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In a fog with your arthritis

By Julie EllerCo-host of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast 

 Inflammation can wreak havoc on your body and mind. While we think of arthritis mostly affecting our joints, inflammatory arthritis can entail many other symptoms. I have been living with my arthritis for nearly two decades, and right now, my arthritis pain is under control. But one symptom of my disease is everpresent in my life, and frankly, it is the symptom that I find most frustrating: brain fog.    Continue reading In a fog with your arthritis

Connect Group

New: Virtual Veterans Live Yes! Connect Group

“If I can make one person feel better about themselves, I will consider this group a success.” —Steve Smith, Arthritis Foundation volunteer

Arthritis affects 1 in 3 veterans and military service members in the United States. If you’re among them, you can connect with other veterans with arthritis in a newly formed virtual support group. Veterans from across the country were invited to a virtual meet and greet on  April 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Continue reading New: Virtual Veterans Live Yes! Connect Group

March 2021 Arthritis News Roundup

March has been a busy month for arthritis-related news and COVID updates that affect people with arthritis. Here’s a wrap-up of the headlines from this past month.

ACR Updates COVID Vaccine Clinical Guidance
Updated COVID vaccine guidelines for patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases were recently released by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). These new guidelines address best practices for both adult and pediatric patients.

Updated ACR Adult Guidelines
Updated ACR Pediatric Guidelines

Safety of mRNA Vaccines in Patients With Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases
Johns Hopkins University, with support from the Arthritis Foundation, has released initial findings on a new study about vaccine safety in patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases on immunomodulatory therapy. The study represents the first available data on the safety and reactogenicity of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in this dedicated population. Learn more about the findings from this study.

Find out more about COVID and rheumatic disease by viewing our Coronavirus & Arthritis webinar.

What Does the CDC’s New Guidance for People Who Have Been Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Mean?
The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an interim set of recommendations for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This guidance addresses private household settings and does not apply to public gatherings or in the workplace. Learn more about guidelines for the fully vaccinated.

Messenger RNA Vaccines May Reduce Infection from Asymptomatic COVID-19 Carriers
Ten days after receiving a second dose of a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine for COVID-19, patients without COVID symptoms are far less likely to test positive and unknowingly spread the virus, compared to patients who have not been vaccinated, according to new research. Read more.

Are Rheumatic Patients at Higher Risk of COVID Death?
Analysis of data from an international registry found some patients with rheumatic diseases who developed COVID-19 were at an increased likelihood of death. Risk factors were similar to those seen in the general population, but additional factors were specific to the patient’s underlying disease and treatment. Learn more about COVID and rheumatic patients.

NIH Launches New Research on COVID-19 in Children
The CARING for Children with COVID program will study why some children face greater risks for contracting COVID-19, why symptoms vary among children and how to identify children who have higher risks for the life-threatening multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. Read more about COVID in children.

Permanent Disability Claims for RA May Rise in Years Following COVID-19 Crisis
The economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a rise in permanent disability claims for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is based on a recent study that found rates of disability benefit enrollment spiked during periods of economic recessions. Learn more about this study.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Meds May Help Fight Severe COVID-19
In a recent study, arthritis drugs tocilizumab (Actemra) and sarilumab (Kevzara) were shown to reduce death among critically ill COVID-19 patients. The drugs are immune modulators called IL-6 receptor antagonists and have also shortened patients’ hospital stays significantly. Read more.

Get the latest updates on how COVID impacts people with arthritis.

PsA Patients Fare Better on Taltz
An international randomized trial found that significantly more psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients relapsed, and more quickly, after withdrawal from ixekizumab (Taltz). Patients who achieved minimal disease activity on the medication and continued the drug fared better than patients who withdrew from treatment. Read more about the study.

Depression Could Interfere With PsA Improvement
The presence of depression or anxiety among patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) was associated with a diminished likelihood of achieving a state of minimal disease activity, regardless of the method used to diagnose depression or anxiety, researchers reported. Find out more about this study.

Learn when to seek treatment and about the care options available when you are experiencing anxiety or depression with your arthritis.

NSAIDs May Accelerate Knee OA
A recent study found that consistent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may accelerate osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee. Researchers looked at data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative and found that knee OA patients who used NSAIDs had more indications of OA progression than did knee OA patients who were taking other kinds of drugs. Read more about the link between knee OA and NSAIDs.

Opioid-Related Costs Estimated at $14 Billion for Knee OA
The total lifetime opioid-related costs generated by symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in the United States are $14 billion. The study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, suggests lost productivity, diversion and criminal justice costs account for half of the staggering price tag. Learn more.

Digital Treatment of Knee OA May Improve Pain, Function vs Self-Managed Care
Digital treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA) may improve pain and function compared with routine self-managed usual care. Read more about this new study.

Understanding the benefits as well as the side effects of arthritis treatments is important. Learn how to choose the right medication.

Liver Disease Risk Differs Between Patients Using Methotrexate
A large population-based study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology says patients taking methotrexate for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) were at a higher risk of developing liver disease than were patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on methotrexate. Learn more about this study.

New Way to Halt Excessive Inflammation
Researchers have discovered a new way to halt excessive inflammation. Scientists were able to achieve this by regulating a type of white blood cell that is critical for our immune system. Learn more about this research.

On Hand Function Declines in RA and PsA
Hand function in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) declined similarly over time, according to a recent study. Surprisingly, people with psoriasis lost comparable levels of function. View the study results.

Aerobic Exercise in Chronic Low Back Pain May Provide Similar Relief to Low-Dose Morphine
Engaging in regular aerobic exercise may provide limited, direct effects on morphine analgesic responses. According to research results published in Pain, exercise training can provide pain relief similar to that observed with a low dose of intravenous morphine. Read more about the link between exercise and pain relief.

Learn how to exercise with arthritis. Get help finding your preferred joint-friendly exercise so you can get moving, relieve pain and make your joints more flexible.

FDA Expands Simponi Aria Labeling to Include Fatigue in RA, PsA
The FDA has approved a label update for Janssen’s golimumab (Simponi Aria) to include language that treatment alongside methotrexate improves fatigue in patients with active psoriatic arthritis and moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. This will be the first TNF inhibitor approved to include fatigue improvement in its labeling. Read more about the new labeling.



Mindful Eating & Weight Loss

By Rebecca Gillett, Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast Co-host

We have talked a lot on the podcast about what’s healthy to eat or not to eat when you have arthritis. But let’s get to a topic that all of us with arthritis have heard about at some point and have reacted with a hearty, exhausted sigh. “Losing weight can help alleviate your joint pain.” I know, I know. Easier said than done. Guilty as charged for being someone who admittedly loves to eat delicious things and have an occasional glass of fine, red wine. Now throw in a pandemic and being stuck in my house with not much to do and what do you get? Well, the additional COVID-19 pounds that I did not ask for. Maybe it’s not actually 19 extra pounds but it sure feels like it. Continue reading Mindful Eating & Weight Loss

Taking Control of My Arthritis Through Advocacy

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

On my very first day at the Arthritis Foundation, my new team told me they leave the office every day knowing the work they do genuinely changes lives. I joined the Foundation fresh out of my undergraduate education as an intern on the advocacy team in Washington, DC. At the time, I thought I would spend 10 weeks deepening my understanding of public health and policy at an organization that was near and dear to my heart. Little did I know that my experience advocating for arthritis that summer would transform how I felt about my disease and change the trajectory of my career. In the latest episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast, Rebecca and I talk with Anna Hyde, vice president of advocacy and access at the Arthritis Foundation, about the transformative power of sharing our stories and breaking down barriers to care. Continue reading Taking Control of My Arthritis Through Advocacy

February 2021 Arthritis News Roundup

The Arthritis Foundation is your trusted source for information. Here’s a wrap-up of the arthritis-related headlines from this past month.

CDC Urges Double Masking
Federal health officials suggested wearing two masks to better protect Americans against the threat of more contagious variants of the coronavirus. Wearing a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask or improving the fit of a single surgical mask could help. Read more masking tips.

COVID-19 May Prompt Body to Attack Itself
An international team of researchers has said it appears COVID-19 causes the body to make weapons to attack its own tissues. The finding could unlock a number of clinical mysteries. Learn more about this study.

COVID Hurricane Approaches
The nation’s top infectious disease experts said the United States is facing a “Category 5” storm as coronavirus variants begin to spread across the country. Learn more about COVID-19 variants.

Tough Pain Relief Choices in the COVID-19 Pandemic
More people with fever and body aches are turning to NSAIDs to ease symptoms, but the drugs have come under new scrutiny as investigators work to determine whether they are a safe way to relieve the pain of COVID-19 vaccination or symptoms of the disease. Read what experts recommend for pain relief.

Vaccine Shows Promise; Pharmacies Begin Receiving Shipments
The AstraZeneca vaccine seems to perform better when the dosing interval is longer — and might lower the risk for asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 transmission — according to phase 3 trial data. In other vaccine news, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination will begin sending a total of 1 million doses to roughly 6500 locations. After that, the program will expand, aiming to reach over 40,000 locations across the United States. Learn more by clicking the links below.

AstraZeneca news release
AstraZeneca preprint on The Lancet (not peer-reviewed)
White House announcement on pharmacy shipments
CNN story on pharmacy shipments
New York Times story on variants
CDC’s SARS-CoV-2 variant map
NEJM COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center

Post-Vax Antibodies and Infections
A new study suggests that people who have had COVID-19 and then receive the vaccine mount higher antibody responses after one dose than COVID-19-naive people mount after two doses. In addition, infections after vaccination were studied in some 4,100 health care workers who received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Read more about what was found in the study.

The Arthritis Foundation Offers Vaccine Guidance
The Arthritis Foundation and medical experts are encouraging people living with arthritis to follow the recommendations of Dr. Anthony Fauci and get the vaccine when it’s available in their state. Read more about the Arthritis Foundation’s position on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

Will J&J’s COVID Vaccine Measure Up?
Johnson & Johnson published updated early data on its Covid-19 vaccine, showing it provided participants in a clinical trial with at least some immunity after one dose. The data offer only hints to a tantalizing question: Could the vaccine, given as a single shot, perform as well as the vaccines that U.S. regulators have already authorized, which are given as two? Learn more.

New Lupus Nephritis Drugs Approved by FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it has approved Lupkynis (voclosporin) for treatment of active lupus nephritis among adult patients, in combination with a background immunosuppressive therapy regimen. Lupkynis is the first oral therapy approved for lupus nephritis, one of the most serious and common complications of systemic lupus erythematosus. Learn more.

Can a Stepwise Program Lessen Knee OA Pain?
A new study shows that knee pain caused by osteoarthritis can be reduced by physical therapy and exercise. Read more about the study’s findings.

Stair Climbing and Mortality
Regular stair climbing has the potential to lower the risk of premature death. A new study examined whether daily stair climbing is associated with lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality. Read more about the study.

Safety Warning for Xeljanz
Drug manufacturer Pfizer recently announced that patients, age 50 years and older with at least one cardiovascular risk factor who used Xeljanz, had a greater risk of cancer and cardiovascular events than those on tumor necrosis factor therapy. The cancer and cardiovascular warnings had been noted in earlier clinical trials, and the drug label currently includes cautions about increased mortality, blood clots (thrombosis), lymphoma and other cancers. See the announcement.

Tailored Treatments for Early Arthritis May Be Needed
Researchers say patients with early, undifferentiated arthritis may benefit from milder or stronger treatments, depending on the number of their risk factors for developing rheumatoid arthritis. More research is needed before clinicians could consider treating some of these patients with hydroxychloroquine, steroids or NSAIDs, rather than methotrexate. Learn more.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Reduces Risk in Severe COVID-19 Patients
Tocilizumab, an intravenous anti-inflammatory drug used for rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to reduce the risk of death for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, as well as reducing the risk of ventilation and the amount of time until discharged from the hospital. Read more about this study.