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Fall Means Flu Shot Season Is Here

Fall Means Flu Shot Season Is Here

Shorter days and cooler nights mean cold and flu season is coming, so it’s time to get your flu shot – especially if you have an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or lupus. Need a good reason to get your flu vaccine this fall? Here are THREE: Arthritis Ups Your Risk Autoimmune types of inflammatory arthritis affect the immune system, which may make you more likely to get the flu or become sicker with it than people without arthritis, says Eric Matteson, MD, chair of rheumatology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Some Meds Raise Your Risk Certain arthritis medications, including disease-modifying ...more
The Link Between Gout and Atrial Fibrillation

The Link Between Gout and Atrial Fibrillation

What does a disease that inflames your joints have to do with an erratic heart rhythm? Quite a lot, it turns out. Researchers have discovered that people with gout are at increased risk for atrial fibrillation (AFib). One recent study analyzed a sample of Medicare claims data from more than 1.6 million people ages 65 and older. Those with gout were up to 90 percent more likely to be diagnosed with AFib than those without gout. The risk was particularly high among elderly adults. The potential link between the two conditions underscores the need for gout patients to pay attention to their ...more
5 Ways to Take the Sting Out of Self-Injections

5 Ways to Take the Sting Out of Self-Injections

The anxiety and pain of the injections shouldn’t prevent you from managing your arthritis and protecting your quality of life. Use these tips to ease the pain and stress of self-injections. Try to Relax If you are nervous about administering your injection, your muscles will tense up and increase the pain. Try to distract yourself by talking to someone while injecting or listening to soothing music. Sitting rather than standing can also help to relax your muscles. Numb Your Skin Apply an ice pack to the injection site about 15 minutes before you plan to administer your medication. Numbing the skin will temporarily reduce ...more
6 Reasons Why JBR is the Perfect Fun Run for Families

6 Reasons Why JBR is the Perfect Fun Run for Families

If you’re a runner AND a parent, we’ve got the ideal opportunity for you to let off some steam, keep the kids entertained and do good for a great cause – Jingle Bell Run! Here are six reasons why it’s the perfect run for you and the kids. Costumes and Kids Zones Costumes are always a major attraction at Jingle Bell Run. Whether you’re bedecked in bells or Elven attire, the whole family is welcome to race in costume! At the race there’s always plenty of hot chocolate, entertaining guests (Santa, elves, carolers, you name it), costume contests and a kids’ zone ...more
Interval Training: A HIIT for RA?

Interval Training: A HIIT for RA?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) tops the American College of Sports Medicine’s list of most popular workouts. According to a small study published in Arthritis Research & Therapy, it might be just the ticket for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), too. HIIT is an aerobic, heart-pumping form of exercise where short bursts of maximum effort, usually lasting from 20 to 60 seconds, alternate with less intense recovery periods. Studies suggest that HIIT is as effective at burning calories and improving heart and lung health as steady-state exercises like running or biking. One 2018 meta-analysis found that HIIT was significantly better than moderately intense steady ...more
PARTNERS Pediatric Learning Health System: New JIA Project Focuses on Improving Outcomes for Children

PARTNERS Pediatric Learning Health System: New JIA Project Focuses on Improving Outcomes for Children

The Patients, Advocates, and Rheumatology Teams Network for Research and Service (PARTNERS) consortium was selected to receive a 2-year grant to implement a Pediatric rheumatology Learning Health System (LHS) that will work with networks in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) PCORnet Learning Healthcare System Collaborative. The PARTNERS Pediatric LHS will provide support for patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and their families to actively engage in care and self-management activities. JIA is a rare disease, making it difficult to study. Currently there is no cure for JIA. Recent advances in drug development have resulted in many therapies, including biologics. However, ...more
"Do I Need a Will?"

"Do I Need a Will?"

 It’s a common question: “Do I need a will?” The simple answer is: Yes. Without a properly drawn will, the state in which you reside determines how your assets are distributed, including who will take care of your minor children. The only way for your wishes to be carried out after you are gone is through a properly executed will that is recognized as valid in your state. You may be aware of the report that recently deceased “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, didn’t leave a valid will. This means the state of Michigan’s testate laws will determine how her $80 ...more
Gardening Hacks

Gardening Hacks

Love fall gardening, but find it painful with arthritis? Try these hacks to avoid straining joints. If You Can’t Crouch Down Hack: Go vertical. Wall gardens are easy to tend while you’re standing or sitting up. Buy one ready-made or make your own by hanging plastic pots on a wall. “Keep the plants between waist and shoulder height,” says Julia Henderson-Kalb, an occupational therapist at Saint Louis University in Missouri.  If Gripping is Painful Hack: Get tools with a soft, wide grip, or wrap handles with foam pipe insulation for extra padding. If Pots are Too Heavy to Lift Hack: Choose containers made of lightweight foam ...more
TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series - Association Health Plans

TAKE CARE: Advocacy Blog Series - Association Health Plans

We are continuing our advocacy blog series meant to help you take care when it comes to important arthritis health care and coverage issues. If you’re just now tuning into this series, check out our previous advocacy blog posts here. In August, we kicked off a focus on health insurance benefits as we approach open enrollment this fall. This week, we take a closer look at association health plans. What are association health plans? As the term indicates, association health plans (AHPs) are a specific type of health plan that an employer group or an association can offer to their employees. A ...more
Nutrients in Tart Cherries Can Help Fight Arthritis Pain

Nutrients in Tart Cherries Can Help Fight Arthritis Pain

Though living with arthritis is the pits, life can be better with a bowl of cherries. Specifically, tart cherries, which are different from sweet cherries and not usually eaten in their fresh state. They are popular in juices, smoothies, baking and recipe creation, including cherry pies, cherry desserts and other cherry-based concoctions. Several studies have linked the consumption of tart cherries to decreased inflammation and inflammatory-related conditions like arthritis. Powerful Benefits Scientists suspect it’s the flavonoid, anthocyanin, along with other phytonutrients, that gives tart cherries their powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Research has found that the fruit may relieve joint pain in ...more