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Turning Pain into Inspiration: Arthritis Memoir Earns an "A"

Turning Pain into Inspiration: Arthritis Memoir Earns an "A"

The assignment was to write a memoir on the most influential moment in your life. As simple as it sounds, for 16-year-old Kimberly Vieau, the task wasn’t that easy. “We were supposed to pick a happy memory,” said Kimberly. “But I don’t have many happy memories from my childhood.” Kimberly spoke with her English teacher at Concord Academy in Boyne City, Michigan. Together, they agreed that Kimberly would write about her personal battle with arthritis. Kimberly’s parents first noticed problems when she was a baby. She had difficulty moving and couldn’t walk or sit up until she was almost 2-years-old. In school, she ...more
Announcing the 2017 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference Theme: JA Warriors!

Announcing the 2017 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference Theme: JA Warriors!

We are JA Warriors! Every day over 300,000 children, teens, young adults and their families deal with the challenges of juvenile arthritis and related rheumatic diseases. While each situation is unique, we’re in this together. All-in. Battling whatever gets in our way and celebrating our victories, large and small. We stick together, determined to win the fight against JA. We are bold, brave and bright. And we are proud to announce the 2017 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference theme: JA Warriors! “I’m excited to see the JA Warriors theme come to life at the 2017 JA Conference. All of the kids and ...more
Combining Meds for Fibromyalgia May Offer Added Benefits

Combining Meds for Fibromyalgia May Offer Added Benefits

Treating fibromyalgia with both pregabalin (Lyrica) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) is more effective that using either drug alone, according to a new study out of Canada. Fibromyalgia is a chronic health condition characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, memory problems, sleep disturbance and mood changes. If non-drug treatments such as exercise and avoiding triggers (which can include physical and psychological stress) don’t provide enough relief, medication may be prescribed. Common choices in the United States include pregabalin, duloxetine and milnacipran (Savella). Often, doctors prescribe more than one medication at the same time, but until this study, little high-quality evidence existed to support a multi-drug ...more
Staci Penner and Graci Diggs Selected for Advocacy & Access High Honors

Staci Penner and Graci Diggs Selected for Advocacy & Access High Honors

Staci Penner and Graci Diggs have devoted their voices, stories and wholehearted advocacy efforts to helping the arthritis community live better lives. Today, we celebrate their advocacy efforts by announcing their selection for the Arthritis Foundation’s Edward M. Kennedy Advocacy Leadership Award and Emerging Leader Award, respectively. Staci Penner, Arthritis Foundation Advocate Staci has experienced the devastating effects of arthritis personally and professionally. As an occupational therapist, she knows the clinical side of the disease. As the mother of a young girl diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile arthritis and being diagnosed herself with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, she knows the personal battles ...more
Easy Meditation Options for Pain

Easy Meditation Options for Pain

Researchers agree – meditation can help with a host of health problems. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares,” says David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. His studies, as well as others, found that patients who meditated responded to stress with lower heart rates and improved immune function; and that meditation, in combination with traditional medicines, appears to help patients with chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. And in a study published in ...more
JA Conference Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted!

JA Conference Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted!

The scholarship application process for the 2017 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference is now open! Interested families and young adults (ages 18-25) are welcome to apply for a scholarship award that will assist in the cost of traveling to or attending this year’s conference in Houston, Texas or Indianapolis, Indiana. Applications must be submitted by February 26, 2017 to be considered, and all applicants will be notified by April 24, 2017. “The JA Conference is an opportunity like no other. Families are able to network with others on a similar journey. We learn so much about juvenile arthritis, including the latest treatments ...more
Risk of Heart Attack Rises After RA Diagnosis

Risk of Heart Attack Rises After RA Diagnosis

Generally, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have higher levels of inflammation in their bodies, which can affect other organs and tissues besides the joints. In fact, people with RA have up to twice the risk of heart disease and development of heart failure (especially if they test positive for rheumatoid factor, or RF) than the general population, according to a 2013 Mayo Clinic study published in the American Heart Journal. Patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis may have cardiac problems within one year, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. The study also reported that among people with RA, ...more
Change the Way You Walk to Ease Knee Pain with Osteoarthritis

Change the Way You Walk to Ease Knee Pain with Osteoarthritis

Overloaded or unevenly loaded knee joints can cause osteoarthritis (OA), or cause your OA to get worse. Learning how to walk differently may be able to correct the loading problem and reduce your knee pain. This approach is being studied in people with medial, or inner, compartment OA -- which is 10 times more common than other forms of knee OA. “The medial knee compartment bears a much higher load than the lateral compartment,” says Pete Shull, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China. “That’s just the way our bodies are structured. The ...more
Statins May Cut Death Risk in Those with Psoriatic Arthritis & Ankylosing Spondylitis

Statins May Cut Death Risk in Those with Psoriatic Arthritis & Ankylosing Spondylitis

People with ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis who take cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins seem to live longer than people who don’t take them, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. They presented their findings recently at the American College of Rheumatology’s 2016 Annual Meeting. In a previous study, Massachusetts General researchers found that people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who took statins lived longer, and they wanted to know if the drugs would offer a similar benefit to patients with other types of inflammatory arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). AS mainly affects the spine, especially ...more
Juvenile Arthritis Conference Scholarships Offer A Helping Hand

Juvenile Arthritis Conference Scholarships Offer A Helping Hand

The National Juvenile Arthritis Conference is well known for its ability to bring kids with rheumatic diseases and their families together for a weekend full of hope, inspiration and connections. The one question that gets asked the most is – “but how do we afford to get there?” For many families dealing with a constant stream of medical expenses, it may not be feasible to plan for a weekend conference that, depending on where you may live, might include extensive travel. Lisa Palm and her “warrior”, Savannah of Cold River, California attended the 2016 JA Conference in Phoenix on scholarship. Lisa ...more