Arthritis affects over 15% approximately 180 million people Indians – a number that is higher than many well known diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer and HIV in India. Recent studies suggest that Osteoarthritis beats them all to claim the number 1 slot among ailments in the country, said Max Elite Institute of Orthopedics and Joint replacement Director and Head Dr Manuj Wadhwa.Dr Wadhwa was interacting with the patients during week long awareness program planned to create awareness on arthritis.Quoting the sweet-bitter relationship Punjabis share with arthritis, Dr Wadhwa revealed in Punjab alone there are 30 lakhs arthritis patients and these numbers are increasing rapidly. “There are more than 5 lakhs patients with advanced stages of arthritis, of which 50000 would require immediate surgery. Obesity coupled with increasing sedentary lifestyle has made Punjabis vulnerable to arthritis,” he said.
He strictly advised Punjabis to think twice while relishing greasy paranthas, makhan, ghee etc. These not only add to extra pounds around waist, but also to the pain one feels while squatting and sitting. He said that the disease was catching youngsters and struck hard in their most productive years. Contrary to the misconception that arthritis only affects elderly, this disorder is increasingly found in the younger population. Earlier, arthritis patients would be around 65 years, but now the younger lot in the age group of 40-45 years, who are in their golden years, are increasingly turning up for surgery. Higher levels of stress coupled with modern day lifestyles are increasing incidence of arthritis, warned Dr Wadhwa.He laid emphasis on adopting a physically active lifestyle early in life. The key to arthritis management is finding balance between activity and rest-exercising too much may stress sensitive joints, while being too sedentary can cause stiffness and immobility. Stretching and gentle movements such as yoga are easy on the joints and keep them fluid and supple. Exercises such as riding a bike, swimming and water aerobics keep the heart healthy and muscles strong putting too much pressure on the joints.