What to know about COVID-19 and arthritis?

COVID-19 has become a pandemic affecting almost everyone in the world in a direct or indirect manner. It has been said again and again that people suffering from various chronic health issues like cardiac problems, diabetes, kidney ailments etc. are at a higher risk of being inflicted with COVID-19. Along with these, elderly people and children below 10 years of age are also in high risk zone. The main reason behind this is that such people have low immunity thus chances of infection are quite high in them.

There is another chronic problem from which millions suffer – arthritis. In this global pandemic situation, it is an obvious question that does having arthritis increase the risk of COVID-19? A direct answer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is not obtained to this question because there are many other considerations in this case. But initially, one can relax because rheumatic ailments generally don’t seem to increase the odds of contracting COVID-19. However, there might be many underlying problems related closely to your health condition and many medicines that you consume, which might increase the concerns for the virus issue. Therefore it is very important to be super careful.

More than 54 million adults in USA suffer from some kind of arthritis. Some of the common types of arthritis include that of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. The joints are affected in different manners in different kinds of arthritis.

COVID-19 risk factor high with rheumatoid arthritis

People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, which are autoimmune forms of arthritis, are in a high risk zone and have significant concerns. It has been announced that people who are on immune-compromising drugs might have elevated risks of COVID-19 complications. And there is solid reason behind the same. The immune-compromising drugs make it difficult for the body to mobilize the immune cells for fighting the ailment. This is the reason it has been recommended by the top institutes and foundations of rheumatology that if someone is exposed to or has developed COVID-19 and takes immune-compromising drugs, one must stop taking the drugs immediately. The immunosuppressant pharmaceuticals should be stopped for a temporary period and can be started again on doctor’s suggestion.

Low risk of COVID-19 in people with osteoarthritis

People suffering from osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis, can heave a sigh of relief as they are in low-risk zone when it comes to coronavirus attack. Initially many medical researchers and scientists thought that people who are on medications for arthritis called as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), might have high risks of contracting COVID-19. This was thought as the NSAIDs tend to increase some enzymes in the lungs, which could be a fertile ground for the virus to make an entry and multiply.

However, till date no patients have been found who are on NSAIDs have contracted COVID-19 due to the drugs that they take. But still, doctors recommend taking NSAIDs in the smallest dose possible to avoid any kinds of risks or complications.

As an arthritic patient, maintain your mobility, exercise a little and you will be able to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay successfully.

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