The numbers are bone-chilling — 27 per cent of a sample survey of 5,000 people in the UAE were found to have knee pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, and many in the sample group were younger than the age you would typically associate with this debilitating condition — the 50s. Other respondents in this survey tallied up to make equally disturbing percentages for other forms of arthritic pain. The grim reality is that rheumatoid arthritis makes no distinction of age. An increasing number of young people, more women than men, are being stricken with it in the UAE. And as much as medical science remains in the dark about the genesis of this auto immune disease, it is clear that needlessly inviting this disease into one’s life could be due to young people adopting a thoughtless lifestyle — excessive love for junk food, derision for exercise and ignorance of the effects of stress. A killer of quality of life, rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive condition that can reduce its sufferer to immobile despair. Awareness campaigns, educational drives and forums where this issue is vigorously highlighted so young people do not assume it is not of concern to them could help stem the rising statistics of this disease.