It might seem like a concern only for older people, but arthritis is common for all ages.

Arthritis is the inflammation of tissue lining the joints, resulting in stiffness, pain, swelling, and decreased range of motion. Simply put, it’s an umbrella term for different kinds of joint pain that make physical activities increasingly difficult.

Be in the know and read up as ManilaMed rheumatologist Dr. Angeline-Therese M. Santiago shares her knowledge on this chronic condition.

Common yet unmapped

Arthritis is a long-term illness shared by millions of people in the world, yet we still have very little understanding of it.

For most people, any joint pain felt upon aging is arthritis. That is a big misconception. There are different kinds of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, spondyloarthropathy, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.

“Some cases of arthritis can also affect the kidney, heart, or blood,” according to Dr. Santiago. These are caused by varying factors like bacterial infection, high uric acid rates, or damaged joints resulting from worn-out cartilage.

In terms of demographics, she said that most cases of osteoarthritis can be seen in women, while gout is prevalent in men.

Treatment and lifestyle choices

The road to treatment starts with the right choices and Dr. Santiago endorses seeking the right diagnosis from experts.

Nevertheless, she noted that a healthy diet still helps. For one, she debunked the popular belief that mung beans (munggo) are bad for the joints. Those with arthritis can benefit from cutting out red meat and alcohol from their diet.

Having arthritis doesn’t mean that you should avoid physical activities or exercises. In fact, it’s part of effective treatment for any form of arthritis. The combination of aerobic, stretching, and strengthening exercises will do wonders for your muscles–and stronger muscles can better support your joints, easing or eliminating the pain.

It’s important to retain a normal body weight, so it’s practical to do routine workout for around 15-20 minutes on most days of the week.

In general, Dr. Santiago advocates against self-diagnosis and self-medication. It’s still best to consult a doctor about your condition to get the proper treatment.

In ManilaMed Health Line’s ‘All About Arthritis’ episode, Dr. Santiago explains the long-term illness and some related concerns.
ManilaMed’s Bone, Muscle, and Joint Center offers expert consultation for arthritis and other concerns. For more details, visit ManilaMed’s website or call (02) 523 81 31 loc 2638.