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AS it Goes – Fall Flares

frozen fall leavesLike many people with arthritis, the change of seasons is a killer. This autumn, in particular, has been most unkind. First, my ankylosing spondylitis flared, and then aches and pains mysteriously appeared in various joints as the weather waxed and waned. Seriously: first a wicked snow storm dumped 10 cm of snow one day with temperatures plunging to negative digits, and then in the span of three days, the temperature soared to 18 °C!

This fall has been nastier than usual, with the osteoarthritis in my knee becoming more pronounced and hobbling me for several weeks. I followed the RICE principle— rest, ice, compression and elevation—to no avail. I finally capitulated and got a cortisone shot in the knee to get me over the rough patch, and then began physiotherapy to get the knee back in proper working order (is that possible?) As a bonus, the physiotherapist gave me a few cold laser treatments on my osteo-ridden thumbs, which also have been pains—literally—of late.

Joint flare

Image courtesy of Scottchan | freedigitalphotos.net

The knee problem meant that my daily afternoon ramble through forest and dale was off limits. In fact, it was one of those epic trail hikes that crippled my knee in the first place. However, my loyal dog walking companion, Agatha, is pleased with the reprieve from those long walks. Agatha’s arthritic hind end has been causing her much discomfort recently and we now make weekly visits to the vet for cartophen shots to get her inflammation under control. Pets feel the changing weather patterns as much as their owners.

Most arthritis patients will tell you that their aches flare at the change in seasons, but medical research still has not made a definitive link between weather patterns and arthritis. However, there’s definitely “something” in the air and even weather forecasters, such as accuweather.com, offer a daily indice for arthritis sufferers, advising when the weather is beneficial for arthritis pain or at high risk.

Fran HalterTo add insult to injury, my husband’s golf elbow (which is a tendonitis in the elbow from something wonky in his golf swing) also began to ache. He, too, ended up in the doctor’s office complaining about the joint’s stiffness and tenderness. A little cortisone shot, some physio and he will be right in a couple of weeks. It certainly has been a challenging fall for our inflamed household. ~Fran

Do weather changes affect your arthritis, too?

JointHealth™ mensuel – novembre/décembre 2014

November JHM FR La fiche rapport JointHealth™ sur les médicaments contre l’arthrite : comment se classe votre province ?

Bien qu’on ne puisse guérir l’arthrite, les progrès scientifiques et l’amélioration des traitements ainsi qu’une meilleure compréhension de la polythérapie permettent aux personnes atteintes d’arthrite de mener une vie plus saine et plus productive. Cette année, par exemple, les progrès dans le développement de médicaments ont permis l’expansion de deux nouvelles classes de médicaments utilisés dans le traitement de formes auto-immunes d’arthrite. La fiche rapport JointHealth™ sur les médicaments contre l’arthrite de cette année reflète ce changement et inclut trois catégories de médicaments, les modificateurs de la réponse biologique, les produits biologiques ultérieurs et les médicaments à petite molécule cible, portant à 13 le nombre de médicaments dont l’accès est ainsi évalué.

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JointHealth™ monthly – November/December 2014

November JHM ENThe JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card: How Does Your Province Measure Up?

While there are no cures for arthritis, scientific advances and improved treatments, along with a better understanding of combination medication therapy, are allowing people with arthritis to live healthier, more productive lives. In the last year, advances in arthritis treatment include the expansion of two new classes of medications used to treat autoimmune forms of arthritis. This year’s JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card reflects this change and covers three medication categories – biologic response modifiers, subsequent entry biologics, and targeted small molecule medications – increasing the number of individual arthritis medications evaluated in the Report Card to 13.

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Arthritis New Zealand’s ORANGE sets out to inspire

Poster for the playArthritis New Zealand has produced ORANGE, a unique stage work to celebrate and release the artistic voice of young people with arthritis. The play is performed by a group of young and talented people, aged 17 to 24 years, living with arthritis. They will articulate the struggles, alongside the strengths and resilience experienced by young people with arthritis to inspire the fight against arthritis. If you are inspired by this play, talk to your local school or community to create a similar play to raise awareness for arthritis.

In a press release, Arthritis New Zealand CEO, Sandra Kirby said: “ORANGE is a multi-disciplined performance combining and displaying the unique talents of the young actors, dancers, singers and musicians involved, celebrating their abilities. We are incredibly proud of the performers and the work that has gone into bringing ORANGE to life. The audience will be taken on an inspirational and very personal journey throughout the performance. A truly collaborative effort with an emphasis on the challenges, alongside the personal triumphs experienced every day by young people with arthritis.” Continue reading

Study shows gout is a night owl

Close up of an owlA recent journal published in Arthritis & Rheumatology by the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School shows that acute gout attacks occur two times more often during the night and early morning than during the day. The increased risk was seen even among patients with low purine intake in the 24 hours prior to an attack. Purines are specific chemical compounds found in some foods and are broken down into uric acids. A diet rich in purines from certain sources of food can raise uric acid levels in the body, sometimes leading to the onset of gout.

In an interview with HealthDay, study author Dr. Hyon Choi said: “It is speculated that lower body temperature, nighttime dehydration, or a nocturnal dip of cortisol levels may contribute to the risk of gout attacks at night. Despite the possibility of a nighttime link to gout, no study prior to our current investigation has looked at the association between gout attack risk and the time of day.” Continue reading

Caring for your spine: Start early

Woman on ball at officeAccording to the Brain and Spine Team at the Cleveland Clinic, your spine starts to age in your 20s and 30s, and it continues aging as you age. “If you took 100 patients who are 30 years old, about 30 percent will have some form of arthritis in their spine, ” says spine specialist Dr. Kush Goyal.

Dr. Goyal reports that everyone experiences degenerative changes but these are not always serious and may present one and more or no symptoms. Natural degenerative changes can, however, lead to pain in the back and/or legs. Spine specialists identified arthritis as one of the common problems they see in patients. Continue reading