Healthy lifestyle, exercise and diet critical to stay away from Arthritis

Healthy lifestyle, exercise and diet critical to stay away from Arthritis

World Arthritis Day (WAD) is observed every year on 12th October (since 1996) and it endeavours to unify people to raise awareness regarding rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). An initiative of the Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARi), this day is dedicated to help the world understand the impact of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases as well as recognize the debilitating effects of these ailments.

A wide spectrum of 200-plus diseases fall under the umbrella of Arthritis; an estimated one-hundred million patients are currently undiagnosed or are coping with symptoms that are overlooked and often even wrongly diagnosed. [1, 2]

It has been predicted by medical experts that Arthritis (especially Arthritis of the knees) will emerge as the fourth most common cause of physical disability in India. It affects 15% people – over 180 million people in India alone. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) states that 18% women and 10% men above the 60 years have “symptomatic osteoarthritis”, while a large number of people are undiagnosed. The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) attempts to promote awareness on this day to help all asymptomatic and suffering patients seek help for effective treatment. For this year, the theme decided by EULAR is ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today: Time2Work’. [1, 2, 3]

Healthy lifestyle, exercise and diet critical to stay away from Arthritis

Risk factors

With the destructive track record of RMD globally, it is important to acknowledge the risk factors that contribute to the disease. The noteworthy factors include: [4]

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Wear and tear of joints
  • Age and gender (women are more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis while men suffer from Gout)
  • Result of any old injury
  • Obesity

Healthy lifestyle, exercise and diet critical to stay away from Arthritis

Prevention is better than cure

Any endeavour to counter this debilitating disease will involve a focused diagnosis, continued treatment and best practices to facilitate early detection and prevention of the risk factors. In the spirit of World Arthritis Day, here are a few guidelines to ensure healthy joints [4]:

  • Quick diagnosis and treatment: As soon as any joint is inflamed, it is best to consult a doctor, since it leads to quick diagnosis. The sooner the disease is identified, the sooner it can be treated.
  • Weight loss: Excess weight can put extra stress on the joints. Shedding weight leads to increased mobility and limit joint injury.
  • Exercise: Exercise keeps the joints flexible. Swimming and water aerobics are excellent choices since the buoyancy of the water reduces the stress on joints.
  • Hot and cold compression: Hot and cold packs may help relieve Arthritis pain.
  • Assistive devices: Aids like shoe inserts, canes, walkers and ergonomically-raised toilet seats can help protect joints.
  • Acupuncture: Those in pain often find solace while resorting to these types of alternate therapies and forms of treatment.
  • Intake of fish oil: Preliminary studies have indicated that fish oil may reduce symptoms of some types of Arthritis.
  • Yoga and Tai Chi: Stretching movements are known to improve joint flexibility and range of motion.
  • Massage: It boosts the flow of blood, thereby temporarily relieving pain.


Some common myths dispelled

There are a few misconceptions regarding Arthritis pain. The following table seeks to dispel some of those misconceptions: [5]

Myth Fact
Any joint pain is Arthritis Proper diagnosis is important. Several other conditions viz. tendinitis, bursitis and soft-tissue injuries also cause joint pain
Do not exercise since it aggravates Arthritis pain Exercise is vital to maintain strength and range of motion in joints. Consult your physician for the best exercises to be practised
Rum-soaked raisins, grapefruit, eggplant and other nightshade vegetables are dietary cures for Arthritis Intake of fresh fruits and vegetables can help with any form inflammation in general. Lifestyle changes can work wonders with Arthritis.
Ice treatment is not effective for Arthritis Both hot and cold pads work well for pain relief in Arthritis
Glucosamine and Chondroitin help with Arthritis It is always prudent to consult your physician before starting on any course of medication


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[1] EULAR [online]:

[2] Jagran Josh [online]:

[3] Reader’s Blog by Times of India [online]:

[4] Mayo Clinic [online]:

[5] Cleveland Clinic [online]: