KUALA LUMPUR: Rheumatoid arthritis, a common disease throughout the world, affects about five in 1,000, or nearly 135,000 people in Malaysia.
But what is not well known is that it strikes more women than men, with 75 per cent of those afflicted being women.
This has led to the launch of the Malaysian Women in Rheumatoid Arthritis (MY WIRA) on Saturday by the Arthritis Foundation of Malaysia (AFM) and Abbott Laboratories Malaysia.
AFM president Dr Amir Azlan Zain said MY WIRA was a campaign aimed at raising awareness of rheumatoid arthritis.
With the Malaysian Society of Rheumatology, Health Ministry, Human Resources Ministry and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development as its partners, the campaign, he said, would include nationwide tours to educate women on early detection.
“When it is detected and given the correct treatment, we can help preserve normal function and patients can lead normal lives.”
He added that rheumatoid arthritis was a chronic, progressive and destructive disease which may lead to disability.
“It occurs when the immune system which defends the body from invading organisms turns to attack one’s membrane lining in the joints.”
Dr Amir urged women who suffered from joint stiffness, pain in the knuckles and middle joint of fingers, joint swelling or pain in the hands or feet, and those who easily feel tired when performing daily chores to consult a rheumatologist.
This article was published in www.nst.com.my on 28 February 2011.