Seasonal Talk: Rheumatology and neurology
16 September 2017
Hong Kong Arthritis & Rheumatism Foundation (HKARF) and Community Rehabilitation Network of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation (CRN) jointly organized a talk “rheumatology and neurology” on 16 September at auditorium of the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong. There were a total of 150 participants on that day.
According to Dr. Virginia Lao, a rheumatologist, sometimes patients with autoimmune diseases may suffer from neurological problems. When vascular inflammation narrows the vessel lumen, neurons may be degraded by inadequate oxygen and nutrients, resulting in vascular-caused neurological symptoms. Apart from vascular-caused neurological symptoms, patients with arthritic diseases may also progress to nonvascular-caused neurological symptoms, such as numbness. It is caused when nerves are compressed by the swollen and deformed joints. Since nervous system is a huge network around the body, different parts of the systems may also present in neurological symptoms. Patients can be examined by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, nerve conduction study, nerve biopsy and computed tomography scan (CT scan).
Then Dr. Yeung Sze Wai, a neurologist, introduced three common rheumatology-associated neurological manifestations. Vasculitis and hypercoagulability can be a possible cause of stroke, although it is rare. To prevent stroke, patients should adopt good eating habit. Besides, patients with rheumatic diseases are more susceptible to demyelinating disease when they have vigorous autoimmune response towards myelin sheath. According to the frequency, demyelinating disease can be categorized to monophasic and recurrent disease in which different diagnostic methods and treatment strategies will be adopted. Lastly, Dr. Yeung added that depending on the number of affected neurons, peripheral neuropathies can be divided into mononeuropathy, mononeuritis multiplex and polyneuropathy. Patients may experience paralysis, prickling and numbing sensation. Regular check-up is essential to prevent the disease from deterioration.
The talk gave the public a better understanding of rheumatology-associated neurological problems. Participants were satisfied with the contents and arrangements of the talk, and looking forward to the upcoming talks on related topics.