Manage Your Arthritis with expert advice from KIMS

September 4th 2018Back

Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints and can affect people of all ages. Arthritis comes in many types and can be categorized into degenerative, crystal and inflammatory.

Common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative arthritis, and is caused by wear and tear of the cartilage that protects bones and prevents them from rubbing each other. It is more common in the elderly population. Another type, rheumatoid, causes inflammation in the joints due to the body attacking its own tissues. Gout arthritis causes crystals to build up in joints when there are high levels of uric acid in the blood. Women are at a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, while men are at a higher risk of developing gout due to their higher levels of uric acid. Early symptoms and signs of arthritis include swelling, stiffness, pain and redness. Symptoms can gradually worsen over time which may prevent people from accomplishing simple tasks such as climbing stairs or even walking.

Arthritis can be caused by previous injuries, being overweight, old age, infections, genetics or lifestyle. There are many foods that help fight inflammation and strengthen bones. Fruits such as berries that are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, as well as omega 3 fatty acid rich foods, such as salmon and walnuts, help fight inflammation. Calcium and vitamin D aid in bone strength, and soups with bone broth help rebuild degenerated tissue. Foods that should be avoided include processed foods, sugary foods and drinks, fried foods, refined foods and oils that are high in omega 6 fatty acids, such as soy bean and sunflower, as they cause inflammation.

Early diagnosis is important to prevent irreversible damage. A doctor will assess patients based on their history and how long they have been experiencing pain. A physical exam may be performed to check for redness, swelling or grinding sounds. An X-ray may later be taken to confirm the diagnosis and determine what type of arthritis the patient has. Patients who are disabled or have deformities may require joint replacement.

To manage arthritis, healthy lifestyle changes can be made that address diet and exercise. Immunosuppressive or anti-inflammatory medications can be used to manage chronic pain. Physiotherapy, swimming and walking are often also recommended.

Dr. Sumod Sukumaran is an orthopedic specialist at KIMS Bahrain Medical Centre has more than 16 years of experience. He earned his MBBS from Mahatma Gandhi University, India in 1997 and his MS in Orthopedics from the University of Rajasthan, India in 2002.