Regional RA summit discusses advances

Rapid developments in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis in recent years have shifted the emphasis from the control of pain to control of the disease.

  • E-Mail
By  Stuart Qualtrough Published  April 18, 2005

Rapid developments in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in recent years have shifted the emphasis from the control of pain to control of this common, potentially crippling disease, a medical summit was told last month. However, the key to the successful use of these new treatments is the early diagnosis of RA by primary care providers – not easy with a condition where there are no easy tests to confirm diagnosis. RA specialists rely on a combination of laboratory tests, signs, symptoms and x-rays to reach a diagnosis - the laboratory test alone only identifies 30 per cent of those who are subsequently diagnosed with the disease. It can afflict any age group – unlike Osteo-Arthritis, which is the wearing out of joints associated with old age – and can lead to severe disability and shortens lives to the same degree as stroke and heart disease. This debilitating condition affects 1 in every 100 people, globally, which means that there are an estimated 40,000 RA sufferers in the UAE. The new frontline in the battle against RA is a group of drug treatments known as ‘Biologic Agents’. Speaking at the meeting of doctors and healthcare providers in Dubai who gathered to hear more about this latest line of drugs available to treat RA, Dr Ayman Mofti, Rheumatologist at the American Hospital Dubai, commented: “Rheumatoid Arthritis can be a crippling disease with a debilitating effect on the lives of sufferers. Biologic treatments control rheumatic diseases and prevent complications, such as pain, joint damage and loss of function. “The availability of such treatment options for RA is expected to make a major impact on the lives of our patients; it is important to have the disease diagnosed and treated early as about 70 per cent of the damage inflicted by the disease occurs in the first two years of the onset of RA. The key to success is the awareness of primary care practitioners of the seriousness of the disease, the importance of allowing specialists to view suspected cases early and to make the diagnosis, and the availability of these new treatments,” he added.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code