20pc of UAE residents suffer from arthritis

20pc of UAE residents suffer from arthritis

Although arthritis affects 20 per cent of the UAE population, only 6,000 people have been officially diagnosed with the condition and whereas in Europe, patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an average delay in diagnosis of six months, in the UAE it is 18 months.

The UAE World Arthritis Day recently conclude its programme of activities, which took place over the weekend of October 12-13 at the Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel in Dubai. It was held by the Emirates Arthritis Foundation to support arthritis sufferers, their families and friends and to increase public awareness of the condition within the country.

The organisation hopes that by raising the profile of the disease, detection rates will improve, which, in turn, should lead to quicker treatment — something that is vital to combat the worst effects of the disorder.

There are over 100 different forms of arthritis, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis having the highest incidence.

Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of chronic disability in industrialised nations and results from damage to the body’s joint or joints, which may be caused by trauma, infection, or age-related wear and tear.

Rheumatoid arthritis is less common than osteoarthritis and is estimated to affect one per cent of the world’s population, with women three times more likely to develop the condition than men. The condition isn’t caused by damage to the joints, but by an inflammatory process where the body starts attacking itself. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other areas of the body, with inflammation sometimes seen in and around the lungs, the heart, the eyes and the skin.

The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis of any type is pain. The pain might be from the joint itself and be a result of inflammation, damage from the disease, or through daily wear and tear. Muscle pain is also common and is caused by having to force movements against stiff and painful joints.

Although range of movement in the affected joint may be limited and uncomfortable, physical exercise has been shown to benefit those with arthritis. Physical therapy has been shown to significantly improve function, decrease pain in the long term and delay the need for surgery in advanced cases.

Promoting gentle exercise was therefore theme for this year’s World Arthritis Day, which had the tagline ‘Move to Improve.’


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