Society launches arthritis awareness drive
Dubai, October 3, 2011
The Friends of Arthritis Patients Society (FAPS) in Sharjah has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at understanding burden of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the UAE.
The ‘Move to Improve’ campaign, targeted at primary care physicians, patients, specialists and the wider public, aims to educate and raise awareness for RA patients, with a local study indicating that approximately one percent of the adult population suffers from the disease in the UAE.
“The generally low prevalence of RA means that it can sometimes be overlooked and misdiagnosed, and through the ‘Move to Improve’ campaign we intend to facilitate a greater understanding not only of the physical pain that sufferers endure, but also the emotional toll and the effect on the patient’s quality of life,” said Waheeda Abdul Aziz, head of the Friends of Arthritis Patients Society in Sharjah.
Working under the umbrella of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA), FAPS aims to increase public awareness of RA, help people cope better with the impact of arthritis on their lives, and to provide financial support where needed.
Sponsored by Pfizer, campaign activities throughout the month of October include screenings, a public awareness meeting at Sharjah University for medical and high school students, as well as other public discussions with physicians and patients throughout the Emirate culminating in an awareness day on October 27 at Sharjah Mega Mall.
Following October’s activities will be a workshop for 400 arthritis and osteoporosis specialists and doctors on November 26 at the Millennium Hotel in Sharjah.
FAPS has also announced an award for the company that best supports patients of arthritis in a corporate setting.
Statistics suggest that within two to three years of onset, approximately 20 to 30 per cent of RA patients find themselves unable to work due to disability, and within 10 years that number increases to at least half of arthritis sufferers.
RA is a chronic disease causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints.
In most cases the disease strikes during the most productive years of adulthood, between the ages of 20 and 40. RA is a painful, progressive and lifelong disease that, if left untreated, can lead to loss of physical function, permanent disability and deformity.
Early diagnosis and treatment of RA has the potential to slow and even stop disease progression, which is why awareness programs such as ‘Move to Improve’ are important and well-received by physicians and sufferers alike.
Joint damage occurs at the onset of the disease, and permanent joint destruction can occur rapidly in early stages, so it is critical for people who show early symptoms of RA to see a specialist as soon as possible to begin the right treatment, say experts. – TradeArabia News Service
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