difficult family members arthritis management

Home for The Holidays?

Family gatherings can be occasions to celebrate – or to dread. You look forward to seeing some relatives, but others leave you stressed.

The first step is to take care of yourself, says clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, PhD, a professor at California State University, Los Angeles.

“Protect your time and space,” she says. “Get your own room at a hotel or Airbnb [if you’re traveling]. Explain that you can’t stay up late.” When you’re rested and in control of your arthritis, you can more easily deal with annoyances and enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year.”

Continue reading Home for The Holidays?

personal health record for arthritis

Keeping A Personal Health Record for Arthritis

A personal health record (PHR) is an app or computer program you can use to maintain and manage your health information privately, securely and confidentially. Keeping a PHR can help you coordinate care among your rheumatologist, dermatologist, physical therapist, cardiologist and any other providers you see.

You can get a PHR through your doctor or employer, or find one on the internet or in the app store of your phone. If you’re not comfortable having your information out on the cloud, you can keep your data in a loose leaf binder or a journal, or store it on a flash drive.

There are two types of PHR: standalone and tethered/connected.

Continue reading Keeping A Personal Health Record for Arthritis

arthritis-friendly party foods

Fuss-Free Holiday Party Foods

By Jess Thomson

Knowing that I’m a cookbook author with culinary school cred, people look forward to eating at our home during the holidays, but it brings a certain amount of pressure. My guests expect interesting, delicious home-cooked food. What they ­often don’t realize is that, as with many people who have arthritis, the combination of December weather and holiday stress usually means my lupus symptoms flare right when I need my body to cooperate. Holding a knife can be downright painful.

So when I’m trying to fit party prep into my schedule, I make a few rules. First, I plan a menu with tasks I can do ahead, so I’m not spending more than about an hour per day in the kitchen in the days before the party. I pick dishes I can complete before friends arrive. I also buy great basic ingredients, like good extra-virgin olive oil, so the flavor comes from the food instead of from a finicky cooking process. Most important, I try to avoid movements that are harsh on my body, like chopping.

Continue reading Fuss-Free Holiday Party Foods

happy thanksgiving 2017

Community Spotlight: What Are You Grateful for This Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a time where many of us reflect upon the things in our lives that we feel most grateful for. While having arthritis can be difficult physically and emotionally, we asked our community to come up with some of the reasons they can count their blessings this year. Here are some of our favorite responses!

Continue reading Community Spotlight: What Are You Grateful for This Thanksgiving?

arthritis food versus supplements

Supplements Vs. Food for Arthritis

Good-for-you foods provide a vast spectrum of nutrients important to battling arthritis inflammation, strengthening bones, fighting disease and generally helping you feel your best. So why not load up on vitamin and mineral supplements to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients? Food trumps supplements for several important reasons:

Continue reading Supplements Vs. Food for Arthritis

arthritis medication infection risk

Infection Alert for People With Arthritis

If you have arthritis or take medications to treat it, a cough, fever or fatigue may be signs of infection. That’s because you may be more vulnerable to infections than the general population, says Dee Dee Wu, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Paramus, New Jersey. Plus, infections can become serious, so treating them promptly is important.

Continue reading Infection Alert for People With Arthritis

question answer rheumatologist

Q&A: Don’t Want Knee Surgery?

Question to the Doctor: I have bone-on-bone arthritis in both knees. I don’t want surgery. I am 70 years old and overweight, and I can’t exercise because of my knees. All I want is my life back. Can you give me some advice?

Answer: Weight loss isn’t easy, but it will reduce pressure on your joints, give you more energy and make you feel better overall. Consider exercise options like gentle swimming, water aerobics and upper body exercises that won’t put pressure on your aching knees.

Ask your doctor about nonsurgical treatments to reduce pain like cognitive behavioral therapy, joint injections and acupuncture. A referral to a physical therapist could introduce lifestyle modifications and assistive devices to reduce pain and increase function.

Also, talk with your doctor about why you don’t want surgery. Learning more about the process, risks and benefits may ease your concerns and make it a more attractive option for you.

David Pisetsky, MD, rheumatologist, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

Related Resources: