Delay in Treating Arthritis Could Result in Deformity,
Warn Doctors

DUBAI - UAE doctors say delays in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis can lead to deformities or worse.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 29 Oct 2008, 9:05 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:39 PM

Dr Mahmoud Abdel Fattah, orthopaedic surgeon, Emirates Diagnostic Clinic, Welcare Hospital, Dubai, said health professionals have urged the Ministry of Health to take an active role in raising awareness on Rheumatoid Arthritis after research found 45 per cent of arthritic patients developed deformities and disabilities due to delays in diagnosis and treatment.

The research found that 50 per cent of patients in the UAE with Rheumatoid Arthritis are not taking the essential medication required to prevent joint damage, compared with only 10 per cent in western populations.

“Early diagnosis ensures that measures can be taken to keep the disease under control, prevent joint damage and deformity, and allow patients to better manage the disease,” Dr Fattah said.

Local health professionals say patients suffering from the disease in the UAE are mostly affecting the younger generation and contrary to perception Rheumatoid Arthritis is no longer a disease of the aged.

Rheumatoid Arthritis affects the entire body and its common symptoms include pain and swelling in more than one joint, often affecting the fingers, wrists, elbows, toes, knees, shoulders and ankles.

“The problem is exacerbated in the Middle East because many people do not receive regular health check-ups from family physicians.

Patients too easily dismiss back aches, joint stiffness and swelling as ‘part of getting older’ and do not seek specialist opinion until the disease has progressed to a point where it is debilitating,” said Dr. Fattah.

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