Arthritis: Age, overweight increase risks – Expert

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Senior Registrar, Department of Family Medicine, National Hospital, Abuja, Dr Nnenna Okafor has said the risk of developing most type of arthritis increase with old age and overweight.

Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age.

Okafor said old age predisposes one to develop most types of arthritis.

She added that overweight could also contribute to both the beginning and progression of knee osteoarthritis.

“Arthritis is more common among adults aged 60 years or older; though it affects people of all ages including children.

Excessive overweight increases the risk of arthritis. We must avoid diets that will lead to obesity; eat more of fruits, vegetables, lean meat and low calories diet to maintain healthy weight,” she advised.

Okafor also said early signs associated with arthritis include pain and stiffness of the ankle, knee, shoulders and feet.

“Others include limited function of joint, swelling and redness of the joint,’’ the expert said.

According to her, there are different types of arthritis ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), gout arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and septic arthritis.

Okafor said that risk factors associated with arthritis were age related changes, bad posture, obesity, infections, occupation, joint injury and genetic makeup.

“Age related changes, certain jobs that involve repetitive knee bending, squatting and obesity can increase the risk of arthritis.

Infections such as microbial agents can infect joints and trigger the development of various forms of arthritis,” she said.

Okafor warned that arthritis could cause a range of symptoms and also impair ability to perform daily tasks.

She said that a range of medications and strategies could go a long way to reduce the pain and protect the joints from further damage.

The expert further advised arthritis patients to engage in a regular exercise in order to maintain overall health.