Approximately 350-million people around the world are now afflicted by arthritis, the umbrella term for various conditions caused by painful inflammation of the joints.
On World Arthritis Day, Proactive Health Solutions CEO Dr Fundile Nyathi discusses the different types and dispels the misconception that it is an 'old person's disease'.
He says this perception is probably due to the fact that osteoarthritis, which is very common, specifically affects the elderly as an arthritis of "wear and tear".
With osteoarthritis the cartilege at the end of the bone gets worn out over time.— Dr Fundile Nyathi, CEO - Proactive Health Solutions
When it comes to younger people, Dr Nyathi points out that a variant of the auto-immune disease rheumatoid arthritis can strike children under 16 in the form of "juvenile" arthritis.
In both cases, the body is producing soldiers against its own tissues and it needs to detected early and managed early because it often leads to deformities.— Dr Fundile Nyathi, CEO - Proactive Health Solutions
He details the symptoms that need medical follow-up.
One key factor about rheumatoid arthritis is the fact that you get a lot of stiffness in the mornings, but as the day progresses things become better - the pain, the swelling, sometimes redness.— Dr Fundile Nyathi, CEO - Proactive Health Solutions
When it progresses a lot you may have deformities on your hands which, in some cases, may even lead to a situation where people may have to change the work that they do or have to leave their employment completely.— Dr Fundile Nyathi, CEO - Proactive Health Solutions
Dr Nyathi says there needs to be more understanding from employers for affected staff members, but of course this starts with the employee disclosing the condition in the first place.
Better understanding of the clinical condition by managers would go a long way because then they would know that, for instance in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, in the morning that person may not be as productive. However, they can catch up in the latter part of the day.— Dr Fundile Nyathi, CEO - Proactive Health Solutions
For more information about living with the various forms of arthritis, click on the link below: