Caregivers play an important role throughout the inflammatory arthritis models of care. The nurse at your doctor’s office serves as a first line of contact between you and your doctor. Your partner and family members at home provide physical and emotional support – be it helping you with groceries, taking you to your doctor’s appointment, or listening to your concerns about your treatment therapies. On Caregiver Day, we want to thank you to all the caregivers who are providing care worldwide. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of patients living with arthritis!
What is an inflammatory arthritis model of care?
“Models of care are very important for chronic diseases such as inflammatory arthritis because they facilitate early efficient diagnosis and delivery of holistic health care services, help in the realignment of existing resources to optimize health system efficiencies, and identify the need for new resources. Arthritis patients require an integrated team-based approach to care that includes a number of health care providers over a period of time.”
Dr. Diane Mosher, Professor of Medicine and the Chief of the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Calgary
A recent study has shown exciting new benefits associated with exercise for people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina found that 10 weeks of high-intensity interval walk training was associated with decreased disease activity and improved immune function for adults with RA. High-intensity interval walk training refers to a popular form of exercise that includes short bursts of fast-paced walking at maximum effort followed by less intense recovery periods.
The study included twelve physically inactive adults over the age of 55, with a confirmed diagnosis of RA. Participants completed a 10-week program consisting of 3x 30-minute sessions a week of supervised treadmill walking. This Included a 5-minute warm up and 5-minute cool down. Within the training session, participants walked at 80-90% of their maximum effort in intervals of 60 to 90 seconds. These high-intensity intervals were followed by recovery intervals at 50-60% maximum effort. Speed and interval times varied for each person based on a cardiorespitory fitness test, but none exceeded walking pace.
Disease activity was assessed by a rheumatologist through a count of swollen and tender joints, perceived general health and blood tests to measure inflammation. Cardiovascular fitness and immune functions were assessed using a variety of clinical and laboratory tests, as well as standardized questionnaires. At the end of the 10 weeks, the following outcomes were observed:
RA disease activity reduced by 38%, with a significant decrease in swollen joints, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and improved self-perceived health. An ESR blood test measures the rate at which red blood cells settle in the period of one hour, revealing inflammatory activity in the body.
Improved immune functions suggesting a reduced infection risk and inflammatory potential
Cardiorespitory fitness increased by 9%
Resting blood pressure and heart rate both reduced
There is a substantial amount of research on exercise and rheumatoid arthritis, but few studies have reported the actual lowering of disease activity scores. As stated by the researchers, this study suggests that,
“High intensity interval walking could be an efficient, tolerable, and highly effective intervention to augment disease activity and improve overall health in patients with RA.”
There are certain limitations to the study such as the small sample size and no control group, but the findings will hopefully encourage more research in the area. In addition, these findings add to a growing body of research on the benefits of exercise for people with arthritis. To learn more about the study, click here.
To learn more about physical activity and arthritis visit the following pages:
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.
Researchers are recruiting individuals with and without inflammatory arthritis for a study that will explore the health benefits of everyday activities. While the main goal of this study is to explore the relationship between everyday activities and health outcomes of those with inflammatory arthritis, we are also asking people without arthritis to participate in order to determine how the relationship between everyday activities and health differs between groups. The research is conducted by a PhD trainee who is affiliated with Arthritis Research Canada and the University of British Columbia.
You are eligible if you:
Have inflammatory arthritis (with no other major health conditions) OR do not have inflammatory arthritis and are generally healthy
Are 19 years of age or older
Do not currently smoke
Participants will attend a two-hour group session in British Columbia to fill out health and activity questionnaires, and provide blood samples using a pinprick blood test (five blood spots). Participants will receive a monetary honorarium in appreciation for their time, as well as reimbursement for any parking or transit expenses.
Why do this research?
Other than physical activity, there is little evidence regarding the types of activities or occupations that support living well with inflammatory arthritis. We aim to study the health benefits of people’s everyday activities, with an emphasis on social and creative characteristics of activities, among adults with and without inflammatory arthritis.
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.
Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) releases a special edition of JointHealth™ insight for Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada: “Where is arthritis? – Everywhere.” Arthritis is everywhere and can affect patients’ jobs, financial resources, academic studies or relationships with family and friends. There are now more than 6 million people of all ages, living with more than 100 separate types of arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases in Canada. Arthritis can generally be categorized into two types: osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. This issue of JointHealth™ insight provides evidence-based information on strategies to help change, overcome or manage the challenges arthritis patients face, including:
A guide to living well with osteoarthritis including information on the disease, diagnosis and self-care
Back-to-school tips for students living with inflammatory arthritis
How to participate in our #WhereIsArthritis social media campaign
Ask for your rheumatologist’s referral to make an appointment at the clinic!
The recently opened Surrey Inflammatory Arthritis (IA) Clinic is located at the Surrey Memorial Hospital and provides services for people living with inflammatory arthritis. The clinic has therapists (occupational therapy and physical therapy) who are specifically trained to help you manage and treat the physical and mental impacts of rheumatoid arthritis.
Sarah Bryant, an occupational therapist at the Surrey IA Clinic, explains her work relationship with the clinic’s physical therapist: “We work in a transdisciplinary model, which means that we both train each other in the basics of our profession in rheumatology and that if you have something really specific to the discipline, you can see either one of us, as needed.” This transdisciplinary approach eliminates the stress associated with multiple visits to the clinic.
The services provided at the clinic are publicly funded and available for people living with inflammatory arthritis who are:
18 years of age or older
diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis within the last two years
living in the Fraser Health region
have a rheumatologist’s referral to the Surrey IA Clinic
This video provides general information about what you should expect when you visit an occupational or physical therapist at the Surrey IA Clinic. For more information about the clinic or to schedule an appointment, please call 604-585-5666 (extension 778778).
To subscribers who live outside of British Columbia:
Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is an infection that causes a painful skin rash and can lead to a variety of more complex, serious conditions. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. VZV can stay in the nerve cells of an individual long after they recover from chickenpox. The virus may lay dormant for decades, and then reactivate and cause shingles when the individual’s immune system is more weak.
Individuals over the age of 50 have an increased risk of developing shingles as well as anyone who has a compromised immune system. Many people with inflammatory arthritis have a compromised immune system due to taking medications that partially or completely suppress the immune response of an individual.
What is different about Shingrix®? Shingrix® is not a live vaccine, so individuals cannot develop shingles from the vaccine. Another shingles vaccine, called Zostavax®, is not suitable for individuals with a compromised immune system because it is a live vaccine.
The benefits of exercise in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis
ACE has frequently written about the benefits of exercise in inflammatory arthritis (IA) and osteoarthritis (OA). During a series of EULAR presentations, speakers provided evidence for regular physical activity for IA and OA patients.
Anne- Kathryn Rausch, an academic from Zurich University, spoke about how general recommendations for physical activity are effective, safe and feasible for patients with ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. Continue reading →
JointHealth™ Education: Advanced Therapies for Inflammatory Arthritis
Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) is excited to announce the launch of its newest on-line patient education course: JointHealth™ Education Advanced Therapies for Inflammatory Arthritis. This three-lesson course is designed to help patients living with inflammatory arthritis identify when is the appropriate time to transition from conventional synthetic disease modifying medications (csDMARDs) to an advanced therapy, such as a targeted synthetic DMARD or biologic DMARD, and what key questions to ask about how they are taken and how they work in the body.
“JointHealth™ Education was inspired by many of ACE’s members living with an inflammatory arthritis who have told us they lack the knowledge and communications skills to have full, satisfying conversations with their rheumatologists on topics such as treatment options during their appointments. We want to ensure patients have the tools to understand when they need to start thinking about a therapy change. Patients like me often wait too long to make treatment plan adjustments, such as moving to an advanced therapy,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts.
“Canadian rheumatologists have been actively discussing and pursuing ways to improve communication between patients and rheumatologists in order to work together to set treatment goals and establish a treatment plan to achieve the best possible disease outcomes. JointHealth™ Education Advanced Therapies is a great course not just for patients, but also for rheumatologists – junior and senior, alike. We need to see our patient’s experiences, needs and goals through their eyes and words,” said Kam Shojania, MD, FRCPC, Clinical Professor and Head, Division of Rheumatology, University of British Columbia, and Medical Director of the Mary Pack Arthritis Program.
The JointHealth™ Education program provides current, evidence-informed lessons, quizzes and coaching videos through a secure, on-line classroom where “students” can learn from the comfort of their own home or over the work day lunch hour. The program helps prepare patients to appropriately frame their health concerns and questions with their health care provider. Upon successful completion of a course the patient “Graduate” receives a certificate indicating they have the knowledge and communication tips needed to successfully prepare for their medical visit, talk to their healthcare provider about setting treatment goals and making an overall plan, discuss specific treatments to manage and monitor their type of arthritis.