Rheumatoid Arthritis is estimated to affect 0.24 to 1% of the population and considered twice more common in women than in men. It affects more than 180 million people in India. The prevalence is higher than many known diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, and cancer. Around 14% of the Indian population seeks medical advice every year from doctors for this joint disease. Medicircle is conducting an exclusive interview series on the awareness of Rheumatoid Arthritis Day
Dr. Naga Prabhu is a consultant rheumatologist at Sakthi Rheumatology center. He has been an Assistant Professor of Rheumatology at The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and subsequently established the Department of Rheumatology at PSG Institute of Medical Sciences at Coimbatore. Now since six years, runs a stand-alone center for Rheumatic diseases His interest in the field of Rheumatology lies in Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Vasculitis, and intricacies in the field of rheumatology and is committed to academic growth of rheumatology.
Patients Should be Aware that there are Specialists to cure Rheumatoid Arthritis
According to Dr. Prabhu, Rheumatoid Arthritis is often neglected. Earlier, the patients who were suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis came in a very crippled condition and it was important to make them aware of their condition. Now for the last 10 years, there is a see-saw change. Rheumatology is a specialty on its own. In spite of well-structured programs in India for Rheumatology, there is confusion among the general population that there is a separate doctor for Rheumatological diseases.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is Treatable
Dr. Prabhu gives insight about Rheumatoid Arthritis and says “Rheumatoid Arthritis is treatable at an early stage. Identifying a disease early is very important in managing Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is often said that when you have joint pain may be in the knee joint, hands, or small joints associated with swelling and it is not explainable by a clear-cut history of trauma or triggering factors, then it may be the starting point of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is better to consult a Rheumatologist at an early stage in this case.”
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diet Do not Have Direct Connection
Dr.Prabhu explains about diet saying “When we do not know the reason for any symptom or joint pain, we tend to associate it with our dietary changes. That is a common perception of any individual. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a complicated disease. It is not dependent on dietary changes that may lead to joint pain or inflammation. Dietary restrictions have no positive or negative impact on the management of Rheumatoid Arthritis. So keep your diet healthy which is very important. It helps your body to fight against the disease.”
RA is Treatable
Dr. Prabhu breaks the myth by saying “Cure is a magical word that every patient wants to listen to. But the meaning of cure differs for every person. For example, If there is a working woman who is trying to manage her work, the cure for her is to do her day-to-day activities at work and home to lead a normal life. For a 70-year woman, taking care of herself and managing her day-to-day activities independently without taking complicated medicine, visits to the doctor often is the cure. Today there are a lot of morbidities like Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Coronary Artery Disease which cannot be cured. But still, patients lead a normal life.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is Reversible
Dr. Prabhu gives a piece of important information that “Rheumatoid Arthritis is reversible. You have to detect Rheumatoid Arthritis early and treat it. There are a lot of medicines that are now coming up provided it is detected early. There are a lot of treatment options available for Rheumatoid Arthritis which can give a good life and cure a lot of patients”
Early detection of Rheumatoid Arthritis can lower counts.
“Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease and it affects the immune system causing problems for your own body system and cells. If RA is detected on time, its occurrences may come down. A healthy diet and lifestyle give your immune system a good charge and it helps in preventing the disease to get established and helps in cure too. Go back to our old habits of staying healthy and prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis,” advises Dr. Prabhu.
(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)