All posts related to "arthritis"

What is pain? What are EULAR’s guidelines for pain management?

Close up of a person's face wincing in painWhat is pain?

The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”.

Pain is your body’s warning signal, letting you know that something is wrong in your body. When part of your body is injured or damaged, chemical signals are released that travel from nerve system cells (called neurons) to your brain where they are recognized as pain.

Most forms of pain can be divided into two general categories: Continue reading

Pain is one of the causes of arthritis-related fatigue

“I’m so tired”: arthritis and fatigue

For many people living with arthritis, “I’m so tired” is an often spoken phrase. Fatigue is their constant, very unpleasant companion. It is a symptom which is often overlooked or overshadowed by other concerns when treating arthritis, but it can be life-altering to people living with the disease.

Often, research into treatments for arthritis has focussed on other disease symptoms, sometimes leaving out the importance of managing fatigue. Some recent research, however, has focussed on fatigue, why it is harmful, and how it can be better treated.

In an article published in Clinical Care in the Rheumatic Diseases, Basia Belza and Kori Dewing examined fatigue in arthritis and described some strategies for dealing with fatigue and minimizing its impact.
A person who fell asleep on the couch and is covered in a blanketThis article cites other research to conclude that 80 – 100% of people living with certain types of inflammatory arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia, live with fatigue. Most types of arthritis are associated with some fatigue, and it can be one of the most difficult symptoms to live with, and treat.

Fatigue has been defined as “usually or always being too tired to do what you want” (Wolf et al). For people living with extreme fatigue, completing even the simplest tasks, or participating in normal day to day activities, can feel nearly impossible. People who face fatigue as a symptom of their disease can simply feel “too tired” to do the things they want or need to do in their lives.

Causes of fatigue

There are several causes of arthritis-related fatigue, which very often occur together. Belza and Dewing note several causes of arthritis-related fatigue, including: Continue reading

Yoga & Arthritis

The most recent EULAR recommendations for pain management in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) include physical activity and exercise as a part of a patient’s treatment plan. Physical activity has been shown to significantly ease joint pain and increase mobility, for this reason, exercise is increasingly being prescribed by physicians and other healthcare providers.

Some examples of well-known and effective exercises for people with arthritis include walking, biking and swimming. These are low-impact aerobic exercises, meaning they will generally be easier on the joints and cause your heart rate to increase. Are there other activities that could also benefit people living with arthritis, such as yoga?

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Unproven Stem Cell Clinics in North America

Despite the lack of scientific proof, stem cell therapy is becoming increasingly popular, with dozens of clinics open across Canada and hundreds in the United States. These clinics are offering treatment for a wide range of diseases including asthma, multiple sclerosis, crohn’s, osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. A recent study found that Canadian businesses are making strong and unproven claims about the benefits of stem cell therapy. Advertisements intentionally use scientific language which can mislead consumers into thinking they are science-based therapies. While there are credible facilities that do stem cell transplants for conditions such as cancers of the blood, there isn’t sufficient research to support the safety and efficacy for treating other diseases such as osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis. As stated by researcher Leigh Turner on CTV news, “you have a lot of companies and clinics setting up shop and there’s this pretty big gap between the marketing claims they make and the current state of stem cell research.”  A different article exploring the boom of stem cell clinics in America, found that advertisements use patient testimonial to appeal to consumers, which may just be a result of the placebo effect.

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ACR News 1 – October 21, 2018

newspaper in mail slotMore than 15,000 clinicians, researchers, academics, patient advocates and arthritis health professionals from more than 100 countries are expected to gather at the American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals 2018 Annual Meeting over the next six days in Chicago to exchange scientific and clinical information.

This year’s ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting will include 450 educational sessions. More than 700 speakers hailing from more than 20 countries will present as many as 3,000 abstracts to gain firsthand knowledge and access to new scientific and clinical findings.

Session topics will include newly proposed treatments for systemic lupus erythematosus and osteoarthritis, updated classification criteria for large vessel vasculitis and a look at current controversies regarding arthritis diseases and bone.
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How Arthritis Impacts Lives – #MyWorldWithArthritis

How Arthritis Impacts Lives – #MyWorldWithArthritis

Arthritis affects an estimated 6 million people in Canada and 54 million in the United States; it can significantly impact daily activities, work, relationships, school and the way people see themselves. With over 100 types of arthritis affecting people of all ages, the patient community is incredibly diverse and so are their experiences.

For World Arthritis Day, we asked our subscribers: “How has arthritis changed your world?”. Our aim was to bring attention to the prevalence of the disease and the different ways that it can impact the lives of individuals. In just a few days, we received 36 responses!

Thank you to everyone who generously shared their stories with us, your participation has helped spread awareness about the seriousness of arthritis and shown others living with the disease that they are not alone.

Thank you note

You can find all of the quotes we received below. To learn more about arthritis, please visit Arthritis Consumer Experts’ Disease Spotlights section.

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Arthritis Consumer Experts Awards Government of Yukon and Université de Montréal as Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis

Best Arthritis Workplaces Winner Banner

After its fourth annual search across Canada, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) today announced the winners of Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis award: the Government of Yukon and Université de Montréal.

ACE is highly supportive of Canadian employers’ efforts to develop policies to ensure high quality health benefits and flexible work arrangements for Canadian workers living with arthritis. For workers with chronic diseases such as arthritis, the challenge involves balancing the demands of managing their disease and of working ‘around’ symptoms such as daily pain, fatigue, joint dysfunction and immobility.

“Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions are the leading cause of work disability in Canada,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President, Arthritis Consumer Experts. “Managing challenges at work is an important element of disease management for employees living with arthritis. We’re calling on all plan sponsors in Canada to look carefully at their health benefit plans from the perspective of employees living with arthritis.”

Based on workplace insights shared by employees and company managers, the Government of Yukon and Université de Montréal stood out for their supportive work environments highlighted by chronic disease awareness, high quality benefits, wellness programs and prevention practices.

“Supporting all our employees to fully participate in the workplace makes for a more engaged workforce and ultimately better service to the Yukon public. That is why the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees is of paramount importance. We provide flexible working hours, a robust benefits program, and workplace accommodations to help our employees safely stay at work and maintain a healthy work-life balance,” said Ms. Pamela Muir, Public Service Commissioner, the Government of Yukon.
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Today is World Mental Health Day! Did you know that 1/3 of people with arthritis have anxiety or depression?

Positive Mental Health infographicPositive mental health is the capacity of people to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance the ability to enjoy life and deal with challenges, such as living with arthritis. Having a strong social support network can help. Continue reading below to learn the relationship between depression and arthritis and ways to help avoid and alleviate depression.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 54.4 million (22.7%) adults in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis – approximately one-third of them report having anxiety or depression, with anxiety more common than depression.

According to a recent National Health Interview Survey, in adults with arthritis, the prevalence of anxiety is 22.5% and the prevalence of depression is 12.1%. This estimates to about two-thirds higher than those living without arthritis or 10.3 million arthritis patients with symptoms of anxiety or depression – 4.9 million had anxiety only, 1.3 million had depression only, and 4.1 million had symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

The survey also found that anxiety and depression were more common for people who: Continue reading

Share your impact statement for World Arthritis Day: How has arthritis changed your world?

MyWorldWithArthritis campaign bannerShare your impact statement for World Arthritis Day: How has arthritis changed your world? #MyWorldWithArthritis

World Arthritis Day is October 12. Share your experience living with arthritis to let others know they’re not alone in their battle against arthritis.

Arthritis affects an estimated 6 million people in Canada and 54 million in the United States; it can significantly impact daily activities, work, relationships, school and the way people see themselves. With over 100 types of arthritis affecting people of all ages, the patient community is incredibly diverse and so are their experiences.

#MyWorldWithArthritis will bring attention to the prevalence of the disease and the different ways that it can impact the lives of individuals. Throughout the day on October 12, we will be sharing quotes from patients and their friends and family members on our social media platforms. Here are some examples:
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A systematic review on the accuracy of Fitbit devices

Fitbit’s are wearable devices that individuals can use to track their daily physical activity and increase motivation to do physical activity. Fitbit devices offer real time data on various aspects of daily life including number of steps taken, energy expenditure, time spent asleep, and time spent in different levels of activity. Fitbit devices are becoming increasingly popular in the health-conscious consumer public; they are also being used more frequently in research as measurement tools and to inform healthcare decisions. But are they accurate?

A team of researchers at Arthritis Research Canada and the University of British Columbia, lead by Dr. Lynne Freehan, recently conducted a study to find out how accurate Fitbit devices are as measurement tools. Currently, several devices exist that have been identified as a “research standard” for activity tracking. In this review, researchers measured Fitbit’s accuracy by comparing the readings to that of the research-grade devices.

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