The Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) meeting for Wednesday, October 12, occurred on World Arthritis Day. The guest presenters were two doctors from Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (BHP) that diagnose and treat arthritis patients.
The PCEC followed a different format for this presentation; instead of the doctors giving a presentation, there were two people to ask questions about arthritis (MC Ren Lexander and Deputy Head of BHP’s International Marketing Department Wallapha (Tanya) Sawasdikool. Providing the answers were doctors Nantharath Wongwara-Aporn, MD, Rheumatologist, and Pratya Jaratjitwilai, MD, Orthopedist.
The first questions related to what is arthritis. The answer is joint pain which may be the result of inflammatory arthritis or osteoarthritis or both. Inflammatory arthritis is a group of diseases caused by an overactive immune system. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. Affected joints may feel warm, swollen, and tender. But inflammatory arthritis can also affect other tissues in the body, including the lungs, heart, eyes, skin, and other organs. Osteoarthritis is a common condition causing wear-and-tear of the cartilage of the joints due to age and/or prior injury.
If you are experiencing joint pain, you can choose to visit a rheumatologist or an orthopedist. Both will have the same initial approach which is to identify the source of the pain; it most likely will be caused by either inflammatory arthritis or osteoarthritis. This initial approach will involve medical history and a physical examination followed by laboratory tests or imaging, as needed.
If you visit a Rheumatologist and the source of pain is osteoarthritis, they will refer you to an orthopedist and vice versa. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor will determine the best treatment to first stop the pain and then to prevent or reduce the chance of it recurring. The treatment can involve medicine, rehab exercises, managing your weight, as well as psychological, social, and sleep intervention. In the case of inflammatory arthritis, initial treatment will be to alleviate pain and make changes in your lifestyle you need to make to prevent further occurrence. In the case of osteoarthritis, treatment can be oral medication, injections, or surgery followed by recommended exercises to strengthen the joints.
After the presentation, Tanya Sawasdikool conducted the Lucky Draw awarding several vouchers for some free diagnostic tests at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. MC Ren Lexander then updated the audience on upcoming events and called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand. To view the presentation on the PCEC’s YouTube Channel, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhHMlCoOEdA. For more information about the PCEC, visit their website at https://pcec.club.