Abu Dhabi: Al Rahba Hospital, in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, has inaugurated a new Rheumatology Clinic.

The clinic offers treatment for patients suffering from rheumatic disorders, a condition that afflicts 20 per cent of the UAE population in some form during their lifetime.

Currently, an average of 14 patients are visiting the clinic a day during operational hours. The clinic is open two days a week, and offers treatment for various disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

"Rheumatic disorders represent a very widespread group of diseases with a different origin and large spectrum of symptoms," said Dr Roman Stancik, Rheumatologist at Al Rahba Hospital.

"It includes degenerative joint diseases, e.g. osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, but also systemic inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus. It has the potential to significantly reduce sufferers' quality of life. The specialised Rheumatology Clinic will ensure that patients can be provided specialised help and treatment to manage the disease," said Stancik.

Rheumatic disorders are hard to generalise due to the various origin, symptoms and conditions they result in. However, osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common joint disorder. It may affect almost every joint of the body, but most commonly the knees, hips and small joints of the hand.

The prevalence of this disease increases with aging; about 60-90 per cent people over the age of 65 are affected.