Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is chronic inflammatory arthritis developing in children under the age of 16 years. The disease strikes up to one in 1000 children and is one of the most common chronic diseases among children.
Autoimmune diseases generally occur when the body’s immune system begins to malfunction and attack healthy tissue in various parts of the body, causing inflammation and damage. In JIA, joints are attacked by inflammation and become stiff, painful, and swollen. Some children with JIA develop inflammation involving their eyes as well; in some severe subtypes of JIA, organs such as the heart or lungs can be involved. Continue reading
Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician, best-selling author, speaker and thought-leader in integrative medicine, has developed the “Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid” to help guide those interested in trying an anti-inflammatory diet. This type of diet can help counteract the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, some cancers, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The diet can also help with healthy aging.
Photo from: www.drweil.com
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The litany of famous athletes who suffer from various types of arthritis is long: golfers, cyclists, figure skaters, baseball stars, downhill skiers … you get the idea. There are countless athletes performing and competing at world-class levels in every imaginable sport. They do it all despite their arthritis and many have become high-profile and public supporters for their form of arthritis.
These athletes have found a way to compete at the highest echelon of their sport even as they suffer from the effects of arthritis. They do it with the aid of sports psychologists (keep attitudes positive), physiotherapists (keep joints limber), coaches (keep on the game), trainers (keep in top physical shape), medical personnel (keep tweaking meds), and maybe a financial advisor and a business agent too. On the other hand, we mere mortals must play all those roles (and more) by ourselves and all at the same time. The team behind us is far less comprehensive: probably a medical doc (rheumatologist) and then a bunch of friends and family cheering us on from the sidelines.
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In recent years, arthritis research and advocacy organizations have made important inroads in creating public awareness about the many types of arthritis (and related inflammatory diseases). However, I think that there’s nothing like an athlete’s star power to help focus attention on arthritis, which until recently was not understood or even considered a “serious” disease by many health professionals.
Athletes are terrific ambassadors for spreading the word about arthritis; their personal stories provide comfort and inspiration about how they cope with their condition during their sports careers. They possess the ideal public platform to get out the message about arthritis’ deleterious impact on millions of lives. In bringing awareness to the seriousness of the disease, they also help to direct more dollars towards research and ultimately, a cure.
Personally, we all deserve to consider ourselves as winners. Every day, we haul our pain around with us, we cope with hurting joints and aches, and the secondary effects created by various medications, including fatigue and depression. Unlike high-performing athletes, we do this without the benefit of a team of medical and/or health professionals. We participate as best we can in the “game” of life; we find our personal motivation and encouragement to keep moving. We may not run marathons, bolt down ski slopes at breakneck speeds, or drive a golf ball 300 yards, but we are all arthritis athletes in our own right. ~Fran
Mickelson’s mindset about his arthritis is one that everyone can follow, that is, mind over arthritis – not letting his arthritis stop his passion for golf. In an interview with the USA Today, he said: “I also find that the more I work out, the better I feel and the less symptoms I feel. So I’m excited. I feel better and better.” The 44-year-old, 42-time PGA Tour winners, five-time major champion and three-time winner in the Phoenix Open has been living with psoriatic arthritis since 2010. Continue reading
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The long-term usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) has always concerned me. Through the years I have taken different types of NSAIDs for varying periods. These NSAIDs even included (for a short time) VIOXX, which was pulled off the shelves in 2004 after studies confirmed that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. For many years I have taken diclofenac, which now researchers also believe carries a high cardiovascular risk, especially for people with a history of heart disease or other risk factors such as diabetes or high cholesterol. Continue reading