Arthritis today is as treatable as Diabetes, Don’t be afraid to seek treatment: Experts at ASSOCHAM’s Illness to Wellness Series

New Delhi: The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), one of the apex trade associations of India concluded the fourteenth edition of the ‘Illness to Wellness’ series themed ‘Preventive and Curative Measures for Bones and Joint Pains During Winter & COVID–19’. The event saw an expert panel of rheumatologists invited to hold an informative dialogue on challenges faced by patients suffering from pain in bones and joints, finding the right exercises and activities to elevate their pain and the importance of reaching out for treatment.

Supported by the hygiene brand SAVLON, the programme which promotes healthy living with focus on wellness and preventive health through healthy habits, diet, exercise, and holistic health saw the speakers actively engage on the importance of right medication and treatment to control and prevent pain for arthritic patients.

Speaking on how arthritis may not have a cure just like diabetes or hypertension, Dr. P. D. Rath, Director & Head of Department, Rheumatology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket Smart, New Delhi emphasised how science has now ensured that arthritis is treatable. “When we suffer from an autoimmune disease, it is important that we don’t run away from it. We should face it and treat it. Today with the kind of treatment we have, arthritis is as treatable as blood pressure, thyroid or diabetes. In our country, we have drugs that are at comparably cheaper and effective. So, patients should be confident enough to pursue treatment,” he said. Calling arthritis, a multifactorial disease, he listed some of the common factors behind arthritis like genetics, stress, infections and others. He also added, “Don’t manage arthritis on your own with pain killers. They can only provide temporary relief, but they will not address the underlying disease. In cases of dangerous arthritis this can be life threatening.”

Highlighting the wide prevalence of joint-related diseases in adults and not just seniors, Shri Anil Rajput, Chairperson, ASSOCHAM CSR Council said, “It is a well-known fact that a healthy mind lives in a healthy body and certain medical conditions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension need to be well controlled to have better immunity against all types of infections. Bones and joint pains are no longer a disorder that affects only elders, rather, these health conditions have trickled down to adults as a result of lifestyle choices. Acute or chronic trauma, degenerative changes and the wear and tear of joints and joint structures over the time are the common causes of major bone injuries and health conditions. To prevent this, a healthy ecosystem and environment is a prerequisite. Taking multivitamins and other healthy foods is important, however, not enough to boost immunity alone. Experts are stressing on the need to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing regular exercises and taking brisk walks.”

Taking the discussion further, Dr. (Lt. General) (Prof.) Ved Chaturvedi, Senior Consultant, Rheumatology, Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi, spoke of the importance of ensuring right dietary supplements to prevent bones and joint-related diseases. “Calcium and Vitamin D are two of the most recommended supplements by doctors and specialists. In women, calcium supplement post 45 years of age, during menopause is crucial. You roughly require 1-1.5 gm of Calcium daily. Growing children too need it. Vitamin D has also emerged as one of the most recommended supplements because it can help immune systems, nerves, muscles,” he said.

The experts further agreed that patients should focus on increasing dietary intake of required supplements as opposed to taking them in the form of pills unless suggested by doctors. Tablets should only be used for those for whom dietary intake may be difficult due to allergies and other reasons. For calcium, the most recommended form was in milk, curd and cheese. Omega 3 found in fish and flax seeds was another was recommended as a must have element in daily diet due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Commenting on the best course of action to eliminate joint pains during winters, Dr. Maninder Shah Singh, Senior Consultant, Chief Foot & Ankle Services, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi said, “The most effective way to reduce joint pain during winter is keeping active through brisk walks and exercises such as running and cycling. Those who are elderly and have pre-existing joint problems may opt for simple stretches to avoid stiffness in joints. Yoga and warm baths are particularly effective. Keeping your body warm is also very important, especially around joints using gloves, scarves, thermals and warm boots. Spending just 30 minutes or 2% of a day exercising can go a long way in keeping our body healthy as we all have only one body for our entire life.”

Dr. Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control acted as the moderator of the event and raised pertinent questions before the panellists to guide the discussion into a strong knowledge-sharing webinar. His smart manoeuvring of the discussions helped reap health foresights from the veteran rheumatologists.

 

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