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1.5m Nigerians suffer from arthritis annually — Association



The Nigerian Orthopaedic Association on Monday said that more than 1.5 million Nigerians suffered from arthritis annually.

The President of the association, Dr ‘Kunle Olawepo, disclosed this in a statement in Ilorin in commemoration of the 2020 World Arthritis Day.

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of human joints. The main symptoms are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.

According to him, arthritis is a leading cause of discomfort in the human joints which might result in disability with physical and emotional impacts.

“No fewer than 350 million people globally suffered from arthritis, while more than 1.5 million people in Nigeria annually receive treatment for this ailment.

“This observance calls global attention to a complex, multifaceted disease that evidence shows is a leading cause of disability worldwide, with both physical and emotional impacts,” he said.

Olawepo, an orthopaedic surgeon, described arthritis as a group of disorders affecting the joints, comprising more than 100 clinical conditions arising from degenerative, inflammatory, ineffective, metabolic or autoimmune causes.

He said that the two most common types of the ailment were Osteoarthritis (degenerative) and Rheumatoid (autoimmune) arthritis.

According to him, arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness (especially morning stiffness) and decreased range of motion.

Olawepo said that the risk factors to developing the ailment were family history and predisposition, age, previous injury to the joint and obesity.

He noted that complications from arthritis could cause deformities such as Bow and K-legs, shortened limb due to reduced length, bending of the spine and accumulation of fluid in the joint.

The expert advised the public to embrace lifestyle changes such as weight regulation or initiating weight loss in the overweight or obese, regular exercise for weight therapy and improved motion of the joints.

Olawepo charged government at all tiers on the provision of relevant and appropriate investigative modalities at an easily accessible location throughout the country.

“There should be provision of adequate health insurance, to ameliorate the cost of expensive investigations and treatment, including medications and interventions; joint repair, joint fusion and joint replacement surgeries.

“Arthritis is a global phenomenon with debilitating complications; prevention is the watchword.

“Lifestyle modification on the part of individuals and government’s support, by providing medical aid toward its treatment, shall go a long way in the proper management of this condition whenever it arises, even as we commemorate the 2020 World Arthritis Day,” he said.

Our correspondent reports that the World Arthritis Day was first declared by the World Health Organisation in 1996, and celebrated annually on Oct. 12.

Fatima Mohammed-lawal

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