World Arthritis Day 2017 provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis
Dubai, UAE – 16th September 2017 – The Middle East Arthritis Foundation (MEAF) today reaffirmed its support to people living with arthritis, as World Arthritis Day is fast approaching and will be recognized globally on October 12th.
Concurrent with this year’s global theme – ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ – the Foundation will host its annual UAE event for families and carers on Friday, October 13th, 2017 at the Shangri-la hotel, Dubai to raise awareness of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and to encourage physical activity amongst people in the community.
With arthritis affecting millions of people worldwide and one in five people in the UAE, it is imperative that preventative measures are taken. There are no UAE specific statistics but numbers from the Gulf region suggest that the prevalence is 20% of the population. Moreover, the number of people aged over 50 years is expected to double by 2020 and the burden of musculoskeletal diseases is also expected to rise. These conditions are a leading cause of absence from work, and account for 20% of health utilization costs. Rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, is a chronic inflammatory arthritis with a higher likelihood of permanent disability. Because the disease is commonly presumed to be a type of arthritis, awareness is lacking, causing problems with disability, clinical care, and research funding. In the UAE alone, studies have shown a delay in diagnosis of 12 months due to lack of awareness of the disease. With early diagnosis, treatment deformity and disability can be prevented.
To mark the day, the Middle East Arthritis Foundation will host in Dubai a full day event for families, friends and carers of people living with arthritis. The event will be free of charge and will feature interactive sessions that includes a session with a life coach, and a demonstration of healthy Powwer jar, which encourages healthy eating. Participants can take part in an active session with other people living with arthritis as well as will have the opportunity to participate in a treasure hunt to win spa certificates and hotel vouchers amongst others. People who attend can also avail of the opportunity to conduct a free ultrasound scan of hands to check for arthritis as well as a free bone density scan for osteoporosis and much more.
The Foundation will also host a panel discussion titled, ‘My journey with arthritis”, which aims to connect the mind and body of the community to help manage daily stress. An interactive quiz will also be facilitated to provide participants with an opportunity to learn about arthritis and its treatment.
Dr. Humeira Badsha, Founding Member of the Middle East Arthritis Foundation says the activities at this year’s World Arthritis Day event have been designed to support people living with arthritis to take control of this condition, and take positive steps to overcome challenges to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
“It is vital that we listen to the constantly evolving needs of people living with arthritis and other chronic conditions to help reduce their pain and improve their quality of life. We are engaging with patients and their families to better understand their clinical, economic and social needs to help them progress on their healthcare journey and to continue to raise awareness of the treatment options available for them,” said Dr. Badsha.
It’s great to see that the UAE business community is also actively involved and support such events. The 2017 World Arthritis Day event is made possible through the support of MEAF partners such as AbbVie, Pfizer, Janssen, Eli Lilly and Company.
Beyond its ongoing research in clinical treatments, The Middle East Arthritis Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people living with arthritis through real-world data collection, support for caregivers and patients as well as awareness programs.
Arthritis affects a lot of people and early diagnosis is important for successful treatment. Contrary to popular belief, the chronic disease does not only occur in the elderly, children and teenagers are also susceptible, with the most severe forms occurring mostly in younger people, and the average age of onset between 40 and 60 years.
It is expected that this year’s World Arthritis Day in the UAE will be attended by around 300 people. All activities over WAD ’17 event will be free of charge and open to the public. People with arthritis and their families are especially invited.