Learn about rheumatoid arthritis at RAK awareness event

The Middle East Arthritis Foundation will hold a rheumatoid arthritis awareness event on Saturday, February 4, at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah. Courtesy Middle East Arthritis Foundation
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The Middle East Arthritis Foundation is aiming to raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis through a public event in Ras Al Khaimah on Saturday.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive inflammatory disease that causes damage to joint and organ tissue, resulting in severe pain.

The event at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah will be hosted by specialist rheumatologists Dr Ghita Harifi and Dr Ghalib Al Ani, who will discuss the different types of rheumatic diseases, the importance of early diagnosis and its impact on the the disease outcome, and how those affected can lead a better quality of life.

“The precise cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known, but anyone, at any age, can get it and it may even occur in childhood,” Harifi says, adding that there is still much about the disease that is unknown.

Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by pain and swelling in and around joints, and stiffness in the joints and muscles which is much more apparent in the morning, Al Ani says. “It is a systematic disease, meaning it can affect the whole body, even the lungs, skin, blood vessels, nerves and eyes,” he explains.

Statistics from the Global Arthritis Foundation show that more than 50 million people worldwide have some form of doctor-diagnosed arthritis, while more than 20 per cent of the UAE population suffers from some kind of joint problem, with rheumatoid arthritis the most common form of inflammatory arthritis.

It is most common in those aged between 30 and 50 years, and women are three times more likely to be affected than men.

Those attending this weekend’s event will be able to have their joints examined for free. “Our aim is to urge people to get tested so that, should they suffer from this disease, they can be diagnosed early and start the correct treatment as soon as possible, greatly affecting the disease’s outcome,” says Harifi.

The event will run from 10am to 4pm and visitors can register by calling 056 364 3215 or via direct message on the Middle East Arthritis Foundation page on Facebook.