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October 14, 2018

Early diagnosis, treatment may reduce morbidity, disability


October 14, 2018

Islamabad : Early diagnosis and access to treatment and management may help reducing rates of morbidity and disability caused by rheumatic or musculoskeletal conditions emerged as a common disease in Pakistan within last few years.

Most of the conditions in this category including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and spinal disorders give rise to enormous health care expenditures and loss of work. Low back pain among the conditions is very common affecting nearly 80 per cent of persons at some point in their life.

Arthritis, an inflammation of the joints having more than 100 types, can affect one joint or multiple joints however two of the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In most of the cases, arthritis usually develops over time and it is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 60 but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are obese.

It has been observed that in Pakistan, arthritis has emerged as a major health problem and majority of our elderly population is unable to live a healthy life because of it though timely management of the problem may reduce morbidity, said Deputy Director at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Dr. Wasim Khawaja while talking to ‘The News’ in connection with World Arthritis Day observed globally on October 12.

A global WAD campaign ‘Don’t Delay, Connect Today’ launched in 2017 that continues to enjoy an ever-increasing audience in 2018 was designed to raise and promote awareness of the symptoms connected to rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and the importance of gaining early diagnosis and access to care.

The occurrence of RMDs is very high in Pakistan mainly because of bad dietary habits and unawareness among public while extreme shortage of rheumatologists in the country is making lives of patients miserable, said Dr. Khawaja.

He said not more than 100 specialists are there in public sector hospitals of the country to manage and treat patients suffering from RMDs. “It is need of the time to create awareness among public on how the disease can be avoided and what changes one needs to bring in lifestyle to minimise risk factors for arthritis.”

Arthritis is a disease of inflammation that comes and stays, and there is no way to permanently turn it off but it can be managed through anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications and with the use of anti-inflammatory foods, and by maintaining weight and adopting healthy lifestyle, said a medical specialist Dr. Sohail.

He, like many other health experts believe that early detection of arthritis can help achieving complete cure with the help of quality medicines.

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