Tue, Sep

Caring for painful joints


ArtrititsArthritis is a degenerative condition that mostly affects older people who have led an active life, or injured their joints in the past. There are more than 100 different kinds of bone diseases of which osteoarthritis is the most common.

Though osteoarthritis can affect any joint, it most often occurs in the hips, backbone, knees and fingers. When cartilage wastes away, the bones rub against one another causing pain. It may also cause joints to fall out of their normal alignment.
With rheumatoid arthritis, the synovial membrane that envelops and lubricates the joint becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling.
Although arthritis is often associated with older people, it can sometimes affect children. Most types of childhood arthritis are referred to as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). JIA causes pain and inflammation in one or more joints for at least six weeks. However, the symptoms often improve as a child gets older, allowing them to lead a normal life.

What are the symptoms?
Regardless of the type of arthritis, general symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and constant aching around the joints. Some arthritic disorders affect other organs as well, resulting in tiredness, weight loss, poor sleep, muscle ache and an inability to use the hands or to walk.
Such symptoms can have a major impact on the quality of life, work and community involvement, and the worst-affected eventually become home-bound.

What causes arthritis?
arthritis02The causes of osteoarthritis are not fully known. Factors that contribute to its development, however, are: obesity, which puts unnecessary stress on joints; and jobs that involve repetitive movements of a particular joint, or long periods of standing.

Is arthritis curable?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis but a number of measures provide some relief. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist who will show you how to reduce the strain on your joints. Load-bearing exercises, such as walking and lifting, strengthen the muscles that support the joints, as does the use of a walking stick. The doctor may prescribe drugs to relieve the pain and swelling.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has paid special attention to improving the health sector in the country. Hundreds of new hospitals and medical clinics have been established over the past decade, where patients seek proper medical treatment and advice.

Controlling diet
Controlling weight is essential to reduce pressure on the joints. A good diet with plenty of fruit and fibre, avoiding too much meat or animal fat, is good for your general health.
Moving to a warmer climate
Many people with arthritis feel that changes in the weather affect the level of pain they feel. Most people prefer hot, dry climates, but some people feel better in the cold and damp. The weather will probably make a difference to how you feel – warmth and sunshine tend to lift your spirits. However, arthritis and musculoskeletal pain occur in all climates.