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Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 9221 0090

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:: In Brief

 

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:: Arthritis

Healthy Ageing - Arthritis
  Healthy Ageing
  Arthritis

Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than 100 medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet.

Arthritis-related problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage (the tissue that covers the ends of bones, enabling them to move against each another) and surrounding structures. This can result in joint weakness, instability and deformities that can interfere with the most basic daily tasks such as walking, driving a car and preparing food.

Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia, with 3.85million Australians affected at a cost to our economy of more than $23.9 billion each year in medical care and indirect costs such as loss of earnings and lost production.

As the population ages, the number of people with arthritis is growing. According to leading researcher Access Economics, current trends suggest that, by 2050, 7 million Australians will suffer from some form of arthritis.

While there are about 100 forms of arthritis, the three most significant:

Osteoarthritis - affects the joints where the surface layer of cartilage (a coating at the end of each bone) wears away, causing the bones to rub together
Rheumatoid arthritis - the tissue that lines the joints is attacked by the body's own immune system
Gout - is where high levels of uric acid in the blood form crystals in joints and surrounding tissue

Arthritis is not yet curable. While the condition is usually manageable, it invariably impacts on a patient’s quality of life and includes varying degrees of discomfort and pain. 
 

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Osteoarthritis - Stiffness and pain when the joint is moved after time the pain becomes continuous. The joints which bear the weight are the worst affected - hips, knees, lower back, big toes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - Painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the arms, legs, wrists, or fingers in the same joints on both sides of the body, especially on awakening
  • Gout - an extremely tender joint, painful and sensitive to touch - the big toe being the most common joint - symptoms occure suddenly

 Medication:

Many drugs, both prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, are used to treat arthritis. Common medications are aspirin-free pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, disease modifiers, and sleep medications. 

Treatment:

There are a range of treatment options available to assist with management of arthritis:

  • Alternative therapies  - massage, acupuncture, acupressure, herbs & supplements
  • Exercise -  Regular exercise is important to keep the body moving and flexible. It may lessen pain, increase movement, reduce fatigue, and helps you look and feel better.
  • Heat or Cold - Use of heat or cold over joints may provide short- term relief from pain and stiffness.
  • Joint Protection - Joints can be protected by learning to use them in ways that avoid excess stress
  • Diet - a balanced diet will aid in weight reduction placing less load on the joints
  • Surgery - Most people will not need surgery, but in many cases surgery may be effective in minimising or eliminating pain when other treatment methods have failed.

More Information:

Arthritis Australia - www.arthritisfoundation.com.au 
Arthritis Queensland - www.arthritis.org.au 
Arthritis NSW - www.arthritisnsw.org.au
Arthritis Victoria - www.arthritisvic.org.au 
Arthritis SA - www.arthritissa.org.au
Arthritis Tasmania -  www.arthritistasmania.org.au

Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • Medications for arthritis management
  • Hot & Cold packs for pain relief
  • Diet and Exercise advice and guidance
  • Products to help protect joints  

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