Tue, May 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Doctor urges proper treatment of arthritis

LIMITED MOBILITY:There are about 100,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis in the nation and nearly 80 percent have problems moving, a survey by an aid group found

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

About 50 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis have difficulty walking and up to 90 percent have problems with their feet, a doctor said yesterday, adding that the symptoms can be alleviated if the disease is diagnosed early and treated properly.

There are about 100,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis in the nation, the Rheumatoid Arthritis Aid Group said yesterday, adding that a survey asking rheumatoid arthritis patients about how the disease affected their daily lives showed that nearly 80 percent had problems moving.

Many respondents said they have pain in their ankles and have developed hard corns, calluses or pressure sores on the soles of their feet, which makes walking difficult, the group said.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and systemic autoimmune disease that can lead to deformed joints in the hands and feet, and studies have suggested that up to 90 percent of patients have problems with their feet,” Taiwan Rheumatology Association Director Tsai Wen-chan (蔡文展) said.

About 50 percent of the patients start having problems with their feet within three years of being diagnosed with the disease, he said, adding that the symptoms include pain, hallux valgus, clawed toe, or corns on the soles of their feet.

“Rheumatoid arthritis patients can control the disease by receiving proper treatment,” Tsai said, adding that treatments include oral medication, biologic drugs and newly developed small-molecule drugs.

Patients should continue their treatments and should not reduce or stop taking medicine on their own, he added.

Pheumatoid arthritis patients are advised to avoid strenuous exercise, such as running, even if they feel that their symptoms have improved, Tsai said.

The group said not being able to walk without pain can affect patients’ lives.

It said it has published a free pamphlet that contains professional advice from nutritionists and physical therapists, as well as the anectodes from long-term patients.

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