What does it feel like to have arthritis? Image Credit: Istock

Dubai: If you suffer from chronic joint pain or rheumatoid arthritis, the earlier you see a doctor the better off you will be in management of pain and prevention of deterioration, doctors say.

Dr Paul Macnamara, consultant orthopaedic at Medcare Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital, said: “Often times, patients put off seeing a doctor for joint pain as they mistakenly think it is a minor issue, but there can be very serious consequences for delaying treatment.

“In clinical practice, I have seen delays of up to 12 months in initial diagnosis as patients try and avoid the stigma of diagnosis. But this is a real danger with these types of conditions” explained Dr Macnamara.

Effective treatments

“There are many effective treatment options available. I urge patients to see a doctor as soon as they recognise symptoms of chronic joint pain, so treatment can be initiated in a timely fashion,” added Dr Macnamara.

Rheumatoid arthritis appears most commonly begins between the ages of 30 and 60 in women and begins later in life in male patients.

“It can be an invisible disease, so it can be difficult to grasp the debilitating nature of the condition. Patients often look normal on the outside, but are hiding away feelings of pain, anxiety and depression due to rheumatoid arthritis. It can be extremely painful for patients to even get out of bed and get dressed in the morning.

“The autoimmune nature of the disease means that the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the joints of patients causing inflammation resulting in swelling and pain in and around the joints,” Dr Macnamara added.

There can be many very serious complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

This disease increases patients’ risk of developing osteoporosis, which means bones are more prone to fracture, and is also a common complication of medication patients may be prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis.

If rheumatoid arthritis manifests in the wrists, the inflammation can compress nerves that serve the hand and fingers causing carpal tunnel syndrome.