National and international experts said on Saturday an early diagnosis of rheumatic disorders could prevent patients from permanent disability and deformity, urging people having issues of bones and joints to consult specialised physicians and consultants so that they could be timely diagnosed and treated properly.
Visiting consultants from different countries of the world as well as from Pakistan discussed different types of rheumatic disorders, their symptoms, causes, various available treatment options and rehabilitation, and also deliberated on various approaches, for the prevention of diseases, including sanitation and vaccination.
They were speaking at different technical sessions during the first day of the 23rd Annual International Conference of Pakistan Society of Rheumatology (PSR), which is under way at a hotel in Karachi. Over two dozen experts from European, Middle and Far-Eastern countries, North America and Africa as well as from dozens of others from within the country are attending the international moot.
Speaking on the role of rehabilitation in rheumatology, eminent physiatrist Dr Nabila Soomro said patients with various types of rheumatic disorders could live a healthy and normal life if they were diagnosed early and sent to rehabilitation centres where they were trained to deal with issues with their limbs and joints through different types of therapies.
Unfortunately, the country lacks an enough number of rehabilitation centres where such patients could be referred to, she deplored and added that on the other hand, many patients are brought to rehabilitation so late that little can be done for them in order to save them from permanent disability.
Dr Soomro said the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Dow University of Health Sciences was the only comprehensive centre in the public sector where both male and female patients were being treated and rehabilitated as per international standards completely free of charge.
“At our institute, we not only help patients in pain management but also help them in preventing permanent disabilities and living with their diseases so that they could remain independent and perform their routine activities.”
An infectious diseases expert, Dr Farheen Ali, spoke on the importance of vaccines among children as well as adults, saying in addition to children, adults must have some vaccines which could prevent them from several preventable diseases.
According to her, adults must have Hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), tetanus, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines while people must have varicella and HPC vaccines, saying there are two types of cancers which could have been prevented with the vaccines.
Responding to the queries, she said that due to improper nutritional status of children in Pakistan, it is advised that they must have at least 10-15 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine but if a child gets more doses of polio vaccine, there is no harm in it too.
Speaking at another session on rheumatoid arthritis, Dr Kamran Hameed from the Aga Khan University, Dar es Salaam Tanzania, called for the early diagnosis of rheumatic disorders, especially rheumatoid arthritis, which could result in permanent disability if not diagnosed and treated on time and asked physicians to continue enhancing their skills in their relevant field to benefit their patients.
Prof Gulnaz Khalid from the Karachi Medical and Dental College (KMDC) spoke on the clinical significance of immunology labs and technique, saying rheumatic diseases could not be diagnosed only with medical tests as taking history and physical examination by the consultant rheumatologist was equally important in diagnosing these diseases.
Eminent experts spoke on the causes and treatment of osteoporosis, pregnancy in rheumatic diseases, issues of eyes in rheumatic diseases and several other issues of bones and joints that affect a large number of people.
Several other experts, including eminent rheumatologist Dr Asim Khan from United States, Dr Khalid Latief from United Kingdom, Prof Tore K Kevin from Norway, Dr Sargunan Sockalingam from Malaysia, Dr Aisha Latif from Singapore, Dr Betina Rogalski from Germany and Dr Syed Aisha Bokhari, also spoke.