By Vinod Kumar
Experts warn vicious cycle of inactivity and unbalanced diet flare the overweight kids up for arthritis as adult. According to experts the effects of obesity put children at risk of long-term foot, leg and back problems.
While Childhood Arthritis (juvenile arthritis) is considered a rare disorder, the incidence is rising and doctors of the city blame obesity to be one of the major contributors. City doctors are shocked to discover that the school going children are also suffering from bone disorders like arthritis and osteoporosis. While there are many reasons for the kids to be obese, including hormonal issues, but being overweight is strongly connected to diet and inactivity inform the experts.
“Our hips and knees bear five to seven times our body weight. These little frames aren’t supposed to be carrying 50 to 60 kg of body weight. The heavier the child, the bigger the pressure on the joints and cartilage, and that can be painful. It sets up their soft tissue for inflammation.” Informed Dr. (Prof.) Raju Vaishya, Founder President of Arthritis Care Foundation (ACF) and senior consultant, orthopaedic & joint replacement surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. Obesity causes an increased mechanical stress caused by extra weight on the joints as well as inflammatory effects of elevated cytokines and adipokines that affect cartilage degradation, said Dr. Vaishya.
According to senior dietitian & nutritionist Dr pallavi Vaishya, “if your child complains of joint pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more joints for a period of six weeks or longer, seek medical attention as early diagnosis and treatment is necessary to prevent permanent joint damage. The inactivity related to watching TV and playing video games have a significant impact on childhood obesity. Poor eating habits also lead to diets deficient in calcium and vitamin D – important nutrients for growing bones,”
“The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis is occurring much earlier. Obesity and knee injuries may be helping to drive the increase in knee Osteoarthritis among younger people. Injuries to the knee have been linked with an increased risk of knee arthritis. “More knee replacements are being performed in younger population than before due to obesity, sedentary lifestyles & other forms of arthritis,” said Dr. Raju Vaishya.
According to Dr. Vaishya, Over the last few years, the volume of joint replacement procedures has increased dramatically—and the percentage of joint replacement in patients who are younger than 65 years have seen marked increase.
Dr. Raju Vaishya said that it is a common misconception that autoimmune diseases (AIs) affecting joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), only affect the elderly. Statistics show that both the young and active can also suffer from these debilitating conditions.
“Patients must not lose hope. Treatment has improved significantly and newer therapies and methodologies including the very exciting biologic disease modifying drugs and procedures like arthroscopy and joint replacements have made a tremendous impact on our ability to treat the various Arthritis. With the help of these therapies, patients are now able to live a fuller, healthier and more active life no matter what their age. They can still reach for the stars and realize their dreams.” said Dr (Prof) Rohini Handa, senior consultant, rheumatology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.
“As the number of younger patients with arthritic knees increases, the emphasis should be given to prevention, and improvements in surgical techniques and implants will lead to better long-term outcomes when joint replacement is performed,” said Dr. Handa.
According to Dr, Raju Vaishya now a day’s arthritis of the knee and other joints is striking at younger ages but shedding a few pounds if you’re overweight may reduce your risk. As people become more aware of the facts around joint pain they are more inclined to seek help.
“Many people believe that only the elderly suffer from arthritis but I treat patients of all ages in my practice. Often they are misdiagnosed because some doctor’s rule out the possibility of a patient having some form of arthritis as they are too young, and the elderly don’t seek treatment as they believe there is nothing that can be done,” explains Dr. Handa.
According to Dr. Pallavi Vaishya, “ a program of exercise & taking precautions has reduced pain and improved mobility by as much as 50 percent in those with knee arthritis. A good physical activity programme is possible for people of all abilities, sizes, ages and attitudes. An effective self-management plan should include a plan to stay active, as well as medication, balance between rest and recreation, a healthy diet, and joint protection techniques.”