Middle East Arthritis Foundation Focuses on Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Patients from across the region band together to increase awareness of Rheumatoid Arthritis

In an effort to raise public awareness of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the UAE, the Middle East Arthritis Foundation (MEAF) have planned a half-day dedicated event in Dubai for people affected by this disease.

The event will take place at the Shangri-La Hotel on 22nd December and will be dedicated to raising public awareness around the importance of recognition, early diagnosis, and treatment. People are encouraged to attend and to learn factors associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis, so to stand up and make a difference.

“We are committed to addressing the needs of people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which means understanding every point of the patient journey from early diagnosis to treatment,” said Dr. Ghita Harifi, specialist Rheumatologist at the Dr. Humeira Badsha Medical Center in Dubai and one of the keynote speakers at the event. “This event is just one step in supporting the community and in raising awareness of the factors associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

With arthritis affecting millions of people worldwide and one in five people in the UAE, it is imperative that preventative measures are taken with early diagnosis. There are no UAE specific statistics on the illness, but numbers from the Gulf region suggest that the prevalence is 20% of the population. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory arthritis with a higher likelihood of permanent disability. The awareness around this topic is lacking, causing problems with late diagnosis and treatment. Often, people living with the disease appear like anyone else on the outside, but the reality is they may be seriously restricted, and many are in severe and permanent pain. In the UAE alone, studies have shown a delay in diagnosis of 12 months due to lack of awareness of the disease.

Studies show that rheumatoid disease may affect the heart prior to diagnosis. Rheumatoid patients have higher incidence of stroke and atrial fibrillation in addition to the specific effects of the disease upon the heart itself. A study conducted by Mayo Clinic reported that rheumatoid patients were twice as likely to experience silent heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths. With early diagnosis, treatment deformity and disability can be prevented.

The half-day event will feature interactive exercise and yoga sessions including breathing and laughter sessions with case studies of people living with the illness to drive home the reality for many people. Attendees will be able to have in-depth conversations with doctors as well as exchange their experience with other patients, get advice on effective treatment and carry home a lot of practical tips and advice.

The Middle East Arthritis Foundation supports people of all ages living with arthritis and will hold several events over 2018 to raise awareness for the management and treatment of this life-changing chronic condition.

To register for the event, contact Middle East Arthritis Foundation on +971 50 534 31 82; for more information, please visit, www.arthritis.ae or check the latest updates on the Facebook page: Emirates Arthritis Foundation.

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