Arthritis is a very common condition that affects around 915,000 people in the Republic of Ireland, including one in every 1,000 children.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation within the joints. There are over 200 types of rheumatic diseases, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. For those who may be unaware, rheumatic means aches and pains in joints, bones, and muscles.
Many people link this condition to the elderly, but it can also affect younger people and children.
Due to there being many types of Arthritis the symptoms can vary depending on the type you have. This makes it even more important to visit your doctor in order to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
The NHS recommend that you seek an expert diagnosis if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Restricted movement of joints
- Inflammation in and around your joints
- Warm, red skin over the affected joints
- Weakness and muscle wasting
Your doctor will send you for X-Rays or blood tests. The results of these tests should be able to determine which condition you have, if any.
Living with Arthritis
Arthritis can make a person’s life very difficult; they often begin to struggle with everyday tasks such as writing or making a cup of coffee. Any form of movement can become a struggle and can put people with the condition in a lot of pain.
If you have arthritis in your knees it may become difficult for you to walk or even get up out of your chair. You may also find yourself unable to pick up a pen and write, or play sports, if your hands are affected.
Different types of Arthritis can affect you in different ways, but unfortunately the pain remains the same.
It is very difficult to determine what causes a person to have arthritis. Some types of the condition are caused by several factors acting together. Other people are more likely to develop certain types due to genetics.
Factors that can further the risk if you are already susceptible to the condition include infections, smoking and physically demanding jobs. Rheumatoid Arthritis is more common and severe in people who smoke, for example. Working in a job that puts repetitive pressure on your body will put you more at risk of Osteoarthritis.
These causes aside, Arthritis can still strike suddenly without any warning or obvious trigger and affect people of all ages. In order to prevent yourself from being put at unnecessary risk of Arthritis we suggest that you try and live as healthy as possible, whilst looking after your body in the workplace and at home.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Arthritis. There are some treatments and exercise routines, however, that can help to slow the condition down and allow those affected to live their lives as normal.
For those who have osteoarthritis, medication such as painkillers and corticosteroids are prescribed whilst in more severe cases surgery is available. Operations include joint replacements, joint fusion, and an osteotomy which sees the bone cut and re-aligned.
Patients who have Rheumatoid arthritis are given treatments to help slow down the condition’s progress and to minimise any inflammation or swelling of the joints. Alongside medication, the NHS also recommend physiotherapy and regular exercise.
There are exercises that you can follow on a regular basis that will help ease pain in your knee, back, neck, shoulders, and feet. A guide for these routines can be found on the Arthritis Research UK website.
If you have Arthritis then you qualify for VAT Exemption when you order a personal alarm system from Lifeline24. HMRC state that a product that has been “designed or adapted for a disability” qualifies for VAT exemption.
For a person to qualify they must meet certain criteria set by HMRC. These criteria says that the customer must have a long-term illness, a terminal illness, or a disability in order to qualify.
Remember to always consult a medical professional if you are worried about your health or are planning to make lifestyle changes.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 12th August 2021 to reflect current information.