Arthritis affects 14 million Pakistanis: Orthopedic expert

HYDERABAD, Jan 21 (APP): Arthritis is a disorder that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in or around joints and is a chronic disorder affecting about 14 million Pakistanis and nearly 50 percent of people 65 years- old and older.

Talking here on Monday eminent Orthopedic expert Dr. Parvez Rais Khan said that as a leading cause of disability, arthritic conditions limit the activity of more than seven million people in the United States and are second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability. About the different types of the arthritis he said two most common of its types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These are separate diseases that affect people in different ways. About the Osteoarthritis he said that this is the most common type of arthritis affecting many people. He said that it is also called “degenerative joint disease” and most often involves the weight-bearing joints.

He said that the disorder results from mechanical joint damage whether from long-term previous injury or another cause. Osteoarthritis usually is diagnosed in people older than 40, he added. Nearly everyone over 70 has osteoarthritis in at least one joint but not everyone develops symptoms, he added. Dr. Parvez Rais Khan said that the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) does
not result from overuse of joints, rather, it is an autoimmune disease.

He said that it can affect patient’s entire body and often causes general symptoms, such as fatigue and fever, in addition to joint pain. The RA is most commonly diagnosed in people aged 25 to 50, but can affect people of all ages, including children.
Dr. Parvez Rais Khan said that Osteoarthritis is the most common form and is categorised as an “old age” disease because it arises in people past middle age and this type of arthritis describes the degeneration of the cartilage at the joints.

About the lubrication of fluids of the joints Dr Rais said that in RA, the fluid which lubricates the joint and allows for flexibility becomes inflamed and also inflammatory cells release enzymes which, if the process continues over years, can gradually digest the cartilage and bone of the joints. Dr. Raees Parvez Khan said that some doctors claim that arthritis
is a metabolic disorder caused by stress. It is believed by a sizable section that years of unhealthy living in poor environment, faulty nutrition, over-eating, emotional and  physical stress, sedentary lifestyle and lack of positive outlook contribute to metabolic imbalance and the breakdown of basic bodily functions including digestion, assimilation, elimination, glandular secretion and circulation.

Dr. Parvez Rais Khan further said that a growing number of physicians and other specialists in the healing arts believe that the best way to cure disease is to create a physical environment in the body which supports its own natural healing function. He said that people need to understand that diet and nutrition are real keys to help those suffering from arthritis. However, this natural approach is only partly effective as the body has its own restorative powers.

Dr. Parvez Rais Khan said diet has been strongly implicated in many forms of arthritis and eliminating allergenic foods has been proven beneficial for some rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and virtually any food can aggravate RA. He said that a person could have complete absence of joint pain and have much improved mobility from laser therapy treatments, even
though x-rays still show severe degeneration. Dr. Raees Parvez Khan suggested that maintaining a normal weight or
losing 10 pounds if patient is overweight helps reduce the risk of osteoarthritis and helps reduce joint stress if patient already has arthritis.

He said that arthritis is chronic and there is no known cure. The main aim is maintenance, reducing inflammation and easing the pain, he added. Dr Khan further said that a doctor cannot make the pain go away completely but can help in ways to reduce joint pain. Ask for help with pain management if patients feel treatment is not addressing their pain well.