India. The numbers only increase over time. The literal meaning of the term “arthritis” is inflammation of the joints. Arthritis comes in different types and can also affect other organs in some cases. Some of the common symptoms of arthritis include heat, swelling, pain and redness of the joints, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite its widespread prevalence, there are many myths about arthritis that people believe. Let’s put an end to this this World Arthritis Day!
Common Arthritis Myths You Should Ignore
Myth 1: Arthritis only affects older people
Do: Arthritis is often associated with aging, but it can affect people of all ages, including children. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a specific form that affects children under 16 years old. Arthritis becomes more common with age, but it is not exclusive to older people.
Myth 2: Arthritis is a unique disease
Do: Arthritis is an umbrella term encompassing more than 100 different types of joint diseases and conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the most common forms, each with distinct characteristics, causes and treatments.
Myth 3: Arthritis is just a normal part of aging
Do: Although arthritis is more common in older people, it is not a normal part of aging. It is a medical condition that involves inflammation and damage to the joints, which can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
Myth 4: Cold weather makes arthritis pain worse
Do: Although many people with arthritis report increased pain and stiffness in cold weather, the scientific evidence supporting this claim is inconclusive. Climate changes can affect pain perception, but arthritis is primarily influenced by inflammation, joint damage, and other medical factors rather than weather conditions.
Read also: Joint pain in winter: know why it gets worse and how to prevent it
Myth 5: Arthritis only affects the joints
Do: Arthritis not only affects the joints but can also affect the organs and other systems of the body. In certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks various tissues, potentially causing damage to organs such as the heart, lungs and skin.
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Myth 6: Exercise makes arthritis pain worse
Do: Regular, proper exercise is essential for managing arthritis and improving joint function. Low-impact exercises, like swimming and walking, help maintain flexibility, strengthen muscles and reduce pain. Inactivity can lead to muscle weakness and increased joint stiffness.
Myth 7: Joint cracking causes arthritis
Do: The common belief that cracking joints leads to arthritis is a misconception. Research has not shown a direct link between cracked joints and an increased risk of developing arthritis. However, excessive joint cracking can cause joint irritation or decreased grip strength.
Read also: Do cracked joints cause arthritis? An expert intervenes
Myth 8: Arthritis can be completely cured
Do: There is currently no known cure for arthritis. However, various treatments and strategies can effectively manage symptoms, reduce pain, and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. These may include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and in severe cases, surgery.
Understanding the facts about arthritis is crucial to dispelling myths and promoting appropriate treatment. Arthritis is a complex disease that requires a personalized approach to improve the lives of those affected. It is essential to rely on accurate information and consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and management.