Arthritis : Preventing Rheumatic Related Diseases

Experts educate the population on how to avoid achy joints as the world recently commemorated World Arthritis Day.

Often grouped under the term “arthritis,” medics say rheumatic diseases are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that cause the immune system to attack the joints, muscles, bones, and organs. Joint Pain is the common denominator. Although there is no cure for arthritis, experts say treatments have improved greatly in recent years and there is need for people to adopt preventive measures to care for their joints. 
According to a study carried out by a rheumatologist, Professor Madeleine Ngandeu,  osteoarthritis (an age-related disease that destroys cartilage and bone, causing pain and in some cases disability) is the most frequent rheumatic disease in the world and in Cameroon in particular. She also revealed that adults are mostly affected especially women above 50 years. It is important to keep in mind that arthritis may even affect children and is the number one cause of disability. Dr Ayi-Efoua Yolande-Vanessa, another Rheumatologist at the Yaounde Social Insurance Hospital says if anyone starts to develop arthritis, he/she should see a doctor or a rheumatologist. The damage from arthritis, she noted, is usually progressive, meaning the longer the individual waits to seek treatment, the more destruction can occur to the joint.  
However, Dr Ayi-Efoua Yolande-Vanessa suggests a lifestyle that can slow the risk of developing painful joints as one gets older and preserve mobility as well as other diseases.
Dr Ayi-Efoua calls on people to eat a healthy diet rich in fish for this can reduce inflammation in the body. She also urges people to control their weight. This is to ensure that the knees can support the body weight. Being overweight or obese can take a real toll on them. Individuals are also called to exercise. This does not only takes the stress of excess weight off the joints, but also strengthens the muscles around the joints. This stabilizes them and can protect them from added wear and tear. 
Rheumatologists also call on people to avoid injuring their joints for this can damage the cartilage and cause it to wear out more quickly. There are also common techniques people should apply in daily life to protect their joints. Experts say sitting, working, and lifting can help protect joints from everyday strains. People are called to lift items with your knees and hips and not with their back. Also, individuals should carry items close to their bodies so they do not put too much strain on their wrists. And, if someone has to sit for long periods of time at work, make sure that your back, legs, and arms are well supported.



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