Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Interview with :
Dr.Mustafa Al Izzi, FRCP(Edin.)
Consultant Rheumatologist – Welcare Hospital
If you have just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chances are that you will be feeling very emotional, anxious and potentially afraid of finding out just what the future may hold in store for you. All these feelings are perfectly normal. The prognosis for people diagnosed with RA today is dramatically better than for those who were diagnosed a few years ago. With early, aggressive treatment, you can lead a more normal life than has ever been possible before.
1. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis, and who does it affect?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto immune inflammatory disease that causes arthritis. It usually affects females more than males in a ratio of 3 to 1; the usual age affected is between 20-40 years old but any age can be affected including children and elderly people.
2. How is it detected / what tests are done?
Usually the patient will complain of pain and swelling that is affecting the small joints of fingers and toes but also other joints such as wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles can be affected. Also patients feel their joints are stiff in the morning which can last more than one hour before the stiffness decreases or subsides.
3. How does it damage joints?
The inflammation will lead to thickening of the joint lining (synovium) with erosions in the adjacent bones which might lead to some finger deformities like spindle-shaped finger or swan neck-shaped finger, however many patients with effective therapy don’t progress to that stage.
4. What are the consequences of RA to the individual?
Mainly the discomfort of daily activities such as combing hair, opening jars and bathing.
5. How can the patient manage a normal lifestyle after diagnosis
Most patients can manage an almost normal lifestyle as current medications available have altered the disease course and outcome in most patients.
6. What advice do you give your patients?
Don’t ignore your symptoms. If you experience joint pain for more than 6 weeks, combined with swelling of the joints and morning stiffness then you should immediately consult a rheumatologist as early treatment can positively alter the outcome of the disease.
Dr Mustafa Khalid Al Izzi is the new Consultant Rheumatologist at Welcare Hospital. A Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), Dr Al Izzi brings with him a wealth of experience, his previous positions including Professor of Rheumatology at Baghdad Universtity and Head of Department at Mafraq Hospital and Zayed Military Hospital, Abu Dhabi.
To make your appointment, please call 04 282 7788 or request your appointment online at http://www.ehl.ae/WH/appointment.aspx.