October 12 is World Arthritis Day.
More and more Indians are prone to arthritis as they don’t exercise and this is also affecting people as young as in their 30s. Experts said Indians need to do more physical exercise and not ignore the initial symptoms. India currently is home to 2.5 million arthritis patients, experts say and the figure is growing fast.
‘Arthritis is not a single disease, it has hundred forms varying from hip joint, knee joint, finger joint and many more. India is currently a hub of all forms of arthritis patients,’ Hemant Gopal, senior consultant (Rheumatology) at Max Super Specialty Hospital. ‘Indians are most prone to arthritis as physical activities among them are the least as compared to people in other countries,’ he added. He said the age group prone to this bone disease is decreasing sharply and is no longer resitricted to people in their 50s and 60s. (Read: 10 conditions that ail the elderly)
‘There have been certain cases where I have treated both male and female patients under 30 years. They have come to me with complaints of severe joints pains,’ added Gopal. He said every Indian above the age of 35 who complains of any joint pain could be patient of arthritis. (Read: Suffer from osteoarthritis? Don’t lose hope!)
‘People tend to ignore the early symptoms and then in the later part of their life it becomes acute, ‘ added Gopal. Rajeev Sharma, senior orthopaedics and joint replacement surgeon at Apollo Hospital, said the mian problem in India is that people ignore the affliction at the initial stage just because the pain is mild.
‘Many people in their late 30s are not ready to accept that the joint pain that they experience is the symptom of arthritis,’ he added. ‘Though issues such as late detection, poor food habits and obesity leads to arthritis, we have also found that Indians are not keen to go through the implant surgeries that can cure the affliction from its roots,’ Sharma said.
Madhujeet Gupta, a consultant pain physician at Fortis Hospital, said that compared to the 100,000 cases of knee implants in India, this was 10 times more in the West. Though the number of Indians undergoing implants have increased, it will take at least 10 more years to equate the number of implants in the West, Gupta added.
‘Also, the Indian patients need to realize that if they want to get rid of the problem completely they need to consult the right person at the right time. If they think their symptoms are of arthritis then they should consult a rehumatologist for proper diagnosis,’ said Gopal. ‘Its better to kill the disease at an early stage rather than suffer throughout the life,’ he added. (Read: Guide to living with arthritis )