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MEAF gets the UAE community involved to commemorate World Arthritis Day

Tuesday, September 11, 2018/ Editor -  

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A full day of free activities to be organised on October, 12th to raise awareness of the management of the chronic illness 

Dubai, UAE, 11th September 2018:  The Middle East Arthritis Foundation (MEAF) announced that it will hold a public community event on 12th October at the Shangri-La hotel, Dubai to mark World Arthritis Day 2018 (WAD). Concurrent with this year’s theme - ‘Don't Delay, Connect Today', the Foundation will host a number of activities led by arthritic patients including a fashion show, nutrition and pain management sessions and free bone density tests, all designed to create greater awareness of the chronic disease. 

With more than 50 million people around the world diagnosed with some form of arthritis and one in five people in the UAE, it is imperative that preventative measures are taken early on. There are no UAE specific statistics, but numbers from the Gulf region suggest that the prevalence is 20% of the population. The most common musculoskeletal conditions with the greatest impact on society are rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, spondyloarthritis, low back pain, and osteoporosis. 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Humeira Badsha, Founding Member of the Middle East Arthritis Foundation said, “We are committed to helping people with arthritis take control of their life and are proud to create a hub for arthritis education, empowerment and support. Our goal is to raise awareness and inspire others to work towards earlier diagnosis and proper access to treatment.”

The community event is open to the public and will feature a yoga session, followed by breakout sessions on nutrition and pain management by experts, with inspiring tales from arthritic patients on managing lifestyles. For the first time this year, there will also be sessions in Arabic for the benefit of the Arabic-speaking population. People who attend can also avail of the opportunity to conduct a free hand scan for Arthritis as well as a free bone density scan for osteoporosis and much more. This year, MEAF will also place a special focus on children, adolescents, young adults and will address pregnancy challenges for mothers-to-be. 
The event will culminate with a fashion show led by arthritic patients and doctors walking the ramp modelling comfortable yet glamorous clothing and footwear.

'It’s nice to be reminded that it’s okay to ask for help. To be diagnosed with arthritis at 15 was scary and brought a sense of helplessness. But I am fortunate enough to have a great support system in my family, friends and everyone involved in my treatment and care. All my doubts and fears were addressed, no matter how big or small, reminding me that my diagnosis does not have to be this big scary monster I'm tackling alone. MEAF is a constant source of reassurance that I'm not alone, and that help is always there when I need it,' commented Anahita, a patient and the Middle East Arthritis Foundation (MEAF) active member. 

“Events like these serve to really boost the morale of patients,” commented Sanria Khan, the Middle East Arthritis Foundation active member. “When diagnosed with arthritis, the initial feeling is that life has changed forever. However, this is not true. With the right care, lifestyle changes and treatment, the disease can be managed to ensure one leads a productive and fulfilling life.”

With more than 100 different types of arthritis and treatments, it is important that people are aware of what treatment works best for them. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with symptoms that usually develop over time, but may also appear suddenly. While arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, increasingly it is also developing in children, teens, and younger adults. Moreover, rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men and osteoarthritis in people who are overweight.

The UAE business community actively supports the awareness and early diagnosis of arthritis,   with Novartis, AbbVie, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Apparel and other brands being companies that partner with the MEAF to support the cause. Beyond its ongoing research in clinical treatments, the Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people living with arthritis through real-world data collection, support for caregivers and patients as well as awareness programs.


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