World Arthritis Day: Association says 1.5 million Nigerians living with arthritis


The Nigerian Orthopaedic Association (NOA) says 1.5 million Nigerians suffer from arthritis, while 350 million people are affected globally.

The President of the association, Prof. Kunle Olawepo, made this known in a statement on Monday to commemorate the 2021 World Arthritis Day.

Arthritis is an umbrella term that encompasses the common disabling disorders that primarily or secondarily affects joints.

It is common as the age advances, although certain types may affect younger people. There are more than 100 types of arthritis.

The World Arthritis Day, declared by the World Health Organisation is annually celebrated on Oct. 12 since 1996 to raise awareness on the health condition and ease the struggles of people suffering from the disease.

Olawepo said “arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes pain and stiffness in joints, which can worsen with age.

“The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Don’t delay, Connect Today”, aimed at drawing attention to seeking early care, leading to appropriate early diagnosis and proper treatment and medical management of the condition.

“People of all ages and sexes can have arthritis, and can lead to disability in human joints.”

The NOA president listed signs and symptoms of the illness to include swelling, pain, stiffness, decreased motion and warmth and redness in the joint, among others.

He also listed risk factors to include; family history, age, previous injury to the joint (Trauma or infection) and excess weight.

Olawepo said that untreated arthritis could lead to deformity, such as Bow and K-legs, shortened limbs, due to reduced length and bending of the spine.

He, therefore, advised people to engage in regular exercise to improve motion and reduce weight.

He appealed to government to provide relevant and appropriate investigative modalities at an easily accessible location (not too far) throughout the country, provide health insurance to ameliorate the cost of expensive investigations, and treatment.

He noted that the treatment should include medication and interventions like joint repair, joint fusion and joint replacement surgeries.