HYDERABAD: With arthritis complaints rising among people of all age groups, rheumatologists opine that there is a need to create awareness about the problem and efforts to bust various myths associated with it.
Though arthritis complaints are rising among all age groups, there is little awareness about the problem among not just public but even in medical fraternity, said Dr Sharath Chandra Mouli, head of department of rheumatology, KIMS Hospital.
Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, affecting the joints causing symptoms of joint pain and stiffness and it manifests in various forms. Though there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with each type affecting the joints differently, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, spondyloarthritis, lupus, among others are the most common problems found in patients today.
Arthritis is not a disease due to aging as is generally believed. ‘’Patients approaching us with problems like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is steadily increasing,’’ said Dr Manish Dugar, consultant rheumatologist at Apollo Hospital.
Besides rise in arthritis cases, what rheumatologists complain is of late detection of problem in many cases.
The exact cause of arthritis is not known and there are no methods to prevent it as of now. But early diagnosis can lead to treating arthritis completely providing the near normal life to the patients. But we find that many patients come to a rheumatologist only after approaching orthopedics and other doctors due to lack of proper awareness, Dr Manish said.
Rheumatology deals with diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the joints, muscles and connective tissue (soft tissues) but many do not have awareness about this basic point. Also there is huge shortage of rheumatologists in India, when compared to the number of patients. According to Indian Rheumatologists Association (IRA) not even thousand rheumatologists are there in India. As a result besides ignorance about arthritis, many myths are also in circulation.
As arthritis can be treated very well if diagnosed at early stage I urge people suffering with symptoms of arthritis to approach rheumatologists without delay. The problem can be treated with just medication, Dr Sharat Chandra says.
Though there are multiple symptoms, the common ones are pain along with swelling, stiffness, redness in the affected joints.
‘Palliative Care Yet to Pick Up in India’
With more and more people falling prey to severe life-threatening terminal illnesses, Dr SVSS Prasad, senior consultant medical oncologist at Apollo Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad, explains about the need for developing palliative care in India.
What is palliative care?
In simple terms, palliative care is the treatment and support provided to persons suffering with serious terminal illnesses during their last stage.
What is the status of palliative care in India?
Palliative care in India is in early stages of development. India is ranked 67th in an 80-country study of ‘Quality of Death Index’ by a Singaporean Philanthropic organization. This shows that as a country, we are woefully inadequate in providing meaningful palliative care to the needy.
Why are we ranked so poor?
It is due to various reasons. There is no proper policy on palliative care. Also not much effort is put on developing palliative care services. Also there is not much stress on providing end-of-life care facilities here, either due to lack of funds or medical professionals or just due to lack of concern.
What can we do to develop palliative care?
Awareness needs to be created about providing proper palliative care to the terminally ill people, medical fraternity and government institutions.
What is a hospice?
Hospice is a home which provides care for sick or terminally ill. Hospice care should be made part of mainstream health system so that all the needy can have access to palliative care at hospices. Hospice care is for all ages from infancy to adulthood with any number of medical conditions.