Rheumatoid Arthritis: NHS on common signs and symptoms
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As a former football player, 55-year-old Ramsey, who owns a global restaurant group that currently holds a total of seven Michelin stars, is a fitness fanatic. In the past he has completed Ironman challenges and marathons, but it was precisely by doing too much exercise and putting his body under too much strain that Ramsey injured himself. Back in February 2021, Ramsey spoke to The Sun, who revealed he had to have surgery on his knee after being diagnosed with arthritis.
The chef said: “F*** me. I’ve just come off two weeks on crutches, as I had meniscus surgery. I did it running up the hill in Richmond Park, bolting up it. It was f***ing painful.
“And when I got the X-rays back, the doctor said, ‘You’ve got arthritis in your knee’.
“I’d never heard that word in relation to me before. He told me I needed to start slowing down.
“It was a case of ‘Imagine you’ve got 1.5million steps to run over the next 30 years… pace yourself’.”
Arthritis is the name that describes swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The NHS explains that the condition, and other similar joint conditions affects more than 10 million people in the UK, making it extremely common.
Despite its commonality, the condition can cause various painful symptoms including:
- Joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
- Inflammation in and around the joints
- Restricted movement of the joints
- Warm red skin over the affected joint
- Weakness and muscle wasting.
For Ramsey, the diagnosis was not ideal, as he uses training as a “release” from his hectic work schedule.
He added: “He [the doctor] showed me pictures, and you just don’t want to hear you’ve got arthritis in your knee.
“I told my mum, though, and she told me to stop being so stupid and to just get on with it. So that was nice.
“I’m a workaholic and training is my release. When lockdown struck I didn’t want to sit there, put weight on and veg out, getting angry with the Government or the Chinese.
“I also have that stern warning of my father dying at 53 (from a heart attack) and I look at my kids and know I can’t leave them rudderless.
“I am slightly scared of stopping but do know I will have to slow down at some stage.”
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The two main types of arthritis are known as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which have similar symptoms but develop slightly differently.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly 9 million people. The condition causes cartilage – the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint – to break down.
Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder, causing swelling and the formation of bony spurs known as osteophytes.
Severe loss of cartilage can lead to bone rubbing on bone, altering the shape of the joint and forcing the bones out of their normal position.
Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand affects more than 400,000 people in the UK, and is three times more likely to affect women than men.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape causing the bone and cartilage to break down.
Although there is no cure for either type of arthritis, osteoarthritis treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines and surgery.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to slow the condition’s progress and minimise joint inflammation. This helps prevent joint damage.
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