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FRI0573-PC The prevalence of musculoskeletal diseases in emirati’s attending primary health care clinics in dubai
  1. J. Alsaleh1,
  2. M. El Sayed2,
  3. N. Monsef3,
  4. N. Salah1,
  5. N. Noureen Khan1,
  6. E. Darwish3,
  7. F. Elbadawi1,
  8. G. Harifi1,
  9. R. Babiker1,
  10. N. Zamani1
  1. 1Rheumatology Unit, Dubai Hospital, Dubai
  2. 2Rheumatology Unit, Hatta Hospital, Dubai
  3. 3Primary Health Care, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Background: Introduction Musculoskeletal symptoms are frequent complaints seen in primary health care[1]. Indeed, a considerable number of patients may have a long term sequel, including chronic pain and disabilities if the underlying cause of their complaints was not addressed. So far, there is no well designed study has looked on the occurrence of rheumatic diseases in the UAE.

Objectives To estimate the prevalence of rheumatic diseases in Emirati’s living and attending government Primary Health Care (PHC) in Dubai.

Methods As 95.6% of the Emirati’s living in Dubai are registered with Dubai government PHC clinics. The PRO- Dubai study, Prevalence of Rheumatic diseases and Osteoporosis in Dubai; is a cross-sectional study, randomly invited Emiratis’ aged between 18years to 85 years attended 13 PHC clinics in Dubai in the period between January 2nd, 2009 to December 31st, 2009. The studied sample size was predetermined based on the reported Emirati’s population living in Dubai on June 1st 2008 using a sample size calculator.

The PRO- Dubai study consisted of three parts. A) Completing a questionnaire that contained demographic data, GALS screening questions, questions on the quality of night sleep, shading corresponding area of pain in the last three months on a manikin, and past medical history of chronic diseases. B) Validating the positive answers in the questionnaire by a rheumatologist and performing a thorough locomotor examination. C) Referring and managing those who were found to have musculoskeletal diseases in the secondary care. Rheumatic diseases were classified according to ACR, EULAR, and task force criteria for the diagnosis of various diseases.

Results The study included 3,985 individuals; 77.4% were female, and their mean age was 42.1 (SD 15.8) years. Of the 3,985 participants who satisfied the inclusion criteria, 33.8% were found to be a healthy individual, i.e. with no musculoskeletal complaints in the last three months.

The prevalence of low backache was the highest in our population 32.9%. Knee osteoarthritis was the commonest type of arthritis seen in our cohort 25.8%. We detected tendinitis in 5.0% and bursitis in 2.0%. 2.8% fulfilled benign joint hypermobility classification criteria and 1.2% met the ACR classification criteria for fibromyalgia. Overall, the prevalence of inflammatory arthritis was 3.1% in our cohort, 0.9% rheumatoid arthritis and 2.2% seronegative spondyloarthritis.

Conclusions: Conclusions Rheumatic diseases are quite common in our general population. Low backache and knee osteoarthritis were the commonest musculoskeletal diseases seen in our cohort. There is a need of more population-based studies in the Arab region to have better understanding of the epidemiology of rheumatic diseases in this region.


  1. Pekka Mäntyselkä, Esko Kumpusalo, Riitta Ahonen, Anne Kumpusalo, Jussi Kauhanen, Heimo Viinamäki, Pirjo Halonen, Jorma Takala. Pain as a reason to visit the doctor: a study in Finnish primary health care. Pain, 2001; 89: 175-180

Disclosure of Interest J. Alsaleh Grant/research support from: Le Servier & Janssen Pharmaceuticals, M. El Sayed: None Declared, N. Monsef: None Declared, N. Salah: None Declared, N. Noureen Khan: None Declared, E. Darwish: None Declared, F. Elbadawi: None Declared, G. Harifi: None Declared, R. Babiker: None Declared, N. Zamani: None Declared

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