Living your best life with arthritis.

May is ankylosing spondylitis month! A Q&A session with Michael Mallinson

May is ankylosing spondylitis month and to celebrate, we would like to share this question and answer session Arthritis Consumer Experts did with Michael Mallinson, President of the Canadian Spondylitis Association.

Picture of Michael - President of Canadian Ankylosing Spondylitis Association

Q: Hi, Michael. Can you tell us about your organization?
A: The Canadian Spondylitis Association is a nonprofit national patient association formed in April 2006 to support and to advocate for those suffering from ankylosing spondylitis and associated spondyloarthritis diseases including psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis and reactive arthritis. Our goal is to be the leader in Canada providing support, education and advocacy for the spondyloarthritis patient community

Q: What are some misconceptions about ankylosing spondylitis?
A: Most people are unaware that AS strikes young people. The typical age of onset is between 17 and 35. Although people are aware that arthritis is a women’s disease, they are surprised when they found out AS has a significantly higher prevalence among men.
Continue reading

The cost of non-adherence to prescribed medications

Pills and needles to portray medication nonadherenceAn article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimated that non-adherence resulted in approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, costing US health care system $100 and $289 billion a year.

The article reports that “studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic diseases are not taken as prescribed. The review found that for people who do take prescription medications, they only take about half the prescribed doses.

Researchers from Northwestern University found that one-third of kidney transplant patients don’t take their anti-rejection medications. Other studies show that 41 percent of heart attack patients don’t take their blood pressure medications and only 50 percent of children with asthma use their inhalers as prescribed.

In an article in the New York Times, Dr. Bruce Bender, co-director of the Centre for Health Promotion at National Jewish Health in Denver, explained: “When people don’t take the medications prescribed for them, emergency department visits and hospitalizations increase and more people die. Non-adherence is a huge problem, and there’s no one solution because there are many different reasons why it happens.”

Continue reading

It’s World Day for Physical Activity! Let’s deskercise!

April 6 is World Day for Physical Activity, let’s take a moment to recognize that the words “physical activity” and “outdoor” or “gym” are not synonymous. There is a perception that working at an office means being chained to your desk and inevitably becoming a “desk-potato”.

Deskercise, or desk exercises, are simple and short exercises that you can do at, or near your desk with tools available at the office or exercise gadgets you can easily bring to the office. Something as simple as walking can have significant health benefits. Walking a minimum of about 10 city blocks each day could reduce the risk of dementia, and potentially improve cardiovascular and joint health in the long term. To learn more about walking and its benefits, click here.

Woman doing arm stretch exercise

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Here are some ways you can exercise at work: Continue reading

Adaptive clothes for people living with arthritis and other medical problems

Wardrobe full of clothesPutting on clothes can be a difficult task for people living with arthritis, limited mobility and range of motion, and other medical problems.

For someone living with arthritis, simple tasks, such as buttoning a shirt, tying shoelaces, or pulling up a zipper, are made difficult by joint pain and inflammation. Caregivers can help in this aspect but it can be a demeaning, intimate and tricky task for both parties. People with Alzheimer or dementia may also have trouble in dressing themselves. They may forget how to put on a shirt or which way the buttons face.

One way to make things easier is to use adaptive clothes. Adaptive clothes have details like Velcro tabs instead of zips and buttons, as well as adjustable or removable components that help to save time and reduce the risk of injury. “More importantly, this type of clothing improves one’s comfort and bolsters self-esteem,” said Ms. Punithamani Kandasamy, a registered nurse and caregiving trainer at Active Global Specialised Caregivers. In an interview with the Straight Times in Singapore, Ms. Punithamani explains how different types of adaptive apparel and footwear can be useful for both the wearer and the caregiver. Below is an excerpt from the interview: Continue reading

Call for patient input on biosimilar etanercept (Sandoz) for RA, AS, and pJIA

Stickman with megaphone calling for patient inputDo you have rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis or care for someone who does? We need your valuable input.

Health Canada defines biosimilars (sometimes referred to as subsequent entry biologics or SEBs) as biologic medicines that are similar to, and would enter the market after, an approved originator biologic (such as Enbrel®).

Unlike the more common small-molecule drugs, biologics generally exhibit high molecular complexity, and are sensitive to changes in manufacturing practices. Biosimilars are not identical to their originator products because their chemical characteristics cannot be precisely duplicated during the manufacturing process. Therefore, biosimilars may have unique efficacy, immunogenicity, and safety profiles that are different from their originator.

The Common Drug Review (CDR) is currently welcoming patients and their caregivers to provide input to patient organizations on the manufacturer’s submission for biosimilar etanercept for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The originator biologic, or reference product, is etanercept (Enbrel®).
Continue reading

Include exercise in your mall routine

Picture of a woman holding onto a shopping bagThere are many ways to include exercise in your mall routine. By turning daily tasks into an exercise routine, you will be able to improve your overall strength. Many Canadians visit the mall on December 26, also known as Boxing Day in Canada, to find deals on electronic, clothing, and entertainment goods and services. Like the Black Friday sale event down in the United States, the shopping centres are packed with people. The mall also provides a free and dry environment for walking when the weather makes road conditions unsafe for outdoor exercise. Below are some ways you can incorporate and optimize exercise while shopping: Continue reading