Dr Andy Wee was invited on OneFM 91.3 to share on degenerative arthritis and its prevention and treatment.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis can simply be understood as the damage or destruction of the body’s joints. There are different types of arthritis, but they can be mainly categorised as degenerative arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. The latter refers to systemic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis where the body attacks its own tissues. Such diseases can cause early onset of arthritis as young as childhood.
Find out more about arthritis
What about degenerative arthritis?
Degenerative arthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is caused by the wear and tear of overused joints. Because of this “gradual” degeneration nature, the condition usually occurs to older persons above the age of 50.
Symptoms of degenerative arthritis are pain and swelling (sometimes even deformity) at the affected joint area. The pain usually occurs after activities like prolonged walking, running and climbing and will go away with rest. If the pain is persistent, medical attention should be sought.
How do I prevent degenerative arthritis?
Prevention is always better than cure. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important to minimise excess wear and tear of your joints. Eating a well-balanced diet gives the important nutrients for your joints and keep your weight in check. Do not be afraid to exercise regularly to maintain good joint health; just be sure not to overdo those exercises without rest.
What is the treatment for degenerative arthritis?
Doctors will usually prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to bring down the swelling and pain. Some joint supplements can help in managing the degeneration as well. You will also be advised to avoid doing precipitating exercises or activities that bring on the pain. Joint replacement surgery is usually the last resort, which can very effectively treat severe arthritis. As for early stage arthritis, keyhole arthroscopic surgery can address the smaller problems in the knee.