Relationships Effects Rheumatoid Arthritis | Shelley Kasle | Arthritis Today Magazine | Arthritis Foundation

 

Interesting article evaluating the impact a positive relationship can have on RA. Focusing on the benefits of having a good communication network.

Relationships Effects Rheumatoid Arthritis | Shelley Kasle | Arthritis Today Magazine | Arthritis Foundation.

Advertisements

Initial Diagnosis..What You Should Know..

I came across some information from the Mayo Clinic on how to prepare for your initial doctors appointment and what to expect. Hopefully it will help prepare those of you who are in the early stages of being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I was initially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I had no clue what it meant. I was basically told it was an auto immune disease that causes my body to attack itself, primarily my joint tissue. With that information, I thought, OK, so now I understand why I am in pain. But I really didn’t understand all the other symptoms I was having and how they related to me being diagnosed with RA.  Without understanding there was a connection between certain things I was experiencing and RA, during my first few visits I only focused on discussing a few symptoms primarily focusing on pain. Why, because that is what I understood RA to about, PAIN. Now, years later after much research and discussions with my doctor, I understand a RA diagnosis is more than experiencing pain. I should have also been discussing pain management, fatigue, anxiety, appetite, exercise and various other issues. Hopefully this information will help to provide you with a more informed office visit.

Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic staff

While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for further evaluation.

What you can do
Write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms, including when they started and if anything makes them better or worse
  • Information about medical problems you’ve had in the past
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth. He or she will also check your reflexes and muscle strength.

In addition to the physical exam, your doctor might order imaging and laboratory tests to help determine the cause of your signs and symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because its early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases. And no one test or physical finding confirms the diagnosis.

Blood tests
People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate), which indicates the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Other common blood tests look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.

X-rays
Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time.

www.mayoclinic.com

Make Your Feet Say…”I’m Pretty”

Spring is quickly coming upon us,,well depending on what part of the country you live in..Because 30 degrees and snow flurries is not my idea of spring. But anyway, it is a great excuse for summer wardrobe shopping, the focus..SHOES SHOES SHOES!!

The wedges are supposed to be big this season, and I am a fan, except when you have RA you much chose closely..So while others are admiring the stilts of Christian Louboutin, we must focus on the Born, Softt and Clarks of the world. However, if you look closely, they have truly stepped their game up in the world of stylish shoes..making the wedge a possible friend to the Arthritis community. These a few of my favorites:

Ravia by Sofft: Its not a wedge, but I love this great gladiator like sandal for lunching with the girls to flirting with the man or the potential man in your life. The Walking Company

UGG Zamora Poppy Suede: I know most people associate Ugg with winter boots, however they make a very nice comfy sandal, and this flirty color is so hot.Zappos

B.O.C. by Born Clay Women’s Jamaica: This shoe just spells summer and because it is made by Born you know it will be a favorite of your feet. This is must for my summer shopping list.Famous Footwear

If you have any leads on Fabulous and Comfy Shoes, please let me know as I am always searching 😉

Also, what are some of your favorite shoe websites?

Fatigue You Can’t Hold me down..Oatmeal You are No Help..lol

March 25, 2011 2 comments

The other day I mentioned to a friend I was exhausted and was headed home early to turn in. My friend replied that I should eat Oatmeal for breakfast, as she had started eating Oatmeal and it has been giving her energy for the day, SMH!! Now, If the Quaker Oatmeal man can cure the fatigue of RA, I would have bought stock in Quaker years ago. But Oatmeal doesn’t do squat for fatigue. So I came across this article which was shared by a participant of  an online support group and decided I must share as Fatigue is one of the underline issues of RA that many people tend not to acknowledge.  However, on those days when you either just can’t get out of the bed, or you just can’t wait to get home to get in bed, you are reminded that Fatigue is part of RA. And contrary to popular belief, feeling tired and fatigue are DIFFERENT.

Mastering the Impact of Fatigue in Rheumatoid Arthritis

http://www.hss.edu/conditions_mastering-impact-fatigue-ra.asp

Hey Doc..You work for me…So join my team..

I had a chance to read an article “Five Reasons Why People Don’t Ask Their Doctors Questions” and they are the following:

  1. Fear
  2. The Doctor Knows Best
  3. Not Wanting to interrupt
  4. Not being asked by their doctor if they have any questions
  5. Patients feel rushed

Now I think these are all key reasons as to why people don’t ask their doctors questions. I have experienced all of these reasons, I was intimidated by my doctor for reason number 2 and 5.  Initially I did all the listening and didn’t ask questions, however, I would have a ton of questions later on in the day, but by then it didn’t matter because the doctor wasn’t there. Duh! I received advice to write down my questions and I followed through on that advice, except for the part of actually asking the questions (Reason#3). So again, useless…lol.

For me I had to do a paradigm shift to ensure my questions would get asked. The way I became successful at asking questions was to look at my doctor as someone who works for me and was on my team. When I changed my point of view, I didn’t care if he was in a hurry or if I thought the questions were a bit stupid. I had to remember that I am paying this person for a service, and just like the person I pay for any other service, I expect the service to be completed to my satisfaction, and the same goes for my doctor. When I began to look at my doctor as a member of my team it took the intimidation factor out of the equation and I started to ask all my questions. Now, I don’t care if he has one foot out the door, I am STILL TALKING until I am satisfied… I am paying for a service and I expect the best.. and so should YOU!

Do you have any tips you use to help ensure you get the most out of your doctor visits??

Old Man Winter Never Looked so GOOD….

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Ok, I realize I have been neglecting my fashion obligations so I am writing this post for all my sick fashionistas who want to look good even when they don’t feel good. For me there are a few key things cold weather fashions must possess for it to be worthy of spending my hard earned cash:

1. Lightweight. When you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, your body is achy and your joints are swollen making the slightest bit of weight feel like a thousand pounds. Therefore instead of the heavy, bulky items, I searched high and low for warm, thin, insulated items that didn’t make me feel like I was wearing a heavy suit of armor.

2. Fabulous and Non-Trendy. Because staying warm in the winter months are important, I selected items that I could carry over into next winter, without looking like it was last winter. In order to achieve this, I avoided items with a huge brand labeling and stuck to classics, such as belted wool coats and colors that stand the test of time such as Black, Grey and Navy.

So here a few of my favorite designers that incorporate the most important items a fabulous sick chick needs to endure the cold.

http://zapp.me/7653783

Columbia: The brand is synonyms with warmth and comfort, and this coat lives up to it’s reputation. It is perfect for the cold winter days as well as the milder days. It is very light in weight and fashionable, with a great belt to give you that slim waist line every girl loves to show off. The color is classic and the style can go with jeans or slacks and snow boats or stilettos..Great all around winter coat and it looks better in person with a beautiful scarf.

http://amzn.com/B0018P2DQA

Pajar: Now, I don’t have these exact boots, mine have fur around the top of the boot. I love, love these boots. Pajar may not be as familiar to everyone as UGG or Sorel, but it is a great quality brand. Their boots are easy to get on and off and lightweight. I have had them for a while and I get compliments on them all the time. They match with all my winter coats and my feet never get cold. My favorite thing about these boots are the comfort level, typically I have to wear orthopedic insoles but not with these boots, “These boots are made for walking”, so corny,,but so true.

Medicine Payment Assistance Options..

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

As many of you may know I am an advocate for those struggling to afford medication. Why? Because unfortunately, medications that really help you live your life as great as possible with Rheumatoid Arthritis can be very expensive. So I have been spending some much needed time researching insurance benefits coverage plan booklets. Now a new thing the insurance companies utilize are formulary tiers for medications. Of course, majority of the RA medicines such as Remincade, Celebrex and Humira are on the higher tiers, which means they have the highest out of pocket co-payments. However, I have discovered there is hope in regards to securing better pricing options. Depending on your situation , you may be able to request a “Tiering Exception”. If the medication is medically necessary and alternatives do not work or cause damaging side effects, your doctor can make a written request to lower the medication to a more affordable tier.

Now, I do not know of the success rate, but if your medication co-payments are draining your bank account, I think this is something that is definitely worth investigating.

Also, You may want to check out the following link for other options and resources for financial assistance.

www.medicareinteractive.org