Dr. Josep Verges presents the objectives of the OAFI Foundation in a personal interview that we held at the OAFI headquarters in Barcelona.
What is the main objective of the OAFI Foundation?
We want to help patients with osteoarticular problems, mainly osteoarthritis. It is a disease that although it suffers many people, has a high incidence, prevalence and chronicity, is not recognized. People who suffer from it have a hard time and there is much to do. The objective of the OAFI Foundation is to achieve the highest welfare of the patients through the knowledge of their illness. We address all the people who suffer from it: those in the elderly, postmenopausal women who have joint problems and athletes, which are a source of potential problems.
The foundation works to prevent and treat arthritic disease. At the global level, OAFI is coordinating a Task Force composed of the Arthritis Foundation (USA), PANLAR (Pan-American League of Associations for Rheumatology), the LIRE and we are working with EULAR (The European League Against Rheumatism ). In this way, OAFI collaborates in improving the situation of patients worldwide. ”
What has been the response of the patients?
It has been spectacular. The people really have seen the project very well, they call us, they come, they want to be volunteers … When we have done meetings they fill the rooms. People want to participate because they have a bad time, they suffer, they have pain and incapacity and they want to be volunteers, to contribute ideas, to get involved, to be partners of the foundation … Within the scientific community our initiative has been well received by medical and scientific societies , by the Ministry of Health in Catalonia and the Ministry of Health of Spain and also internationally by collaborating with the main organizations dedicated to osteoarthritis. It has surpassed all the perspectives that we had foreseen … Spectacular … ”
You have said that the reaction is spectacular and not surprising because the initiative of the foundation certainly responds to a real need of patients …
How can diet help arthritic patients?
Good food always helps, it is the basis of everything, “we are what we eat”. In the case of osteoarthritis, it is known that there are a number of nutritional deficits that may favor the onset of the disease. Good nutrition is very important because it can help prevent disease by restoring damaged cartilage or subchondral bone. Much remains to be done, a topic that would be very interesting is whether the Mediterranean diet can play a positive role in osteoarthritis, there are data that suggest yes and it is a factor that has to be confirmed. ”
There are differences of incidence in Osteoarthritis between Europe, America, Asia … Based on social, cultural, nutritional differences …
Yes we believe that there are differences and through OAFI we are coordinating them worldwide. We are doing a survey with 2000 patients around the world to see if there are any. The epidemiological data we have seems to indicate yes. There is talk that there are countries in which there is a higher incidence of knee osteoarthritis, in others more of hip, of fingers … It is a factor that deserves to be studied. ”
And obesity and metabolic syndrome …
Very important, obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. I thank you for the question, because from OAFI, with all humility, we will work hard on this. The metabolic syndrome basically consists of patients who have hypertension, diabetes, obesity … However, joint health is not taken into account. If we want them to improve, one of the ways to do this is to take care of their joints, because if they can not exercise, lose weight and regulate their diabetes, they can end up with cardiovascular problems. Anything that contributes to improving joint health will help a great deal in the evolution of the metabolic syndrome.
Finally, as you know, aDream-Up wants to manage dreams and ideas and help make them happen and I know that the creation of OAFI is for you the realization of a long cherished dream of putting people in the first place in the treatment and The prevention of osteoarthritis …
I appreciate the interview and your words. Realizing the dream of creating aDream-Up and working on food and health is an important bet and I believe your project is necessary and successful. From OAFI we share the dream and we augurate the collaboration in a joint dream.