Dubai, UAE: Close to one per cent of arthritis patients in the UAE suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, experts said on Tuesday citing a recent study.
More than 20 per cent of the UAE population suffers from some kind of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes severe pain and swelling and deformity in the joints of the fingers, wrists, feet and ankles. While a genetic condition is inevitable the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and its management can help a patient have a good quality of life, doctors said.
However, both doctors agreed that early intervention in the case of inflammatory arthritis, correct diagnosis using diagnostic tools such as X-rays, blood tests, and ultrasound could show the early onset of inflammation and actually help in stopping the evolution of the disease and reverse damage in the early stages.
“A patient must not ignore joint pain with swelling and stiffness and immediately consult a rheumatologist,“ said Dr Badshah.
“It is difficult to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis but with the help of clinical examination, blood tests, X-rays and ultrasounds we do make a correct diagnosis and put patients on immune-suppressive therapies to control the pain and inflammation,” said Dr Harifi.
While it is not possible to cure arthritis, early diagnosis and treatment, lifestyle tweaks and elimination of environmental triggers can be of great help.
Dr Harifi said: ‘There is enough clinical evidence to suggest that smoking or passive smoking is one of the strongest environmental triggers which can start the onset or aggravate the condition. There are many other things in the diet and lifestyle which can help but there are not enough evidence-based studies to support that.”
To create better awareness, the Emirates Arthritis Foundation, which has over 3,000 members, is planning to introduce ‘Walk with Ease’ programme to encourage regular, low grade physical activity for arthritic patients, telling them the correct technique to walk and encouraging them to adapt regular physical activity in their lives.
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