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Gender & Rheumatoid Arthritis in the UAE

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A study on the effect of gender on rheumatoid arthritis disease activity in the United Arab Emirates was conducted recently by Dr. Mira Moufarrej of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston USA, Dr. Ziya Mahfoud of Weill Cornell Medical School, Doha Qatar and Dr. Humeira Badsha of the Dr. Humeira Badsha Medical Center in Dubai UAE. Following is the abstract of the study, presented at Pan Arab Rheumatology 2014.

Purpose of the Study:
While it’s still not clear if rheumatoid arthritis is worse in women or men, recent studies do indicate that women are less likely to achieve remission, and consistently report more pain and disability. This study aimed at exploring the association between gender and the severity/impact of RA within the UAE and assess the possible correlation between gender, disease activity and treatment.

Methods Used:
Data for the study was collected through chart reviews of 182 patients treated at a private clinic in Dubai over a 2-month period. It was then analyzed for gender differences by comparing the following:
• Delay to diagnosis and treatment
• DAS28 scores (disease activity using 28 joint count)
• Health Assessment Questionnaire scores (HAQ)
• The presence of rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP factor
• The past/current use of several disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Results of the Study:
No striking difference was found in disease characteristics between men and women in the UAE (Table 1) with both having similar average DAS28 scores (3.4 for females vs 3.2 for males) and identical average HAQ scores of 0.46. While there was a notable gender difference in delay to diagnosis (16.5 months for females vs 10.2 months for males) and delay to treatment (20.2 months for females vs 11.9 months for males), it was not of statistical significance due to the small cohort size.

Interestingly, the aforementioned difference appeared to have no adverse effect on disease outcome seeing as both genders’ average DAS28 score was rather similar. In addition, despite the larger portion of unemployed women (86 of 149 women, 58% vs 5 of 33 men, 15%), ability to afford care by gender was strikingly similar with 79% of women and 88% of men able to completely afford care and 15% of women and 12% of men able to partially afford care.

Conclusion:
This study identified a trend towards longer delay to diagnosis and treatment in women in the UAE as compared to men, although these results were not statistically significant. These delays did not contribute to worse disease activity scores or increased disability among women; however seeing as this finding is uncommon, it merits further study. In addition, there was no gender difference with regard to patient ability to afford care (despite the larger portion of unemployed women) due to equal access to healthcare either by family health insurance plans or other means.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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