More Than 1,000 People From the UAE Community Participate in the Country’s Largest Walkathon to Support People With Arthritis

Patients, caretakers, families and friends come together to fight chronic disease

Over the weekend, the Middle East Arthritis Foundation (MEAF) concluded its ‘Walk for Arthritis’ awareness event, targeted at improving the quality of life for people with arthritis, through exercise and movement. More than thousand people walked 3.5km in Dubai Creek Park and took part in various activities like an open-air fitness session, exercises specially designed for patients with arthritis and more, to show their support for people suffering from this lifelong disease, break myths and create greater awareness about this condition and treatment routines.

Speaking on the occasion, Consultant Rheumatologist and Founding Member of MEAF, Dr. Humeira Badsha said, “The ‘Walk for Arthritis’ annual walkathon is our signature event for the entire UAE community to come together to fight this chronic disease. The goal of the walkathon is to make people understand that exercise is a critical component of the treatment plan and contributes greatly to the management of this disease. With approximately 20% of the population from the Gulf region fighting arthritis, we hope that events such as these provide a ray of hope to sufferers, as well as bring the community together to build a support network for arthritis patients.”

Across the globe, approximately 350 million people have arthritis, leaving them struggling to carry out routine tasks, affecting their jobs, their financial resources, or their relationships with family and friends. In fact, according to a study by the World Health Organisation, work capacity is affected in most individuals within five years of onset of the disease. In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, a type of chronic, inflammatory arthritis with a higher likelihood of permanent disability, studies show that after ten years of the onset of the disease, 50% of young, working adults will be disabled. With the number of people aged over 50 years expected to double by 2020, the burden of musculoskeletal diseases is only expected to rise. But with proper management and especially early diagnosis the condition can be controlled and its impact on human body can be minimized. Research has consistently indicated that exercise is crucial for people with arthritis and brings with it several benefits such as increasing strength and flexibility, reducing joint pain, promoting mental wellness and combating fatigue.

The Middle East Arthritis Foundation supports people of all ages living with arthritis and will hold several events over 2019 to raise awareness for the management and treatment of this life-changing chronic condition. For more information, people can visit www.arthritis.ae or check the latest updates on the MEAF Facebook page: Emirates Arthritis Foundation.

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