Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arthritis? You're Not Alone

Arthritis—a crippling and deteriorating disease that can affect almost any joint on the body.  For most people arthritis is a medical term, but for more than 40 million people in the United States it is a painful reality. 
Just as there are many different categories of certain diseases, such as cancer, arthritis is a general term for several different types of arthritis.  According to Arthritis Today, there are over 100 types of arthritis conditions.  The most common conditions are:  rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia.
These seven different types of arthritis are the most common types of arthritis, but what is probably not so common is a person suffering from four different types of arthritis.  This is exactly what Judy Rase deals with on a daily basis.  Judy has suffered from psoriatic arthritis between 6 and 7 years, but before that she also suffered from fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.  Today, Judy’s psoriatic arthritis is more pronounced.  With psoriasis patches located on her hands, wrists, legs, and hair, and several joints affected by this disease Judy has some good days and bad days.
 Arthritis Today describes psoriatic arthritis as an auto immune disease that inflames the bodies’ joints and causes pain, swelling, and damage.  In most cases this disease occurs in people who have psoriasis.  What causes psoriatic arthritis is that the body begins recognizing healthy tissue as foreign antibodies and sends white cells to attack the tissue that lines the joint capsule, thus resulting in swollen joints. 
With swollen joints come stiffness and pain and the need of relief.   But the source of relief is different for each patient.  For Judy, finding the medication that fit her needs was a trial and err process.  “I was put on Methotrexate, but had to come off of that because my liver count went up.  I was then put on a medication called Celebrex, but ended up not being able to use that either because of my high blood pressure.  I am now on an I.V. medication called Remicade that I take every eight weeks,” Judy said. This appears to be working well for her.
But these medications do not work for everyone, including 21 year old JP Hartline.  JP Hartline’s symptoms began when he was 11 years old.  With blood tests and doctor’s visits JP found out that he had what is called HLA-B27 which is a gene malfunction, but also acts a lot like rheumatoid arthritis and is treated like it as well.   Every three years, Hartline would have a flare up and with each flare up his medication would be changed. He was first prescribed to be on Naperson, when that did not work he was put on Embril, which worked well.  Thankfully, JP is now able to function without the assistance of any arthritis medicine, and when he does have a flare up he is able ease the pain with Tylenol arthritis.  But JP still has limitations.  He is not able to stand for long periods of times and is not able to engage in any physical activity.  “It’s hard for a person to understand because outwardly it looks like nothing is wrong and it’s hard to explain to people.    I also get weird looks because people think that arthritis is an old person’s disease,” JP said.  And this is not always the case. 
But aside from medication what else can people do, who suffer from arthritis to help ease their symptoms?  According to Helen Matthews, a nurse who works for the national institute of health, diet and exercise is a key.  In fact, Helen explains that it could even reduce inflammation.  Helen ends by saying that people without arthritis should be thankful.  “Anyone without arthritis should value their mobility, because arthritis is a crippling disease,” Matthews said. For more information about the different types of arthritis visit


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Need Support?

Arthritis can be a painful and life-altering disease.  It might be difficult at first to ask for help or support, but to deal with arthritis in a healthy way, support is not only critical it is a must.  Support can come in many different ways.  I know for me, personally, my support comes from my family.  They're love, concern, and encouragement is what gets me through my most painful days, where is hurts to even move.  However, while family is a good form of support, it is not for everyone dealing with arthritis.  For some people solace comes from interacting with people who are actually going through what they are going through as well.  Creaky Joints can assist people in finding a support group that is in their area and is of interest to them.  If you are one of the people who find comfort in interacting with people who are going through what you are going through, then visit  Creaky Joints has many creative ways for you to get the support you need.  Athritis is a difficult and painful disease to cope with, but getting the support we need makes coping easier.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creaky Joints? Then the A-Games are for You!

Let's face it, when arthritis attacks our bodies, it's difficult to move let alone be active.  That's why Creaky Joints created the A-Games.  The A-Games are a day-long event that includes swimming, aquatics, and exercize events that assist people of all ages who fight arthritis.  This Creaky Joints day event has many exciting things in store for its participants.  The day includes: classroom sessions, pool time, free food, and presentations by a physician, and a presentation by Creaky Joints health psychologist, Dr. Luarie Ferguson.  The swimming session of the day is taught by nationally ranked coaches, who are trained to work with people who have experience in swimming and those who don't. Creaky Joints want people to know that there are many reasons to attend this event.  The three main reasons are, to get active in a pain-free way, to meet people who are fighting arthritis as well, and to have fun.  This is a fun-filled day where people meet other people like them and do what Creaky Joints slogan is: "Bring Arthritis to its Knees." For more information on upcoming events with Creaky Joints, visit:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Arthritis—It’s a Tricky Thing

For the last few blog updates I have blogged about upcoming events that will help raise awareness of rheumatoid arthritis.  For this blog post I believe it is imperative that my voice be heard.  I want my followers to know that arthritis is not just a topic I am interested in, but that I suffer from it as well. Because of this, I know that arthritis is a tricky disease.
 When people think of arthritis, they think of stiffness of joints, pain and inflammation, which is true.  However, what most people don’t realize is that arthritis is just a generic term.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is a broad term for more than 100 different types of arthritis.  Another thing tricky about arthritis is that a patient can be diagnosed with a certain type of arthritis, and be treated for it and then later down the road be told by a doctor that it was incorrectly diagnosed and the patient has a different form of arthritis. 
This is exactly what happened to me.  Several years ago when I was diagnosed with arthritis, my rheumatologist told me I had rheumatoid arthritis.  But aspects of my disease didn’t follow the normal pattern of rheumatoid arthritis.  However, since no other symptoms pronounced themselves, my doctor had to assume that it was rheumatoid arthritis.  Therefore, she had to treat me for that type of illness.  A year in a half ago I developed a rash on my arm and leg.  No doctor knew what it was, and no treatment seemed to work.  I finally showed these rashes to my rheumatologist.  She believed these rashes to be psoriasis.  With testing, her diagnosis was confirmed, and it was determined, that I never had rheumatoid arthritis, I in fact had psoriatic arthritis instead.  Also the medication that I was on to treat the rheumatoid arthritis, made the psoriasis worse. Registered Nurse, Pamela Fields explains that arthritis is an autoimmune disease and these diseases are extremely difficult to diagnose.  “Doctors choose their treatments based on the information available. If one treatment doesn’t work, they try another. Prescribing medications is not an exact science. Often autoimmune diseases cannot yet be treated directly, but are treated according to symptoms associated with the condition,” Fields said.
Why the psoriasis patches didn’t pronounce itself until a year ago is a medical mystery to my rheumatologist.  However, now that we look back all the signs line up.  According to the national institute of health, psoriatic arthritis affects the skin with rashes, and inflames the ends of fingers, the ends of toes, and the back, which was exactly where my arthritis was.   For some reason the psoriasis didn’t appear until sometime later.  Dr. Tim Mynes, an urgent care doctor, explains that psoriatic arthritis is not common.  “Psoriatic arthritis has symptoms much like rheumatoid arthritis.  1% of people in the US have psoriatic arthritis, and 5-7% of people who have psoriasis have arthritis with it,” Mynes said.  Mynes went on to explain that psoriatic arthritis can sometimes be hereditary, and is usually noticeable in a person by their 20s.  Both Mynes and Fields stressed that it was important that a person get treated immediately when symptoms pronounce themselves, or a person might suffer from bone destruction.  
As I said above, the medication I was on when it was thought that I had rheumatoid arthritis actually made the psoriatic arthritis worse.  Which raised the question, what treatment would work the best?  And what made my situation worse, was I already had a suppressed immune system, and some of the most effective treatment options would put me at risk of weakening my immune system even more.  My rheumatologist decided that the best option was to put me on a medication called sulfasalazine.  It had no side effects, would help control the disease, and as my rheumatologist said, “It’s an old but goody drug.”  Pharmacist, Amy Decamp is able to give some insight on what drugs are good and most commonly used for arthritis. “The most common meds used are of course NSAIDs, MTX, and TFN-AI, and the immunosuppressants.  All have benefits and downfalls.  NSAIDs are good for inflammation, but may cause stomach issues and skin flare-ups.  MXT can decrease joint damage but can also be pretty toxic causing lung/kidney/lung issues. TFN-AIs are expensive, but are quite good at keeping the disease under control as long as you are not prone to infection.  I also read that teenagers who use these drugs may have an increased change of developing cancer.  The immunosuppressants are great for controlling disease, but again greatly increase the risk of infection and kidney/liver problems,” Decamp said.     
  In the case of professional golfer, Phil Mickleson, Enbrel is the drug for him.  Mickleson surprised the sports world when he announced in 2010 that he suffered from psoriatic arthritis.  According to golf digest, Mickleson doctor prescribed a drug called Embrel.  The golfer injects himself weekly with this medicine.  As many other’s with psoriatic arthritis, Mickleson has had great results with Embrel. Luckily, this drug has given Mickleson his quality of life back on and off the golf course.
So yes, arthritis can be tricky, take a long time to get under control, and be painful at times, but people still can have a full rich life.  I can say this because I have personally experienced this tricky thing.  With the right diagnosis, medication, and outlook on life, we can trick arthritis.   For more information on rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, or Phil Mickleson, go to, and

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cheers to the National Reumatoid Arthritis Foundation!

2011 marks the 10th birthday of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation.  The foundation has many events planned to celebrate, focusing in on the number 10 where the participant must form a group of 10 to participate in the celebration as well.  These events are fun and enjoyable while raising awareness and funds for people living with rheumatoid arthritis.  However, "Tea for 10," is perfect for anyone with an incurable sweet tooth, who also happens to enjoy tea with their dessert.  Yes, this event is sure to be a treat, that will sweeten anyone's day.  Registration for this event is now opened on the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation's website.  Once a person registers, they will receive a "Tea for 10," fund raising pack.  The pack will include: ideas of where and when to have your party and who to invite, fund raising ideas, ways your money will support the foundation, "Tea for 10," posters to hand out, invitations to give guests, and cake recipes from celebrity chefs.  Not only does a person get to throw a party with 10 of their friends, but they will also be supporting the foundation and the people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.  So now is the time to register, and say cheers to rheumatoid arthritis!  For more information or other ways you can support the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, visit   

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Auto show, Cruise-In, and Arthritis-- Oh My!

The Arthritis Foundation is set to host its 29th annual Classic Auto Show and Cruise-In on July 8, through July 9, 2011.  This now popular event began in 1982, because of the vision of two men- Bob Lincoln, president of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, and Leonard Immke, the owner of Immke Buick.  These two men wanted to organize a annual "classic" car show that would be held in Central Ohio.  Through this car show, Lincoln and Immke wanted to accompolish two things: participants would be able to display their cars and share them with the community and the event would raise funds for the Central Ohio Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.  The first auto show in 1982 was a small one day event, but it was successful. With each year after that the event became bigger and more popular.  Today, the car show includes an impressive 1,500 cars in attendance that are from 20 different states.  These cars also compete for specialty awards, which include 100 different trophies as prizes.  Not only is this a fun, enjoyable two day event, it is also for a very important cause.  The Classic Auto Show and Cruise-In assist in obtaining funds for awareness, research, and support programs that are needed in assisting the Arthritis Foundation in their cause.  To assist in achieving these funds, your attendance at the car show is crucial.  Please consider participating in this event.  For more information on the Classic Auto Show and Cruise-In visit

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Your 20's-Interesting Combo

Unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis is on the rise.  According to the Arthritis Foundation an estimated 1.3 million people in the United States suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.  Generally this disease effects women between the ages of 30 and 60.  But this disease also effects older teens and people in their 20's.  This disease is becoming more of a problem for young adults in their 20's today.  People at this age are at their prime of life and unfortunately rheumatoid arthritis can tremendously prohibit their everyday living, and thier quality of life.  Because this disease is painful and can effecct a person's quality of life, it is very important to gain a support system to assist you in living and coping with this disease.  The Arthritis Foundation is nationally renowned in supporting people with rheumatoid arthritis, and helping them gain a better understanding of it.  The Arthritis Foundation offers special events like the annual nationwide Arthritis Walk to raise awareness.  They also offer programs for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, such as, the Arthritis Foundation's Improvement Series.  These programs help people regain mobility, and reduce pain and stiffness.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is a unfortunate and painful disease, but with the proper support and understanding of the illness, a person can live a full and rich life.  For all this information, and much more visit