New hi-tech arthritis clinic in Bahrain
Manama, August 14, 2012
A programme to tackle the need for early diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis has been set up in Bahrain by online medical resource organisation ENHANCE.
The ENHANCE Centre of Excellence at the King Hamad University Hospital (KHUH) aims to enhance medical outcomes for patients through improved communication.
"The programme has set up excellence centres in various parts of the world and the Bahrain centre is at the KHUH," said hospital commander Maj Gen Dr Shaikh Salman bin Ateyatallah Al Khalifa.
"Rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated one per cent of the population and has a potentially devastating impact on the sufferers, their families and the society as a whole.
"Late diagnosis is a major obstacle in its successful management since it is a chronic inflammatory disease, characterised by symptoms that include swelling, pain and stiffness of the joints affecting the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles and knees."
He said the disease is most often found in those aged between 40 and 60 years, but people of any age could be affected.
"It can be a disabling and painful condition, and if untreated, can cause permanent damage to joints, and reduce life expectancy," he added.
Dr Shaikh Salman said the establishment of an early diagnosis and management centre locally was crucial.
"Currently, there is a significant lag time between disease symptom onset and diagnosis, as well as a lag between diagnosis and treatment," he explained.
"However, patients who seek medical advice from a rheumatologist and receive treatment early will show reduced levels of irreversible joint damage. The majority of damage in rheumatoid arthritis occurs in the first few years."
Hospital consultant rheumatologist and head of the rheumatology unit Dr Sahar Saad said the condition can be debilitating, negatively impacting patients' quality of life and even their mental well-being.
"The earlier patients receive treatment by a rheumatologist in the proper setting of an early arthritis clinic, the better his/her health outcome." – TradeArabia News Service