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Three Days Lost and 1,000 Miles to See a Doctor

Three Days Lost and 1,000 Miles to See a Doctor

It’s 500 miles door to door. Sixteen hours of driving time roundtrip, sometimes in treacherous conditions. Three days lost … at least twice every year. That’s what Mason Merager and his mom have experienced over the past decade, just so they could see a specialist trained to treat childhood arthritis. They’ve had to plan their trips to coincide with summer school breaks and end-of-year holidays. Without financial support, they would have had to sacrifice Mason’s health because of the overwhelming costs. A Thousand Miles, No Freedom of Choice Mason has needed a specialist since he was first diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age ...more
Three New Studies Show How Extra Weight Worsens Inflammatory Arthritis

Three New Studies Show How Extra Weight Worsens Inflammatory Arthritis

It’s no secret that obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing rheumatic diseases and worse outcomes. Three new studies, presented recently at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, characterize in greater detail the harmful effects of excess weight in people who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or axial spondyloarthropathy (axSpA). In brief, the three studies showed: Obesity reduces the chances of reaching RA treatment goals and is associated with greater disease-related disability. Overweight and obese patients with RA have more joint inflammation (synovitis) than normal-weight patients do. Obese patients with axial spondyloarthropathy (inflammatory arthritis that mainly ...more
#AsktheAF: Open Enrollment Edition!

#AsktheAF: Open Enrollment Edition!

During this season of open enrollment, the Arthritis Foundation is here to help you make an informed decision in selecting the best health coverage for your unique needs. Open enrollment is the time of year when individuals elect health care benefits through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, or the federal and state health exchanges created through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment periods vary based on the type of insurance you have, but generally occur in the late fall. As part of our commitment, the Arthritis Foundation hosted a webinar last month to provide a general overview of open enrollment and the ...more
Every ONE, Every DOLLAR, Can Make Healthcare Accessible to All!

Every ONE, Every DOLLAR, Can Make Healthcare Accessible to All!

On #GivingTuesday, You Can Support Our New Rheumatology Fellowship Program Imagine waking up every morning feeling so tired and sick that you can’t get out of bed. Your joints so swollen that you can’t put on socks or shoes. A waiting list for your doctor so long, it will be months before you’re able to get care. That’s the reality for millions of Americans, including hundreds of thousands of children, who face a steadily shrinking pool of rheumatologists to provide care. This severe shortage means that patients often spend months waiting for appointments, with many traveling hundreds of miles for the ...more
Andrea Avery: Composing My Life

Andrea Avery: Composing My Life

Last week at the Conference of Champions, Andrea Avery, author and Arizona-based Foundation volunteer, shared her gripping story, intertwining her love for piano and the reality of her arthritis. Beyond sharing her personal story with hundreds of volunteers in Phoenix, she also met and performed with her inspiration, Byron Janis, master and renowned pianist. See below for an excerpt from her book, Sonata: A Memoir of Pain and the Piano. Composing My Life Andrea Avery’s talent as a pianist appeared when she was a child. So did her arthritis. Her inspiring new memoir tells her story. By Andrea Avery The first twelve years of ...more
Research Identifies Which RA Patients May Successfully Reduce Their Biologics

Research Identifies Which RA Patients May Successfully Reduce Their Biologics

A new study presented recently at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology identifies four factors that may predict which rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients might successfully taper the dose of their biologic medication. Although biologics are highly effective in controlling RA and its symptoms, patients in some cases prefer not to use them. Past studies have shown that it is possible to taper and even stop the medication in certain patients who are in remission once they have been successfully treated with one of these drugs. Reducing the dose of biologics is attractive for several reasons. These drugs are ...more
Ambassador Spotlight – Lori Fagan, Virginia

Ambassador Spotlight – Lori Fagan, Virginia

From Lori Fagan I have been living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for over a decade. As a full-time working mom and wife living with a chronic condition, the last thing I need is the added strain of fighting with my health insurer. Unfortunately, because of a common health insurance practice known as “step therapy,” the last 10 years have been a constant and stressful battle. Step therapy, sometimes known as “fail first,” is when an insurer requires you to try and fail on one or more therapies preferred by the insurer before the patient is allowed to have the medication the physician deems ...more
Type 2 Diabetes Risk May Be Higher With RA

Type 2 Diabetes Risk May Be Higher With RA

People who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are known to be more likely to develop other serious health problems, including heart disease, lung disease and some types of cancer. Now a recent study in the online journal PLOS One appears to indicate they also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lead study author Piero Ruscitti, MD, of the University of L’Aquila in Italy, writes that he and his colleagues undertook the study to show that type 2 diabetes is common but often overlooked in RA patients. For the study, the researchers followed 439 people with newly-diagnosed RA for one year, evaluating ...more
Arthritis Foundation Plays a Role in CMS Biosimilars Policy Reversal  

Arthritis Foundation Plays a Role in CMS Biosimilars Policy Reversal  

On Thursday, November 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they would reverse a policy determining how providers are paid for administering biosimilar drugs under Medicare Part B. A biosimilar is a type of medication that is “similar” to a biologic reference product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); biosimilars offer patients the promise of more affordable treatment options available on the market to address their disease. Over the past twenty-four months, the Arthritis Foundation and other patient organizations have expressed our collective concerns with CMS’s biosimilars reimbursement policy and encouraged them to reverse it. This ...more
When A Back or Neck Ache Means You Have OA

When A Back or Neck Ache Means You Have OA

Maybe you overdid it cleaning the house or sprucing up your garden this weekend. Or you’re using a hot or cold pack on your lower back more often over the past few months. Does the pain come and go or seem to be getting worse? Then, it might be time ask your doctor if you have osteoarthritis (OA) in your spine (that runs from the neck to the lower back). As you age, the cartilage lining the joints of your spine wears down, allowing the bones to rub together, causing back pain and stiffness. Other causes of spinal OA include injury, ...more