Tanzania Worries About Link Between

Red Meat and Gout

From the [Tanzanian] Express


 Too sweet, but death to many

By Robert Ochieng

Red meat

It’s favourite meal to many families’ diets across the length and breadth of Tanzania especially in the urban areas, but doctors are warning that excessive red meat and other high protein food stuff are posing grave danger to thousands of people especially in urban areas.

Doctors have consistently warned that too much intake of red meat, mainly sourced from cows and goats, is probable cause of gout, a condition that causes knee and elbow joint disorders.

An increasing number of patients have of late been trouping to hospitals complaining of joint and muscle pains----the main symptoms of the noxious disease that affects more men than women. Dr Muhammad Sohail Panawala, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam says he has attended to hundreds of patients in the past six months–a souring number that is alarming.

In a recent interview with The Guardian on Sunday, Dr. Panawala says that knee disorders are predominant in all types of ages. Children who suffer from calcium deficiency become bow-legged otherwise known as rickets while adolescents suffer from bone inflammation, which is clinically known as epiphysis.

As for the adults, they tend to suffer more from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, conditions that result in degeneration and deformity of the knees and other joints making walking and performing handy work a painful experience.

“Your knee joint is made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid. Muscles and tendons help the knee joint move. When any of these structures is hurt or diseased, you have knee problems. Knee problems can cause pain and difficulty in walking,” he said. He says arthritis is the most common disease that affects bones in people’s knees whereby the cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, causing pain and swelling.

According to him, injuries to ligaments and tendons also cause knee problems, with these affecting mainly those who are actively engaged in sports when they make sudden twisting motions or movements.

Treatment of knee problems depends on the cause, Dr. Panawala who is a specialist in arthroscopy and joint replacement says, and adds that in some cases a doctor may recommend knee replacement.

He points out that it’s important to create awareness of the need for taking pain seriously among people, and that the concern has been growing among the health community. He is planning to set up a team of renowned knee specialists, which will conduct free clinic to screen patients and offer clinical advice on knee and back pain management.

Backache problems are experienced by a significant number of people due to prolonged sitting, standing for hours on end, bad shoes, stress, old age, obesity, or spondylosis – degeneration of the spine. Dr Panawala says some individuals with back pain problems begin physiotherapy without having been diagnosed properly.

The purpose of assessing patients is to pick up early on the exact cause of their problem and advise special treatment through back pain management.

“This is particularly important for chronic neck and back pain sufferers. While majority of them are self-limiting and resolve on their own, the risk of recurrence and development of chronic disease is significant,” he asserts.

According to Dr Panawala, chronic back pain tends to be very difficult to treat, especially in cases involving failed back surgery or neuropath pain otherwise known as nerve pain. Pain management is rapidly becoming the preferred approach in modern day communities.

Previously, pain, especially intractable or chronic pain, used to be something many patients simply had to learn to live with, but if the condition is allowed to continue it can lead to neurological feedback processes that only serve to worsen the pain and make it more difficult to treat. In recent years, however, researchers have esrablished a great deal about pain and its physiological and psychological basis, leading to pain management treatments that can provide complete or partial pain relief.

According to experts, untreated pain can interfere with the healing process by affecting the immune system and leading to other undesirable results. In cases of back pain, discomfort can impede the rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise and increasing the risk of psychological distress.



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