October 2011 Issue - Costa Calida Chronicle

costacalidachronicle.com

October 2011 Issue - Costa Calida Chronicle

In association with Costa Cálida International Radio and www.angloINFO.com

By Sara Millbank

Like all ailments, it’s often the unknown that

worries us more than the actual problem.

Arthritis is one of those problems and while

it affects almost 10% of the population, how

much do you know about it? Usually old

people get it and isn’t it something to do with

your joints and bones?

The Arthritis Association has set aside a

day in October to try and increase people’s

awareness and knowledge of this painful

problem. So what better excuse to look at

what I can expect in the next few years!

Symptoms of Arthritis

The main symptoms are stiffness, pain and

restricted movement. Some people may only

experience slight stiffness, while others have

grating joints, bone growth or even misaligned

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joints. The pain and loss of movement tends

to get worse gradually and is linked to the use

of the joints with Arthritis.

As the swelling and painful joints worsen,

sufferers can experience a general feeling of

unwell. Long term Arthritis progresses into

reduced mobility, making every day tasks

very diffi cult. Other organs can be affected

and infl ammation can sometimes be found

in the patient’s eyes and lungs. Living with

a degenerative disease can also affect your

mental health.

Causes

Although causes are not fully known, it is

felt that some people are genetically more

prone than others to this disease. However, it

has been proven that obesity does put extra

strain on the joints and can lead to stress

and injury. Jobs or activities that involve

repetitive movements of a particular joint can

cause Arthritis or a previous damage such

as a sports injury. Rheumatoid Arthritis,

however, is caused by a fault in the immune

system which makes the body attack its own

tissues. It is also thought that this is passed

down from family members.

Types of Arthritis

The two most common types of arthritis are

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid. Other

forms of Arthritis are gout, ankylosing

spondylitis, juvenile, psoriatic, systemic lupus

erythematosus and septic. Osteoarthritis

often develops in people between 40 and

60 years of age with around 12% of people

over 65 affected by the condition. It begins

very slowly with pain, stiffness and restricted

movement affecting the joints. The pain and

loss of movement tends to worsen as the

day progresses as the joints are used more.

Rheumatoid affects around 4% of us and

often starts between 30 and 50 years of age.

Even more worrying is the fact that women

are three times more likely to be affected

than men. Damp and cold weather may

aggravate the symptoms and can sometimes

leave people feeling tired and unwell.

Prevention

Controlling your weight may help to ease

pressure on the joints. However, it is not true

that avoiding exercise will help to reduce

joint problems in later life. Exercise such

as walking will help to prevent Arthritis by

increasing the strength of the muscles that

support your joints. Good posture can assist

the strengthening of healthy joint structures.

Diagnosis

Arthritis is usually diagnosed by the

symptoms and a physical examination.

Related factors, such as your occupation,

activities and medical history of your family

are taken into consideration. An x-ray is

sometimes used to identify Osteoarthritis as

it can highlight the narrowed space between

the bones in a joint. An x-ray can also show

whether there is any calcifi cation, which is

where calcium builds up in the body.

Treatment

Individual treatment and management advice

is usually given as everyone experiences

Arthritis in a different way. Treatment should

be started as soon as possible in order to

reduce further damage. Medicines prescribed

can include analgesics such as Paracetamol

for the pain and anti-infl ammatory drugs

such as Ibuprofen to help to reduce swelling.

It is very important to make your GP aware

of any history of high blood pressure, high

cholesterol and if you smoke.

Massage, hydrotherapy and acupuncture

have all been credited with help Arthritis as

well as reducing weight, stopping smoking

and increasing non-compact exercise like

swimming. Nutritional supplements such as

glucosamine sulphate and fi sh oils increased

in the diet of sufferers have also shown great

results.

To avoid Arthritis or stop it getting worse,

the action is simple as far as I can see. Lose

weight, stop smoking, walk more and eat

more fi sh oil. Easy!

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