Autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis, which are much more common in females, have increased dramatically over recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has also worsened the issue.
Talking to IANS, Dr. Kumar said that the COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked various inflammatory diseases. “We have observed in the post-COVID-19 era that auto-immune diseases like pain in joints, stiffness of body, incursion of muscle have increased along with other rheumatic disorder,” she said, adding that that though they were prevalent earlier also, the pandemic has increased the chance.
Impact of Pandemic on Arthritis
Dr. Kumar said: “As a result of the genetic makeup, the condition is more prevalent among women. They have XX sex chromosomes, while men have XY sex chromosomes. The X chromosome impacts a greater number of immune-related genes as well as the immune regulatory genes, which aids and induces immunological responses in the body.
“Female hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, also participate in giving women immunity. The larger number of genes originating from the X chromosome creates a far greater possibility of a larger number of mutations occurring that places women at a greater risk of developing autoimmune diseases due to women having two X chromosomes.”
Activities such as walking, jogging, running and cycling along with control of weight can help in fighting and preventing arthritis, said Dr Kaushal Kant Mishra, Director Bone and Joint Institute, Fortis Escort, adding that more than a disease, it is an aging process.
“Till date there is no direct role of COVID-19 with arthritis but due to lockdown, activity and mobility was largely restricted which have aggregated the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is only rheumatoid arthritis which commonly starts before 40 years and leads to multiple deformity at multiple joints that needs early and long-term treatment,” he said. However, he also said that all joint pain is not arthritis.
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