The view that arthritis is just another thing that happens to us as we have as we get older, and thinking that it is inevitable, is an extremely outdated as well as dangerous way to view the condition. Living through arthritis without treatment can affect someone’s productivity, and sometimes even life expectancy in severe cases.
There are more than 10 million people with osteoarthritis in the UK, and perhaps another 2-3 million with inflammatory arthritis conditions. There is also a significant number of patients with gout. Roughly, 15% of the UK is affected by these conditions, meaning that serious attention needs to be drawn to the severity of these issues to either treat, or prevent. There are over 200 different arthritic conditions!
Symptoms and the impact
These conditions can lead to a number of symptoms such as pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in joints. Severe symptoms include other organ involvement and pain, and reduce the ability to function normally.
If these symptoms are not treated, pain can become chronic and affects the muscle and bone structure, and can lead to irreversible damage. This usually leads to an increase of reliance on stronger painkillers and thus consequences from prolonged painkiller usage.
Treatment for arthritis and rheumatic conditions is very effective if the condition is spotted earlier on; meaning more serious treatment such as surgery can be avoided. Changing your diet, adding more exercise, and (if necessary) injections, range of drugs, and intensive aggressive treatments can be used to treat and reverse the conditions.
At London Osteoporosis Clinic we strongly advocate that patients are seen as soon as possible to have a diagnosis and full treatment of any underlying rheumatic arthritic pain or condition. Our aim is to have patients symptom-free at the minimum, and eventually drug-free, and then ultimately doctor-free. If patients are not symptom-free, that means that the patient’s psychological or physical well-being is threatened. If the problem is avoided for a longer period of time, treatments may not be as effective, and become less responsive, and then the pain can become more chronic and irreversible, and unresponsive to treatment. We take a holistic approach at first, such as changing nutrition and exercise, and using drugs only where necessary.
The earlier you can chat about arthritis with your doctor, the better. Healthy joints are essential to living an enjoyable life, and it’s never too early to prevent the condition where you can.
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