After a severe bout of conjunctivitis and viral fever, the national capital is witnessing a 50 per cent increase in people suffering from arthritis and joint pain over the last week. Arthritis is defined as inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age.
“We are observing about a 50 per cent rise in patients coming to us in OPD with complaints of knee pain and joint pain,” said Dr L Tomar, Senior Director and Unit head, Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of patients coming to the OPD with joint pain,” added Dr Uma Kumar, Head of Department of Rheumatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi.
The doctors said that the condition is prevalent not only among the elderly above the age of 60 years but also younger people around the age of 30 years are coming with joint related problems.
In arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the body causing inflammation resulting in painful swelling in parts of the body. The doctors blamed the monsoon for the condition.
“Increased changes in air pressure due to monsoon, coupled with hot afternoons and cool nights, is exacerbating joint aches and pains among people, especially those with arthritis and other conditions, causing chronic pain,” Kumar said.
He also pointed out subclinical infections like dengue behind the increase in joint pain. Tomar said, the condition gets aggravated during monsoons due to a decrease in barometric pressure that causes the tissues to expand, creating more pressure on them, contributing to more.
“This usually happens when the weather shifts from summer to monsoon to winter. In this condition, the knees primarily get affected followed by spinal cord joints and the ankles,” he explained. During the monsoon, there are certain factors that could potentially exacerbate arthritis pain. Humidity is a common factor that affects arthritis pain during the monsoon season.
High humidity levels can cause bodily tissues to retain excess fluid, including the soft tissues around the joints. This can lead to increased stiffness and discomfort, making it more challenging for those with arthritis to move their joints freely, the doctor said.
“We advise people to exercise moderately, stay hydrated and avoid getting wet in the rain. Sedentary lifestyle, lack of nutritious diet and exercise, besides excessive smoking and consumption of alcohol also contribute to the disease,” Tomar said.