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Times of India
12 October 2011
By , Durgesh Nandan Jha
New Delhi, India

Children And People Of 35–40 yrs Falling Prey To Arthritis
It was supposed to be a condition affecting the elderly. But not anymore. Arthritis can strike early, said doctors.
According to orthopaedic surgeons and rheumatologists, sedentary lifestyle and high prevalence of obesity have contributed to an increase in the number of patients suffering from osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease where cartilage of the joints wears out. People as young as 35 years are being diagnosed with the disease with many of them having to undergo joint replacement surgeries, doctors said. World Arthritis Day will be observed on Wednesday. The doctors said there was need for raising awareness about the disease so that patients can approach them on time. They said those unaffected should maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep the disease at bay.

According to Dr P K Dave, head of orthopedic department, Rockland Hospital, osteoarthritis usually affects the elderly — those above 60 years. “These days, we are seeing cases where patients in the age–group of 35–40 years suffer from joint problems. Joint replacement surgeries have to be carried out in some of the patients,” he said. “Those having a sedentary lifestyle have weak muscles resulting in the pressure of the body centering on the joints. This causes early depletion of cartilage. Other risk factors in the young include injury and genetic predisposition,” said Dr Anmol Maria, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Rockland Hospital.

Dr Uma Kumar, professor of medicine and head of clinical immunology and rheumatology division at AIIMS, said, “Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease which is age–related and caused due to sedentary lifestyle. It is being reported early these days. A number of young patients also suffer from disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Delay in diagnosis makes the body part inactive.”

She said patients suffering from arthritis go to orthopaedics, however, it is a rheumatic disease for which a rheumatologist should be consulted. Kumar said replacement surgeries should be the last resort because most the cases can be managed by lifestyle changes and medicines. AIIMS organized a patient awareness programme on Tuesday in which many people suffering from the disease participated. The common symptoms of arthritis are redness of the skin around joints, stiffness, warmth around joints, vision loss, fever and rashes among others, doctors said. Almost 80% cases are treatable with timely medical intervention and lifestyle changes. Smoking and consuming alcohol must be avoided,” said Kumar.

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