Exploring women’s arthritis issues and needs

Thank you Lady Gaga for speaking out about your RA pain!

Cover picture for Arthritis Magazine: Lady Gaga on her RA pain“I fought RA pain with my passion,” said Lady Gaga in the Spring 2017 issue of Arthritis magazine. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease with hallmark symptoms of inflammation and resulting pain. It is a disease process (like cancer or diabetes) where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy joints. It is a relatively common disease-approximately 300,000 or 1 in 100 Canadians get it-and is often devastating to a person’s body if not treated properly. The disease process causes swelling and pain in and around joints and can affect the body’s organs, including the eyes, lungs, and heart. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects the hands and feet. Other joints often affected include the elbows, shoulders, neck, jaw, ankles, knees, and hips. When moderate to severe, the disease reduces a person’s life span by as much as a dozen years. To learn more about the disease, please click here.

In 2013, Lady Gaga had to cancel part of the Born This Way Ball world tour to get surgery after suffering a massive joint tear and hip breakage. At the time, she thought the pain was the result of a labral tear and an inflammatory condition called synovitis. She told Women’s Wear Daily: “My injury was actually a lot worse than just a labral tear. I had broken my hip. Nobody knew, and I haven’t even told the fans yet.” Continue reading

Chronic diseases decrease social participation in middle-age population

Three girls in front of a blue backgroundA recent study from McMaster University found that middle-aged adults living with a combination of arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and/or depression are more likely to experience disability and limited involvement in society.

The research was conducted by Lauren Griffith, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatics and the McLaughlin Foundation Professorship in Population and Public Health. Researchers from McMaster University published the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community HealthThey found that physical and mental chronic diseases, alone or in combination, were associated with disability and reduced social participation. The results differed by gender and age. Continue reading

Venus Williams wins silver despite battle with Sjögren’s syndrome

Tennis court with tennis ball in the foregroundVenus Williams, despite life with Sjögren’s syndrome, and teammate Rajeev Ram takes home the silver medal for mixed doubles in tennis in the Olympic games. Though Williams was denied the gold medal by fellow Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock, she will always be a hero to the arthritis community for her battle against Sjögren’s syndrome.

Sjögren’s syndrome is an inflammatory autoimmune disease (like arthritis) in which white blood cells—the body’s immune system—attack moisture-producing glands. Most often, this results in dry eyes and mouth, although it can also affect the joints and muscles, and organs including the liver, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, stomach, and brain. Continue reading

Paralympian Leigh Walmsley: Bull’s eye on RA

Shadow of an archerBritish archer Leigh Walmsley competed at the London 2012 Paralympic game despite living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Her target is clear: continue to manage her RA while participating in competitive archery locally and nationally.

Walmsley experienced symptoms of RA in her 20s. She recalled feeling progressively worsening stiffness and soreness over weeks and months, especially in the morning and evening. She did not receive a diagnosis until she was 30. Even now, 24 years later, she continues to experience fatigue from RA and admits that her RA is not as controlled as she’d like it to be.  Continue reading

EULAR: Updated recommendations for fibromyalgia

A woman deep in thought in the shadowThe European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has published updated recommendations on the management of fibromyalgia. The detailed recommendations can be found in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized primarily by chronic widespread pain (CWP) in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and a heightened sensitivity to touch resulting in pain that can last for months.

Common signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include: Continue reading

YWCA Women of Distinction Awards Nominees are out!

Wooden manikin figureSince 1984, the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards have honoured over 250 award recipients and more than 1,450 nominees. The award honours individuals and organizations whose outstanding activities and achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community. There are twelve possible categories for nomination:

  • Arts, culture & design
  • Business & the professions
  • Community champion
  • Education, training & development
  • Entrepreneurship & innovation
  • Health & wellness
  • Non-profit
  • Public service
  • Research & the sciences
  • Young woman of distinction
  • Outstanding workplace

Arthritis Consumer Expert’s very own Cheryl Koehn has been nominated under the health and wellness category. Anyone who has been nominated is described as:

A woman who has an unwavering commitment to delivering, promoting and advocating for healthy lives and communities. She has made a significant and sustained difference in Metro Vancouver while empowering her community to change or better their lives through improved health and wellness practices. She may be a physician, practitioner, nurse or other woman committed to health and wellness. Continue reading