By Dr Suresh Siva
February brings about a number of festive events and holidays with Thaipusam and Chinese New Year in Malaysia and Groundhog Day and Presidents Day in the USA. Ipoh in particular will be very busy and congested as all the local people who have gone away for study or work come back to their hometown to enjoy the local food and spend time with their families and relatives. All the local restaurants will be full of people in good cheer who are having a wonderful time enjoying the food that Ipoh is famous for. However, it is also during this festive season that some orthopaedic conditions become particularly prevalent.
Gout can present in a number of ways, although the most usual is a red, tender, hot and swollen joint (also known as ‘inflammatory arthritis’), gout was historically known as “the disease of kings” or “rich man’s disease”, because dietary factors account for a large percentage of cases of gout and affect people with a rich diet including alcohol, meat and seafood. The consumption of coffee, vitamin C, and dairy products, as well as physical fitness appear to decrease the risk of gout. The occurrence of gout is also partly genetic and people with certain genes have increased uric acid levels in their blood, which causes gout.
Trauma or accidents are the biggest cause of disability in those aged below 55 years of age. Accidents can be caused by travelling at speed along the highway, falling off ladders or injuries in the kitchen while cooking. In any case of trauma, the patient should be quickly brought to hospital and be seen by an orthopaedic specialist. Prompt treatment saves lives and there should be no delay in seeking help.
Knee pain can become more prominent during the festive season as people walk more and are more active. Knee arthritis affects 1 in 4 people above the age of 55 and is commoner in women. Painkillers that are used to treat this condition have side effects which include gastric bleeding and kidney failure. Steroid injections are no longer an option due to their dangerous side effects. Therefore most people with knee arthritis opt for surgery to relieve their pain.
We wish all the readers of this column a Very Happy Chinese New Year.