Helping you detect, treat and manage arthritis

Pain is one of the causes of arthritis-related fatigue

“I’m so tired”: arthritis and fatigue

For many people living with arthritis, “I’m so tired” is an often spoken phrase. Fatigue is their constant, very unpleasant companion. It is a symptom which is often overlooked or overshadowed by other concerns when treating arthritis, but it can be life-altering to people living with the disease.

Often, research into treatments for arthritis has focussed on other disease symptoms, sometimes leaving out the importance of managing fatigue. Some recent research, however, has focussed on fatigue, why it is harmful, and how it can be better treated.

In an article published in Clinical Care in the Rheumatic Diseases, Basia Belza and Kori Dewing examined fatigue in arthritis and described some strategies for dealing with fatigue and minimizing its impact.
A person who fell asleep on the couch and is covered in a blanketThis article cites other research to conclude that 80 – 100% of people living with certain types of inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia, live with fatigue. Most types of arthritis are associated with some fatigue, and it can be one of the most difficult symptoms to live with, and treat.

Fatigue has been defined as “usually or always being too tired to do what you want” (Wolf et al). For people living with extreme fatigue, completing even the simplest tasks, or participating in normal day to day activities, can feel nearly impossible. People who face fatigue as a symptom of their disease can simply feel “too tired” to do the things they want or need to do in their lives.

Causes of fatigue

There are several causes of arthritis-related fatigue, which very often occur together. Belza and Dewing note several causes of arthritis-related fatigue, including: Continue reading

Unproven Stem Cell Clinics in North America

Despite the lack of scientific proof, stem cell therapy is becoming increasingly popular, with dozens of clinics open across Canada and hundreds in the United States. These clinics are offering treatment for a wide range of diseases including asthma, multiple sclerosis, crohn’s, osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. A recent study found that Canadian businesses are making strong and unproven claims about the benefits of stem cell therapy. Advertisements intentionally use scientific language which can mislead consumers into thinking they are science-based therapies. While there are credible facilities that do stem cell transplants for conditions such as cancers of the blood, there isn’t sufficient research to support the safety and efficacy for treating other diseases such as osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis. As stated by researcher Leigh Turner on CTV news, “you have a lot of companies and clinics setting up shop and there’s this pretty big gap between the marketing claims they make and the current state of stem cell research.”  A different article exploring the boom of stem cell clinics in America, found that advertisements use patient testimonial to appeal to consumers, which may just be a result of the placebo effect.

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Today is World Mental Health Day! Did you know that 1/3 of people with arthritis have anxiety or depression?

Positive Mental Health infographicPositive mental health is the capacity of people to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance the ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges, such as living with arthritis. Having a strong social support network can help. Continue reading below to learn the relationship between depression and arthritis and ways to help avoid and alleviate depression.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 54.4 million (22.7%) adults in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis – approximately one-third of them report having anxiety or depression, with anxiety more common than depression.

According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, in adults with arthritis, the prevalence of anxiety is 22.5% and the prevalence of depression is 12.1%. This estimates to about two-thirds higher than those living without arthritis or 10.3 million arthritis patients with symptoms of anxiety or depression – 4.9 million had anxiety only, 1.3 million had depression only, and 4.1 million had symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

The survey also found that anxiety and depression were more common for people who: Continue reading

A guide to living with osteoarthritis: Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy bannerPhysiotherapy as a part of your osteoarthritis treatment plan

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) recently published a special edition of JointHealth™ insight for Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada. This issue featured a guide to living well with osteoarthritis and included information on the disease, diagnosis and self-care. We have created this supplemental article to highlight the importance of physiotherapy in osteoarthritis (OA) treatment.

The Canadian Physiotherapy Association describes the profession as “anchored in movement sciences and aims to enhance or restore function of multiple body systems. The profession is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life. This holistic approach incorporates a broad range of physical and physiological therapeutic interventions and aids”.

Unlike inflammatory arthritis, there are currently no medications to treat the underlying disease process of OA. For this reason, non-medication therapies such as those provided by a physical therapist are important to help slow or stop the progression of OA and help maintain function.

How can a physiotherapist benefit you?
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Survey: Help inform the FLARE-OA international project team

University of Lorraine logoThe aim of this survey is to create a tool for the detection of a flare in osteoarthritis of lower limbs that occurred in the past 4 weeks. 

Dear Sir/Madame,

The Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) and Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) are inviting you to participate in a Delphi survey of the “FLARE-OA” research project entitled “Development and validation of a tool for the detection of flare in osteoarthritis of the lower limbs”.

The “FLARE-OA” project is led by researchers at the University of Lorraine in France and aims to define flare in osteoarthritis (OA). The research team needs to know what patients think is important to consider to define OA flare. The aim of this survey is to create a tool for the detection of a flare in osteoarthritis of lower limbs that occurred on the past 4 weeks.

There is no right or wrong answer in this Delphi survey. Your responses should be based on your own experience and knowledge on the subject.

If you wish to participate in this survey, please:

  1. Register through a unique link, providing your first and last name, and email address: http://enquetes.univ-lorraine.fr/index.php/13432?newtest=Y
  2. Once you register, a link to the questionnaire/survey will be sent to your email account asking you to complete the FLARE-OA FIRST ROUND survey

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and should not exceed 15 minutes when connected to our site. You have the possibility to answer the survey sequentially (save and reload your ongoing answer). Please provide a response within 3 weeks.

Your participation is very important to the international research team! We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

Sincerely,

The FLARE-OA international project team

Francis Guillemin (co-PI), David Hunter (co-PI), Gillian Hawker, Lyn March, Bruno Fautrel, Claudia Rutherford, Elisabeth Spitz, Camille Ricatte, Amandine Schoumacker, Laetitia Ricci-Boyer, Marita Cross, Annica Barcenilla-Wong, Joanna Makovey, Hema Umapathy, Hakima Manseur

Everything you need to know about the shingles vaccine (Shingrix®) if you have inflammatory arthritis or are on a biologic

Image of files and envelops

What is shingles?

Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is an infection that causes a painful skin rash and can lead to a variety of more complex, serious conditions. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. VZV can stay in the nerve cells of an individual long after they recover from chickenpox. The virus may lay dormant for decades, and then reactivate and cause shingles when the individual’s immune system is more weak.

Individuals over the age of 50 have an increased risk of developing shingles as well as anyone who has a compromised immune system. Many people with inflammatory arthritis have a compromised immune system due to taking medications that partially or completely suppress the immune response of an individual.

What is different about Shingrix®?

Shingrix® is not a live vaccine, so individuals cannot develop shingles from the vaccine. Another shingles vaccine, called Zostavax®, is not suitable for individuals with a compromised immune system because it is a live vaccine.

Who should receive Shingrix®? Continue reading

Reminder: Call for patient input on tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) for psoriatic arthritis

Megaphone GraphicDo you have psoriatic arthritis or care for someone who does? We need your valuable input.

The Common Drug Review (CDR) is currently welcoming patients and their caregivers to provide input on the manufacturer’s submission for tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) when the response to previous disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy has been inadequate.

The CDR is part of the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). The CDR conducts objective, rigorous reviews of the clinical and cost effectiveness of drugs, and provides formulary listing recommendations to the publicly funded drug plans in Canada (except Quebec).

To help them make their recommendations, the CDR accepts input from patient groups, like Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE). We would like to gather your views and share them with the CDR.

These are the questions they are asking: Continue reading

Did you know that ankylosing spondylitis affects up to 1 in 200 people?

Picture of spine and hip areaAnkylosing spondylitis (AS) is one of the most common types of inflammatory arthritis. It is estimated to affect up to 1 in 200 people.

Ankylosing spondylitis primarily affects the spine, but can also involve the hips, knees, shoulders, and rib cage. The most common symptom of AS is long-term back pain, along with spinal stiffness in the morning or after a long period of rest (this is the main reason why AS is often mis-diagnosed as ordinary “low back pain”).

Unlike in many other forms of arthritis where women are most affected, three out of four people diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis are men. It tends to strike in the prime of life; while it can strike at any age, it is most common in people between ages 15 and 40. While it has no known cure, it is treatable; with the proper care, people who are diagnosed with AS can lead full, productive lives.

Diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis

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SPINACH 2-project: SupPortIng seNiors And Caregivers to stay mobile at Home

SPINACH 2-project: SupPortIng seNiors And Caregivers to stay mobile at Home

Participants sought for interview/focus group about online module with options on how to stay independent at home when aging

A picture of seniors in a fieldDecisions about how to stay independent at home are difficult ones for seniors, and we often hear that they do not know what their options are to do so.

We have created an online module (webpage) for seniors and caregivers who are facing decisions (with their health professionals) about how to stay independent at home which could be optimized with your feedback!

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You’re invited! Free 2017 Calgary Ankylosing Spondylitis & Psoriatic Arthritis Public Information Forum

AS and PsA Forum BannerJoin guest speakers for a free information session to learn more about ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis and how to effectively manage these conditions.

Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017
Time: 8:30 am-12:30 pm
Speaker presentations start at 9:00 am

Location:
WINSPORT Multi-purpose Room
88 Canada Olympic Road SW
Calgary, Alberta, T3B 5R5

To register online, please click here or email execdirector@spondylitis.ca or phone (705) 715-2162. On-site registration opens at 8:30 am. Refreshments will be served.

The following topics will be discussed:
Disease overview & diagnosis
Treatment options
What’s new and on the horizon
Pain management
Non-pharmacologic treatment

Guest speakers:
Dr. Diane Mosher (Rheumatologist)
Dr. Olga Zouzina (Rheumatologist)
Carolyn Johns (Physiotherapist)
Alex Charlton (pharmacist)
Patient Speaker