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March 15, 2019

Regular exercise, balanced diet can help avoid muscle and joint diseases: experts


March 15, 2019

National and international experts and consultant rheumatologists on Thursday advised people to keep their weight under control, exercise regularly and eat balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables to prevent many diseases of bones and joints.

They urged them to consult medical specialists instead of quacks in case of pain and stiffness of muscles and joints. They were speaking at a public awareness session at the start of the 23rd Annual International Conference of the Pakistan Society of Rheumatology (PSR) at a local hotel on Thursday.

Around 23 international rheumatologists and experts from several European, Middle Eastern and North American countries as well as from different cities of Pakistan are attending the moot, which would be formally inaugurated by President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday evening.

Experts said an unhealthy lifestyle, which included sitting idle for hours without any movement, eating an unhealthy and non-organic diet and obesity, were some of the causes of rheumatic symptoms. They asked people to immediately approach trained and qualified rheumatologists in case of joint and muscle pain, stiffness of joints and backache, which could result in permanent disability if not diagnosed or treated at the earliest.

Speaking at the public awareness session, eminent British rheumatologist Dr Terrence Gibson said a large number of Pakistani people were having knee problems, and the biggest cause of this condition among them was being overweight, while there could be several other causes of this condition.

Dr Terence Gibson, consultant and clinical lead for rheumatology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, maintained that once a person has osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common chronic condition of joints, most people stop physical activity and avoid exercise which makes their disease worse as lack of physical activity weakens their muscles.

“I would suggest such people should try to reduce their weight and exercise regularly in consultation with some qualified rheumatologist. If required, get your knee replaced but that only be suggested by a skilled and qualified rheumatologist,” Dr Gibson said and urged people not to resort to self-medication as it could aggravate their disease.

Addressing the participants of the session, another consultant rheumatologist from Baqai Medical University, Prof Shakil Baig, said 70 per cent of rheumatic or diseases of joints and muscles could be diagnosed by taking the history of the patient and with a clinical examination. He urged people having problems of bones, joints and muscles to consult qualified rheumatologists instead of going to quacks and Pehalwans.

“Delay in consulting a qualified physician or approaching quacks in case of joint and muscle problems can lead to permanent disability, so I would urge people not to ignore rheumatic diseases and pains. Uric acid is not the cause of every disease of muscle and joints. Avoid self-medication and try to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid complications of the disease.”

To a query, Dr Baig said schoolchildren should not be burdened with heavy school bags as they caused backache, pain in shoulders and other problems in children. He urged the youngsters to start physical activities instead of wasting time on computer or mobile phone screens.

Speaking on the deficiency of Vitamin D, Dr Saleha Ishaque said Vitamin D deficiency occurs when people do not go outside in the sunlight and spend more time in their rooms, which makes their bones weak as sunrays, when they get in contact with human body, produce Vitamin D. “This vitamin is very essential but its deficiency is not the root cause of every disease of bones and joints,” she said.

Another rheumatologist, Dr Samina Ghaznavi, spoke about osteoporosis, a condition in which bones became very soft in the later years of age. She added that it was a silent killer as this condition did not have any symptom. “Dexa scan, which is x-ray of bones, is performed to ascertain the mineral density in the bones.”

Several other rheumatologists, including Dr Asim Khan from United States, Dr Tahira Perveen, Dr Wajahat from PIMS Islamabad, Dr Amir Riaz and Dr Lubna Nazir, also spoke and replied to queries of common people. A large number of people, including patients suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other muscle and joint issues, were present at the session.

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