Taking Your Arthritis Medicines

June 24, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

There’s an interesting report about the survey on arthritis patients in Canada. According to the new survey, most arthritis patients in Canada do not take their arthritis medications even though they are in pain and know that their medications work.

It is quite insightful because the reasons why they don’t take medication is I guess the concern of any other arthritis patient in the world.

I for one can say that I got afraid of the side effects. I haven’t had any pain medication for months now even when i was in pain months back. The good news only is that the lifestyle changes has really been beneficial.

Anyways, I’m copying here, the findings of the above survey:

  • although 70 per cent of arthritis patients find medicine alleviates their symptoms, nearly nine in 10, or 87 per cent, do not always take it.
  • 24 per cent of Canadians with arthritis suffer from frequent pain
  • Four in 10 of them say their pain is getting worse
  • 37 per cent of patients take less medication than they should because they are concerned about taking too much and 13 per cent never take medication.
  • 67 per cent of patients take their medication only when they are in pain and are therefore not using it as a preventative measure.

However, I admit that I should go back to my doctor for a follow up check-up and discuss my treatment options. I haven’t been back for some 6 months I guess — which is reply bad of me I agree. I really have to go as soon as possible.

Well anyway, Dr. Carter Thorne, a rheumatologist at South Lake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario said:

A few important things that an arthritis patient can do to best manage their disease:

  • Know what form of arthritis you have and how it is best treated.
  • Learn about any medications you have been prescribed and how to take them properly.
  • Talk to your family doctor, rheumatologist or physiotherapist and use resources such as The Arthritis Society.

Other ways for arthritis patients to manage their symptoms include:

  • Exercise, such as swimming, walking and cycling, to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion in the joints.
  • Losing weight to reduce the stress on joints.
  • Hot and cold compresses to relieve pain and inflammation.

What about you? What keeps you from taking your arthritis medicine?

March 20 (Today) is Official Turn of Spring

March 20, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

I’ve just been told by somebody from the U.S. East Coast, that today – March 20 – is the official start of Spring.

Wow. Goodbye winter! Hello Spring! For us arthritics (people with arthritis) is a start of a better season. The time when we can enjoy leisurely walks to the park or to our homes and offices.

Walks on weekends; it doesn’t really matter what time of day, be it early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The point is, with spring, we have all day of the week to stretch our legs. To say goodbye to laziness and ignore our ever dependable couches for long…

That. And your garden. And barbecues. And picnics!! Oh MY! There are just too much outdoor activities to choose from. So, why not un-fuse your butt off the couch for once?! Ha ha ha.

Aqua Aerobics, Good Exercise for Arthritis Patients

January 12, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

I have mentioned on several occasions in this blog that exercising in water is the best fitness option for people with arthritis — aqua aerobics is one such option.

According to Andrew Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer for Aquatics and Recreation Victoria (Australia):

“Actually, everyone should dive into exercising in water – it’s the coolest place to be when the weather warms up.

There are a number of benefits when you compare aqua exercise to land-based exercise. For a start, it’s safer on the joints because you’re not pounding on anything – it’s a more fluid movement.

It’s also more comfortable because your body mass is being supported, which is particularly beneficial if you’re pregnant or overweight.

Plus, if you’re doing reasonably solid exercise in water, you don’t tend to get the stiffness and soreness you typically get after a hard training session because it’s less jarring on your body.”

Exercising in water is not only perfect for arthritis patients but also for people recovering from injury, older exercisers, pregnant women, for anyone who’s new to exercise and for people who are overweight.

Excitingly, while the stiffness and soreness after working out in water are reduced (to zero), the benefits are in fact, the reverse. Working out in the water – whether it’s swimming laps, grooving in an aqua aerobics class or using a pool as an underwater gym – is a great fat burner and body toner.

For example, walking in the water burns almost twice the kilojoules of walking on land – because of the resistance of the water against your body and the wider range of motion we can achieve in a pool.

Plus, the best thing about working out in water (for all us sweathogs) is that it’s a sweat-free zone. Now where’s that swimsuit, I hear you ask!

According to this news from Australia, you can easily turn your pool into an exercise place in no time:

Here’s how to turn your pool into a gym. Equipment-wise you’ll just need a pair of swimmers, water booties (for grip on the pool floor) a ball and a noodle (yep, one of those pool toys kids use).

Always start any workout with a warm-up – for this one, do three or four laps of breaststroke, and then a few faster laps of freestyle to get your heart rate pumping and all your muscles warm and ready for action.

Then start off with the strength exercises, pausing very minimally between exercises to keep your heart rate up.

To ramp it up a notch, invest in some water dumbbells, or tie a towel around your wrists and ankles when you’re exercising – when it’s wet it works as a weight and provides extra resistance through the water.

Wow, what a great idea for activities this summer. What are we waiting for? Gear up and prepare yourself for an aqua aerobics class this summer! 😉

Arthritis Can Be Managed Through Exercise

January 5, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability. But arthritis patients tend to be less fit. Either because they become lazy to exercise or they don’t want to exert an effort (like me!) to exercise or most exercise is too rigorous for them.

Now, studies have shown that arthritis patients can safely participate in exercise programs in order to increase their fitness, strength and psychosocial status and that health providers recommend that arthritis patients participate in exercise.

A new study evaluated the effects of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, formerly called People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) to promote managing arthritis through exercise.

Although pilot studies had shown that the program led to improvements for arthritis patients, this was the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program.

Led by Leigh F. Callahan, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, the study involved 346 patients with an average age of 70 who had self-reported arthritis.

The participants were divided into an intervention group that took part in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, which consisted of exercise classes at basic and advanced levels that met twice a week for one hour for 8 weeks and a control group that was offered the program after 8 weeks.

The authors concluded that the findings indicate that the basic 8-week PACE (Arthritis Foundation Exercise) Program is a safe program for sedentary older individuals with arthritis to start exercising without exacerbating their symptoms. In fact the symptoms actually improved.

The results showed that the intervention group had significant improvements in pain, fatigue, and managing arthritis at 8 weeks and maintained improvements in pain and fatigue at 6 months.

Although the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program focuses mainly on range-of-motion and low-resistance exercises, a separate analysis found that those completing the program showed increased strength in their upper and lower extremities.

This indicates that strength training, one of the more minor components of the program, was effective. Exercise endurance did not increase, but this is not surprising given the nature of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise program.

The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program is an exercise program designed specifically for people with arthritis that uses gentle activities to help with the condition without hurting the patients’ joints.

I wonder where one can go to enroll in such exercise program? Or maybe if you have a personal trainer you can ask him/her to put you in a similar program.

Find more details from Science Daily.

Weight Loss, Osteoarthritis and Your Christmas Recipes

December 23, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Tomorrow night will be Christmas Eve and you most likely have your recipes memorized and the ingredients all bought in preparation for the food you will serve your family on Christmas.

What if there is an arthritis patient in your family? Then you have to put that into consideration when planning your meals for the holiday. Not only arthritis, but what if there is a diabetic or an hypertensive person in the family?

If that is the case then I always recommend cooking healthy foods to be on the safe side. Let not be the holidays be an excuse to forget that particular diet you were following in lieu of your condition — diabetes, hypertension, arthritis…etc.

One more thing I would like to remind you of: your weight. If you have arthritis, being overweight or obese is not going to help you. Being close to your ideal weight will surely reduce your risk for osteoarthritis. (Read more about the osteoarthritis-weight association from Johns Hopkins.)

Being overweight is a clear risk factor for developing OA. Population-based studies have consistently shown a link between overweight or obesity and knee OA. Estimating prevalence across populations is difficult since definitions for obesity and knee OA vary among investigators.

Data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES I) indicated that obese women had nearly 4 times the risk of knee OA as compared with non-obese women; for obese men, the risk was nearly 5 times greater. (ref. 6) In a study from Framingham MA, overweight individuals in their thirties who did not have knee OA were at greater risk of later developing the disease. (ref. 7)

Other investigations, which performed repeated x-rays over time also, have found that being overweight significantly increases the risk of developing knee OA. (refs. 8 and 9) It is estimated that persons in the highest quintile of body weight have up to 10 times the risk of knee OA than those in the lowest quintile. (ref. 5)

Case in point: mine. Earlier this year, I weighed a whooping 165 lbs. I am barely 5 ft. tall, so I know that is too far from my ideal weight. When my osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms attacked in mid-August, my weight made it even worse. I changed my eating habits and now I weigh 135 lbs. My OA is better, not only due to my changed diet but also because of the meds, vitamins and other therapies I am taking. The symptoms are less and I don’t suffer as much as I used to.

At 135 lbs., by BMI says I’m still a bit overweight. While I am convinced I need to shed more weight, this holiday season is an odd against that goal. Despite that, I am keeping myself from overeating. I definitely do not want to regain all those pounds I lost.

SO. If you are arthritic like me. remind yourself to eat healthier, not only this holiday season but for all times.

New Arthritis Blogger, Reporting

October 16, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Hello there, I’m Gloria and I will be your new blogger here.

By profession I am chemist and have worked on a research lab for ten years. In 2004, I discovered the blogosphere and have started to blog on a personal level. Two years later, I dumped the 8-5 research lab work and have been blogging professionally, full time since then.

In the course of my blogging career, I gave up a couple of other blogs to fully concentrate on health science (or science and health, whichever you look at it) — my discovered niche.

At the moment I have three other health blogs from a couple of other blog networks: medical, cancer and diabetes.

This arthritis blog is a great addition and I am truly honored that Hart-Empire-Network selected me for this particular blog and believed that I will be able to bring this blog to greater heights. I will truly try my best to do just that.

As has always been my motto in science blogging, not only would I want to update my target readers with the latest in their particular condition (in this case arthritis patients) but also I would like the patients to understand their condition better in order to help them discern what is best for their life with arthritis in conjunction to what their doctors are telling them.

It would always be good if you let your doctor know that you are knowledgeable in your condition so that your doctor will talk to you as straight and honest as should be.

Come and visit me regularly as I fill this blog up with valuable contents. See you later!

blogging from one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.