Living your best life with arthritis.

ACE launches first of three new blogs to help you “power up” your arthritis knowledge

ACE launches first of three new blogs to help you “power up” your arthritis knowledge, get more connected to the community, and learn the latest about health policy and politics affecting our group of chronic diseases. 

As Canada’s largest national patient-led organization and provider of evidence-based information and education programming, ACE is always looking for better ways to “power up” Canadians living with arthritis.

As always, we want to know what you think. We encourage you to share feedback and offer topics of interest for future blog posts.

We hope you had a great Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada!

Team ACE


Image of a smile in article about oral health and arthritisIs your mouth a gateway to getting arthritis? 

When Health Canada’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research was created in 1994, I, like many, was puzzled that they included oral health along with musculoskeletal health in the research pillar known as the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA). After all, what do researchers trying to solve the thousands of mysteries that make up “arthritis”, a group of over 100 different diseases, have to do with teeth. But were they ever smart to do so; the latest research shows the mouth and the joints are definitely connected.

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Viruses transmitted by mosquitos are associated with infectious arthritis

Mosquito warning signage - infectious arthritisViral infections are responsible for approximately 1% of all cases of infectious arthritis. These infections include parvovirus B19, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis E, human T-lymphotrophic virus type-1, and arboviruses. Infectious arthritis can last for hours or days and is marked by pain, heat, rash, redness, and swelling. Some people, particularly the elderly, will experience fever and chills. Most infectious arthritis cases involve only one joint and more than half of these affect the knee. It can also affect the wrists, ankles, shoulders, hips, and spine.

According to Everyday Health, infectious arthritis occurs when germs invade the joint due to:

  • animal or insect bites
  • skin infections
  • injury to the joint
  • bacterial infection during surgery
  • spread from a nearby infection
  • blood stream infection

People with an increased risk of getting infectious arthritis include people who: Continue reading

It’s time to see your rheumatologist. Let’s record and take notes!

Picture of smartphone and journal with pen for taking notesIt’s time to see your rheumatologist and specialist. Please have your recorder, pens and paper ready.

A study published in Psychological Science provides two hypotheses as to why note-taking is beneficial in a classroom setting. The first hypothesis is called encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second hypothesis is called the external-storage hypothesis – you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.

The same concepts can be applied to your medical appointments and is currently practiced by Dr. James Ryan, a family physician in Ludington, Michigan. With his patients’ approval, Dr. Ryan records their appointments, then uploads the audio file to a secure web platform for his patients. The recordings are annotated so that patients can easily search for specific topics in the conversation. Patients will be empowered and engaged in their own healthcare because they will have a reference of what was discussed. They can give family members access to the recordings as well.

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Battling rheumatoid arthritis – American Ninja Warrior style. #WeAreAllAbel

Battling rheumatoid arthritis – American Ninja Warrior style. #WeAreAllAbel

The TV series American Ninja Warrior (ANW) is a show where contestants compete to win the grand prize by finishing an obstacle course requiring strong, agile and determined athleticism. Contestants must have faith that they can conquer any obstacle put in front of them – the same type of faith some have when battling rheumatoid arthritis. In ANW contestant Abel Gonzalez’s case, this was true in the literal sense.

Abel grew up in Chicago with a rough childhood. His parents married young and had little financial means. In an interview with EverydayHealth, he said: “My dad was abusive. He sold tires at a flea market to try to help us get by. When I was 10, my mom and dad’s fighting escalated.” His parents eventually split up and Abel and his brothers were forced to split up. Abel and his brother were sent to live with family members in Texas, while his two younger brothers stayed behind to live with his mother in Chicago.

“I can remember my younger brothers sitting on the steps as Matthew and I drove away for good. It devastated me to be apart from my younger brothers. I was only 10. I thought that maybe I had caused my parents to get divorced,” Abel added.

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LA Dodgers’ Franklin Gutierrez Diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis

The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team has lost one of their outfielders to a form of inflammatory arthritis. Franklin Gutierrez signed with the Dodgers and was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) this year. While Gutierrez is likely acutely aware of the effects of his disease, the media has not provided much information about this more common than a rare form of inflammatory arthritis.baseball player sitting out possibly due to ankylosing spondylitis

The LA Times recently published an article covering the story: “Rare condition sends Dodgers’ Franklin Gutierrez to the disabled list“. Calling AS a “condition” discredits the fact that inflammatory arthritis is autoimmune in nature – like multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes and lupus – and disables people if not appropriately diagnosed and treated. The Arthritis Foundation states there are roughly 500,000 people in America that live with AS and the back pain associated with it. It also is a type of arthritis that affects men more than women – specifically males in their teens and twenties.

The issue with AS is that it takes on average seven years for men to be appropriately diagnosed; for women, 10 years. Because it strikes young people, symptoms – like chronic pain in the low back, Achilles tendon, and peripheral joints such as knees and in the hands (primarily in women) – are often ignored for years and written off as being “sports injuries” or simply “over doing it”. It is common for people to live with AS for years before they are properly diagnosed.

Gutierrez is one of the lucky few who has intensive treatment consisting of medication, diet, stretching, and massages from the LA Dodgers’ staff as stated in the LA Times article; still, this disease has forced him to sit out. Hopefully, more insight into examples like this can bring to light that autoimmune diseases like Gutierrez’s AS are far from rare, and are serious.

SickKids’ annual prom night gives patients the experience of a lifetime

Picture of two teens from SickKids Great Gatsby-themed prom

Picture taken from the @SickKidsToronto Instagram account

 

On Friday, patients at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto attended a Great Gatsby-themed prom. For many, this was a second chance at a fairy-tale and to experience what they may have missed at their own school.

This year’s prom marks the hospital’s eighth year of hosting this event. Both in-patient and out-patient teens who missed their own school proms due to illness or treatment are invited. For one night, they can forget about their illness and be a normal teenager. The event connects patients to other people who can understand what they’re going through.

In an interview with CTV News Channel Friday, Vanessa Williams, who gets treatment at SickKids for anxiety issues, said: “The SickKids prom allows kids to interact with each other and make new friends and make connections as well. Williams is also a member of the children’s council who helped to plan this year’s prom.

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The Big Sick film highlights writer’s real-life battle with adult-onset Still’s disease

The Big Sick film highlights writer’s real-life battle with adult-onset Still’s disease. The Big Sick film is based on the real-life courtship between Silicon Valley actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, writer Emily V. Gordon. In the movie, Zoe Kazan portrays Gordon onscreen, and Holly Hunter and Ray Romano play her parents.

The Big Sick film cast will cast light on adult-onset Still's disease

The romantic dramedy portrays how the married co-writers dealt with the extremely rare form of arthritis that brought them together 10 years ago. Back then, Gordon was a therapist in Chicago and has been together with the then standup comedian Nanjiani. Gordon’s initial symptoms were similar to a cold. She thought she had a really bad cold or pneumonia. She fainted in the middle of getting an X-ray and was rushed to the emergency room.

Gordon was eventually diagnosed with adult-onset Still’s disease (AOSD), a rare form of arthritis that can shut down major organs if untreated. Adult Still’s disease is characterized by high fevers, inflammation of the joints, and a salmon-coloured rash on the skin. It can either be chronic or episodic (having flare-ups a few times a year). In children, this disease is known as systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; when it occurs in people over age 15, it is known as adult Still’s disease. In Gordon’s case, AOSD affected her lungs, causing water to accumulate in her lungs. As a result, she had trouble breathing. Continue reading

On June 25, run for kids with arthritis and their families!

Join Cassie and Friends for their Scotiabank 5K & Half Marathon Team to raise money for all the kids affected by juvenile arthritis and other rheumatic diseases in BC.

Cassie and Friends Team for Scotiabank 5k for kidsOver the last 10 years, Team Cassie and Friends has laid it all on the course for kids with arthritis. Their team of 100 runners and walkers, from toddlers to grandparents, have transformed the lives of kids and families diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases in BC and across Canada.

But, there is still so much more we can do to support and connect families, fund critical research and raise awareness – we hope you’ll join Cassie and Friends! Make a gift or sign up to be a part of their team. Cassie and Friends has created a virtual run for those who are unable to attend the Vancouver event.

Click here to register. Please use charity pin codes (all child registrations will be reimbursed): 5K -17CFS5K or Half Marathon– 17CFS21K

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer Wilson at jennifer@cassieandfriends.ca or visit cassieandfriendsrun.ca or David Porte at david@porte.ca

Thank you for being a friend! Continue reading

Fibre rich diet may prevent arthritis knee pain in older adults

According to a recent study, diets rich in fibre from plant-based foods can lower the risk of developing knee pain and stiffness due to osteoarthritis (OA) in older adults. Fibre-rich diet can also lower cholesterol, contribute to a better-controlled blood sugar, and a healthier diet.

Sources of dietary fibreOsteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis that affects more than 3,200,000 Canadians – about 1 in 10. Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown in cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that acts as a cushion between bones in joints, allowing joints to function smoothly. The disease can affect any joint, but hands and weight-bearing joints—including the spine, hips and knees—are most often affected. Other joints, like shoulders, elbows, and ankles, are less likely to be affected unless the joint has been damaged by injury.

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Do you know a volunteer with arthritis who deserves recognition?

The Qualman-Davies Arthritis Consumer Community Leadership Award

Banner for Qualman-Davies Award for volunteer with arthritis

 

Do you know a person with arthritis who has, or is, providing leadership in the community and deserves recognition for their valuable volunteer work? We encourage you to help us celebrate their contributions by nominating them for the Qualman-Davies Arthritis Consumer Community Leadership Award.

The Qualman-Davies Arthritis Consumer Community Leadership Award was created in 2014 to recognize one person’s contributions to helping Canadians living with the disease to be heard in decision-making processes that affect millions. That’s what Ann Qualman and Jim Davies did as early pioneers in arthritis advocacy in Canada. Their tireless and selfless efforts helped millions of Canadians.

Nomination process:

To submit a nomination, please follow the four steps listed below.

  1. Obtain the prospective nominee’s consent to be nominated prior to submitting this form.
  2. Click here for the nomination form. If you create a separate nomination document, please use the headings provided on the Nomination Form PDF for ease of review by the award adjudication committee.
  3. Provide the completed nomination form to the nominee for their review for accuracy and obtain their signature on the document.
  4. Submit the form to feedback@jointhealth.org

The application deadline is August 31, 2017. Each submission will be reviewed by the award adjudication committee and scored on a points system. The winner and their nominator will be notified by the adjudication committee chair by September 8, 2017. The award will be bestowed in person at the Arthritis Alliance of Canada’s Annual Conference Gala, this year taking place on October 26, 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia (award recipient’s expenses will be covered).

About Ann Qualman and Jim Davies Continue reading