All posts by Arthritis Foundation

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The First Wealth is Health

By Julie Eller, co-host of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast

In the latest episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast, Rebecca and I had the pleasure of chatting with Natalie Dattilo, PhD, a clinical health psychologist and the Director of Psychology Services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We got to ask Dr. Dattilo about the relationship between body image, self-esteem and arthritis — and ways that we can shift our perspectives of our arthritic bodies.

In my teenage years, I remember walking along the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore, where I spent many summer days soaking up the sun and ocean air. A smoothie place with chalkboard art out front to welcome folks into their store showcased a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that has always stuck out in my mind: “The first wealth is health.”

As a young person living with a chronic illness, I think a lot about this quote. How can I gain true “health wealth” if I don’t occupy a perfectly healthy body? How can I build a relationship between my mind and body that is rich with health, despite the chronic pain of my condition?

After two decades of life with arthritis, I still battle the perception that my arthritis makes me less healthy, even when it is well managed. I’ve always wanted to reclaim the idea of what it means to be healthy. So many of us who live with arthritis engage in healthy behaviors, eat well and exercise to our best ability, and yet, because of our diagnosis, we fall into a category of chronic illness that does not always feel like it fully represents our health.

In this recurring internal monologue, I find myself arguing that people living with chronic illnesses can still be healthy, can still have ideal bodies, can still accomplish that wealth that Emerson talked about so long, as we reframe our perception of the ideal healthy body. It all comes back to our understanding of our own bodies and how we perceive them; in other words, it comes down to our body image and our self-esteem.

I particularly enjoyed recording this latest podcast episode,  as we explored with Dr. Dattilo how managing chronic arthritis affects our perceptions of our bodies and the impact that can have in our lives. We also talked about ways we can reclaim a more positive body-image perception and a more confident sense of self-esteem.

I know that our conversation helped me break free of my internal monologue a bit, and really remember that even with arthritis, we can achieve the kind of wealth that Ralph Waldo Emerson celebrated: health. Tune in to the episode today!

 

 

Sharing Arthritis Patient COVID-19 Experiences

By Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L – Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast Co-Host 

It has been a really hard year. We have all dealt with increased stress and anxiety over the fear of the unknown when it comes to the pandemic and COVID-19. We have spent so much time washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks to keep from contracting and spreading COVID-19, learning a little more as we moved along the way. For those of us living with arthritis, the fear has been palpable and has surrounded every aspect of our daily lives.  Continue reading Sharing Arthritis Patient COVID-19 Experiences

The Core of Our Arthritis Community

More than 250 volunteers provide support and connections as forum moderators and support group facilitators.

Friends and family can lend a sympathetic ear and shoulder to lean on when you’re having a hard time. But there’s nothing like having someone to turn to who has faced the same kinds of challenges and really gets what you’re going through. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with chronic pain and the hardships that come with living with arthritis. Continue reading The Core of Our Arthritis Community

National Volunteer Week Spotlight:Community Leaders Bring Us Closer to a Cure

April 18 to 24 is National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges. Arthritis is a widespread and challenging disease that affects at least 54 million Americans, probably millions more. The reason the Arthritis Foundation exists is to conquer arthritis — offering solutions for today and hope for tomorrow. Volunteers lead our fight, so all week long we want to take a moment to recognize and salute all Arthritis Foundation volunteers for their generous commitment and hard work. Continue reading National Volunteer Week Spotlight:Community Leaders Bring Us Closer to a Cure

National Volunteer Week Spotlight: Community Leaders Bring Us Closer to a Cure

STEVE SMITH: Champion for JA Families

It’s National Volunteer Week, an opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges. Arthritis is a widespread and challenging disease that affects at least 54 million Americans, probably millions more. The reason the Arthritis Foundation exists is to conquer arthritis — offering solutions for today and hope for tomorrow. Volunteers lead our fight, so all week long we want to take a moment to recognize and salute all Arthritis Foundation volunteers for their generous commitment and hard work. Continue reading National Volunteer Week Spotlight: Community Leaders Bring Us Closer to a Cure

Tennis Star Caroline Wozniacki Talks About Her RA

Caroline Wozniacki tells her story, from being the number one world tennis champion to facing a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

I wanted to write this blog to tell you all a little bit about my rheumatoid arthritis journey so far. I was diagnosed in 2018 (which was a total shock to me), and I’ve learned so much about it and other chronic inflammatory diseases, such as axial spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, since then. Continue reading Tennis Star Caroline Wozniacki Talks About Her RA