12th October is World Arthritis Day, when awareness is spread regarding the issues that people diagnosed with this disorder can face and how they can be overcome.
Arthritis can really put a speed brake on a person’s life. The pain and stiffness of joints arising from this disorder affect nearly 180 million Indians. Arthritis requires people to be vigilant about what they eat, how much exercise they get and how well they care about their overall health. But like all diseases, arthritis too is mired in misconceptions and myths. And it is important to separate fact from fiction because if you pay credence to the myths, you could actually aggravate your condition.
Joint pain worsens in damp weather –
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that can back this claim. And the reason you might feel a flare-up of your arthritis symptoms during the rains is that you have been fed this myth for so long that your body has started believing in it. Arthritis pain remains uniform all year round and will increase only if you are not thorough with your joint exercises and medication.
Only elderly people get arthritis –
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Arthritis can strike anyone at any age. Even babies get arthritis.
Arthritis is normal as you grow older –
Arthritis results from erosion of the cartilages that cushion your bone joints. And this is not exclusively limited to old age. It can happen if you are obese because the excess weight exerts too much pressure on your joints or if your profession requires you to move your joints so much that the cartilage wears out.
By dismissing arthritis as an elderly person’s disease, you risk not adopting precautionary measures.
If arthritis runs in the family, I too shall get it –
While genetics do increase your likelihood of contracting arthritis, there is no guarantee that you will actually end up with it. If people in your family you are related to by blood such as your mother, father, siblings etc have arthritis, then you should start taking precautions.
If joints start hurting, there’s nothing you can do –
Arthritis is a degenerative disorder which means it gets progressively worse. It starts out with tingles or slight stiffness. But actually, with medication, proper diet and zealous physiotherapy you can halt its progress and keep the symptoms moderate and bearable. But if you assume right away that since you have arthritis, you are in for a lifetime of pain and inconvenience, your defeatist attitude will actually make the pain worse.
Citrus foods are a no-no if you have arthritis –
Many people will tell you that you should avoid citrus foods like oranges and lemons claiming that will exacerbate the pain. But actually, citrus foods contain anti-oxidants and Vitamin C, which are very potent in reducing inflammation.
Coffee increases the risk of arthritis –
Coffee has long been associated with rheumatoid arthritis. But, recent studies have found that coffee can lower inflammation and ease arthritis pain.
Arthritis need not affect your lifestyle. You can follow precautionary measures like eating healthy and exercising regularly to minimize the effect of arthritis.