Living your best life with arthritis.

Living well with arthritis: Tips from people like you

Bikers beside a river fist pumping in the airThe award-winning chef Seamus Mullen, athlete Aimée Espinoza of San Clemente, California, triathlete Dina Neils and Pain Talks Founder Alan Brewington are all successful people, who just happen to live with arthritis. Remember that you have arthritis, but it doesn’t have you.

In an interview with Everyday Health, Seamus Mullen, author of Hero Food and the chef and owner behind New York City’s Tertulia restaurant, said: “I think the first mistake I made was believing that life as I knew it was over. I really felt as though the rug was pulled from beneath me, and that I would never again be able to do the things I once loved doing.” Mullen was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2007. He adds, “I really wish that, early on, I’d gotten to know more people who were living and functioning with RA, and that I’d learned more about what I could do as an individual to treat the disease, rather than depending so heavily on the medical community for answers.” Continue reading

Biomarker tests to help detect rheumatoid arthritis

hand holding test vialTreating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) early and aggressively is vitally important and can help to prevent crippling joint damage. Today specialists recommend a treatment plan that includes education, medication-often a combination of several different types of medication will be used in a person’s treatment plan-social support, appropriate amounts of range-of-motion, cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercises, rest, vitamins and mineral supplements and a well-balanced diet. Biomarker tests may also help to detect RA and prevent further joint damage.

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Life-changing biologics: So close, yet so far

A person with a graduate hat and gownOliver Sachgau, a young university graduate living with juvenile arthritis, shared his medication treatment journey with the Globe and Mail this week. He was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the young age of 14. Throughout his high school and university years, he kept his arthritis symptom-free by taking the biologics Enbrel, which costs $1,800 a month and was thankfully covered under his family’s insurance plan.  When he graduated from university, he was no longer covered under his family’s health plan.

In the article, he said: “I’m not a unique case. Enbrel is part of a class of medication called biologics. For those who take them, biologics can perform miracles. But their high cost, which is rarely mitigated by medical coverage, has created a unique situation for thousands of Canadians who want, but can’t have, their life-changing medication.” The medication cost Canada’s public health plans more than half a billion dollars in 2013, for about 30,000 beneficiaries. Continue reading

Managing your osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis is a full-time job

Work stationYou may think that working a 9-to-5 desk job is tough. Think about doing that while managing your osteoarthritis and/or inflammatory arthritis, which itself is a full-time job on its own. For people living with these diseases, working in an office environment – and sitting for a prolonged period – can create joint stiffness in the spine, hips or knees. Improper posture and technique when using a computer or writing may aggravate pain for people with the disease in their hands. It can also place additional stress on affected joints. Experts suggest we maintain regular movement throughout the workday as sitting too much can weaken the muscles surrounding your joints.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Aileen Davis, a professor in the departments of physical therapy and surgery at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, said: “For people who are spending long days sitting at work, we would recommend that they periodically do some stretches and also that they get up from their desk and move around every hour, hour and a half. I’m not saying that you’ve got to walk a long, long way, but just even the fact that you’re getting up and moving around your office is helpful.” Continue reading

Move More. Sit Less: A Survey for patients living with chronic disease

Move More. Sit Less BannerA survey for patients living with chronic disease.

The Physical Activity Support Kit Initiative (PASKI) is a B.C. province-wide project to develop an online “one-stop shop” of information and resources to help persons living with chronic disease to ‘move more and sit less’.

Active Business WomanNinety-seven patients, researchers and health care providers are working to develop this online toolkit. To help us better understand what patients would most like to see included in the toolkit, we have developed a short (10 minutes) survey.

If you are living with a chronic disease, we would appreciate your input. The survey is open until September 18, 2015, inclusively.

Please forward this email to friends and family living with chronic disease so that they may also participate.

Hannah Coulthurst – Arthritis and table tennis champ

Table tennis racquet and ball

Image courtesy of Antpkr at

Hannah Coulthurst, a volunteer with Arthritis Care UK, was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic arthritis in 2003 at the young age of eight. Since her diagnosis, she has been a full time wheelchair user. Despite her diagnose, she never gave up on her passion for sports. In search for a sport that she can participate in, she discovered table tennis and started training in 2007. She trains regularly with the Great Britain squad in Sheffield and represented Great Britain at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

Hannah is pursuing her dream of participating in the Brazil Paralympics Games in 2016. To thank Hannah for her inspiration and in celebration of the table tennis events happening at the Toronto PanAm Games, today’s #ABNPhotoADay features table tennis.

Hannah is currently a psychology student at the University of Hull. In 2013, she was profiled by Arthritis Care UK. Below is Hannah’s story from the interview:

My name is Hannah. I was diagnosed with Chronic Idiopathic Arthritis at the age of eight after spending seven weeks in hospital. Recently I have also been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy as well. I am now 18 years old and have been using a wheelchair for the past 10 years.  Continue reading