Osteoarthritis: Facts Vs. Myths
Myth: Osteoarthritis is just a part of growing old.
Fact: Yes, osteoarthritis commonly affects people who are middle aged or older. But no, a person does not have to be an older adult to have osteoarthritis. Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) sets the record straight: osteoarthritis affects almost 14% of adults over age 25 and almost 34% of people 65 and older. Osteoarthritis occurs in people of a wide age range but is not inevitable as we age. The joints most often affected are hips, knees, small joints of the fingers, base of the thumb and the big toe, back, neck, shoulders, or jaw.
Click here for additional information on who gets arthritis.
Myth: Osteoarthritis (OA) is just aches and pains.
Fact: There is much more to osteoarthritis than aches and pains. Bruce Hoffman, MD, Rheumatologist in Philadelphia, PA helps us understand OA: “Osteoarthritis is a disease and a condition of the joint where cartilage is lost. Cartilage usually provides for nearly frictionless motion in the joint. As the cartilage deteriorates there is pain from the bone underneath. In addition, there is a change in the structure of the joint due to the growth of bone spurs. The pain tends to progress over time from mild discomfort to pain that can greatly limit function. Right now, there is no cure for OA and no prevention, but there are treatments.”
Click here for additional information on what is osteoarthritis.
Myth: There is nothing that can be done about OA,
you just need to learn to live with it.
Fact: Medical and surgical treatments are available for osteoarthritis, as Dr. Hoffman explains: “There are treatments which can alleviate pain and improve function. These include medications, injections, and measures such as physical therapy, exercise, and the use of canes and braces. At the point when symptoms become debilitating, surgery may be the best approach. Treating osteoarthritis requires consideration of the whole person and collaboration between the person with arthritis, their physician, and other health care providers.”
Myth: Exercise only makes osteoarthritis worse.
Fact: Moving is the best medicine for osteoarthritis. Here are benefits of exercise: reduced pain, increased stamina, better balance, and improved self confidence. And yes – exercise is fun and adds enjoyment to life. That is why the Arthritis Foundation sponsors exercise programs in local communities. Phyllis Abramson, who teaches the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) at the Atria Shaker in Albany, NY, explains how people in her class are helped: “Participants in theArthritis Foundation Exercise Program are able to learn exercises for their specific areas of discomfort that they can do on their own whenever they have a flare up. It's a practical and portable program." The key is to find an exercise program that is right for you. Contact your local Arthritis Foundation office for exercise programs in your neighborhood.
Click here for information on why moving is the best medicine.
Web cast available:
The topic is Today’s Options for Osteoarthritis Management and you can view this web cast right now. Simply click here to get started. Presented as the Charles L. Christian Symposium at the Hospital for Special Surgery, the topics include Non-Surgical Options for Osteoarthritis; Pain Management: How to Take the Ache Out of Arthritis; Exercise and Physical Activity; and Nutrition and Arthritis. Remember – when you have osteoarthritis, combine quality medical care with self-management techniques to reduce pain, manage stress, and improve quality of life.
Can You Recognize Yourself?
Who are the faces-of-arthritis? Could one of them be you? Click here to see to see some of the 50 million individuals, children and adults, male and female, who have arthritis. They are pictures worth seeing.
Evenings on the Town
Meet and greet other young adults (ages 18 to 35) who have arthritis by joining Young Adult Connect. This network meets periodically at social gatherings on-the-town. Most recently, the group met at Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in Manhattan. The evenings are social, fun, casual, and free and provide the opportunity to connect with others your age who are affected by arthritis. Click here to send an email to join up with Young Adult Connect.
CDC Grants Awarded to NY & PA
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a United States federal agency and one of the nation’s leading health organizations. Its mission is to help protect public health and safety. It also promotes health through partnerships with state health departments. This year, two state health departments in our Region – New York and Pennsylvania – have been awarded grants of over $400,000 each to provide self-management programs, including the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease, for people who have arthritis. Under this grant, each state’s goal is to reach 50,000 people. The Arthritis Foundation is partnering with both Departments of Health to encourage participation in these programs. As detailed information becomes available, we will let you know. Click here for the arthritis page for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and click here for New York State’s arthritis page.
It did not take long for Mary Wu to get involved. In April 2012 she attended her first National Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. On May 16, she spoke at a Capitol Hill briefing on the importance of exercise for people who have arthritis. Mary, who says, “I was honored, surprised, and flattered that I was even considered for this opportunity to fight the good fight,” told her own story of having advanced osteoarthritis and avascular necrosis in her left hip. She emphasized how water exercise and walking are key to managing her pain.
Join Mary as anAdvocacy Ambassador. Click here for information on how to become an Ambassador. Being an Ambassador is…empowering for you and the Arthritis Foundation, is a way to stay informed, and can help influence public policies to benefit all who have arthritis.
To contact Mary Wu, email her at NortheastReporter@arthritis.org. She is waiting to hear from you.
Increased Walking is Afoot in the Country
Walking is catching on.
The Centers for Disease Control report that more than 145 million adults now include walking as a physical activity. That is an increase of 6% in just five years. Click here to read an Arthritis Today article on how people are walking more and feeling better for it.
You too can walk for your own well-being and enjoyment:
Check out the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease. This self-guided walking program reduces pain, increases strength, even improves self-confidence. How do we know? It has been tested with people just like you. The Walk With Ease guidebook supports you every step of the way. Click here to purchase your copy and to get going right away.
Click on Track + React, a free online system on the Arthritis Today web site that shows you the connections between what you do and how you feel. Track + React is private, just yours to use to help you see what causes your pain to go up or down or what affects your fatigue and energy level. Click here for Track + React.
Research grants totaling $1,480,000 have been awarded to ten researchers in New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania by the Arthritis Foundation.
The areas of study cover many types of arthritis. Researchers are investigating disease processes in psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and gout. One researcher's focus is the biological effects of exercise on slowing cartilage loss in osteoarthritis. Two physicians are concentrating on juvenile arthritis, studying the implementation of standardized treatment plans for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and the effectiveness of various treatments for juvenile scleroderma.
“The work of these researchers is fascinating,” said Suzanne Bliss, President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation’s Northeast Region. “This is how breakthroughs occur – by ongoing research on the many aspects of the various diseases known as arthritis. The list of topics alone tells us how complicated autoimmune and degenerative arthritis is.”
Significant commitment. Public service. Two outstanding volunteers in our Northeast Region, Erin O’Rourke and Brianna Bollettieri, will receive National Advocacy Awards for having demonstrated significant commitment to engaging in local advocacy and public service.
Congratulations to Erin O’Rourke, pictured here meeting with Oliver Longwell, Communication Director for Congressman Tim Bishop. Erin is the recipient of the Edward M. Kennedy Advocacy Leadership Award. The award is granted in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments as an Advocacy Ambassador and all-around volunteer. Jennifer Regan Haight, Executive Director of the Long Island Chapter knows Erin well: “Erin represents everything about us in the Arthritis Foundation – advocacy, outreach, quality of life. She is deserving of this recognition and accolade not only for her good deeds but for the spirit in which they are performed”
Congratulations to Brianna Bollettieri pictured here displaying her beautiful smile. Brianna, a Youth Ambassador, is the recipient of the Emerging Leader in Advocacy Award, recognizing her achievements in building awareness of arthritis in teens and young adults and utilizing advocacy techniques in the health care setting. Brianna’s own words express knowledge she acquired at a young age: “I believe there is a time and place for everything, and now I believe it is time for me to share my experiences and hopefully make a difference in other people’s lives. I want to send the message that arthritis is a disease that is painful and difficult but it can be overcome.”
Michele Greco, Regional Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Northeast Region, invites all to become involved in the advocacy program: “Advocacy is an exciting, challenging, and stimulating volunteer experience. Plus, because of the opportunities to learn new skills and meet new people, it is enjoyable. You can join as an E-advocate or, if you wish a little deeper involvement, an Ambassador. The young person in your life can serve as a Youth Ambassador.”
Contact us at NortheastReporter@arthritis.org or click here to begin your advocacy adventure.
Arthritis is a family disease, especially when it affects a child. Because of this, Arthritis Foundation services are planned with the whole family in mind. For example, the Baxter family, pictured at left, attended the New Jersey Family Day just a few weeks ago, because Natalie (lower right) has juvenile arthritis (JA). There were workshops for Scott and Leala Baxter, Natalie’s parents, and activities for her big brother Ryan. Natalie got to play and talk with children who have arthritis, too.
If you have a child with juvenile arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation can help. Scroll down for information on Parent2Parent, an upcoming Parent Roundtable Program, and the National JA conference.
Remember – you are not alone!
Parent2Parent is ready to aid you in:
Discussing parenting a child with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases
Learning self-management skills and teaching those skills to your child
Reducing your stress by talking-it-out with someone who “has been there.”
Contacting a parent mentor by email at P2P@arthritis.org or by phone at 1 (855) 552-4878 .
Thanks are expressed to Bristol-Meyers Squibb and the Odd Fellows of New Jersey for their support of the Parent to Parent Network.
Parent Roundtable Being Held
You are invited to attend a Parent Roundtable on Juvenile Arthritis on Wednesday, December 5, 6 to 8pm in Lake Success, NY at the Department of Rheumatology of Cohen Children’s Medical Center, 1991 Marcus Avenue, Suite M-100. The Roundtable is free of charge and light supper is provided.
The evening provides:
An opportunity for parents to talk with one another, with medical professionals, and with a young adult who had juvenile arthritis as a child and teen.
Featured is a presentation and Q&A on Juvenile Arthritis by Beth Gottlieb, MD, Chief, Pediatric Rheumatology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. To register, please call (516) 472-3711. The Parent Roundtable is presented by the Arthritis Foundation, Northeast Region, Long Island; Cohen Children’s Medical Center, and the Parent2Parent Network of the Arthritis Foundation Northeast Region.
Anaheim, California, home of Disneyland, is the location for the 2013 National JA Conference. Save the dates of July 18 through 21 for this annual inspirational, educational, and festive event. It is not to be missed!
We are where you need us to be, which is in your community. The Arthritis Foundation works in partnership with hospitals, businesses, and local organizations to bring helpful and engaging programs to you. Read on! Click here to find out what is going on in Eastern Pennsylvania, Long Island, New Jersey, New York, Northeastern New York, and Upstate New York.
111 S. Independence Mall East
Suite 500 - Bourse Building
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Health Summits are specially designed for you:
A Health Summit is…a learning experience, a meet-and-greet opportunity, an occasion that will benefit your health. And Health Summits are coming to Eastern Pennsylvania.
Here is the Health Summit schedule:
November 17, at the Allentown JCC in Lehigh County
December 1, at the Upper Dublin Township Building in Montgomery County
For further information and to register contact Danielle Stephens at (215) 574-3060 extension 112 or email@example.com.
Don’t forget that you are invited to…
Connect on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AFEPA.
501 Walt Whitman Road
Melville, NY 11747
Parent Roundtable to Meet: If you are a parent with a child with arthritis or other rheumatic disease, you are invited to our Parent Roundtable on Wednesday, December 5 from 6 to 8pm. The program is informal, with a brief talk on arthritis and children by Beth Gottlieb, MD, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at Cohen Children's Medical Center, and plenty of time for parents to meet and chat with each other. Health professionals and Arthritis Foundation volunteers will attend to serve as resources for you. A light supper will be served. The evening is free of charge. The Parent Roundtable will be held at Dr. Gottlieb's office, 1991 Marcus Avenue, Suite M100, Lake Success. Contact the Long Island Chapter at (631) 427-8272 or email Nancy Simington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
555 Route 1 South, Suite 320
Iselin, NJ 08830
Arthritis Foundation, New Jersey Chapter partners with New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance:
In reaching out to women “of a certain age,” the Northeast Region will be offering Osteoarthritis vs. Osteoporosis: What Every Woman Should Know. In partnering with New Jersey Manufacturer’s Insurance, the New Jersey Chapter of the Northeast Region will be offering community education programs at three sites in November. The one hour lunch and learn program will be delivered at New Jersey Manufacturer’s facilities in Hammonton, Trenton, and Parsippany. Although appropriate for all employees, this particular presentation is geared towards women age 40 and older. The program, which explains the difference between often-confused osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, focuses on what the two diseases have in common in terms of risk factors and self- management strategies. With an emphasis on prevention of both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, the presentation includes a great deal of practical information related to the importance of proper nutrition and exercise. For information about offering Osteoporosis vs. Osteoarthritis: What Every Woman Should Know at your place of business, please contact Peggy Lotkowictz at the Arthritis Foundation, New Jersey Chapter at 732-283-4300 ext. 319.
122 East 42nd Street, 18th Floor
New York NY 10168-1898
Have you heard about fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition causing pain, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and mood changes. A special live webinar on Fibromyalgia will be broadcast on Wednesday, December 5 from 12:30 to 1:30pm. David Lans, MD, rheumatologist in Bronxville, presents information on diagnosis, treatment, and management. Fibromyalgia is the second most common type of rheumatic disease (osteoarthritis is the first.) You are invited to view the web cast as part of an audience at the Arthritis Foundation, New York Chapter office at 122 E. 42 Street, 18th floor, Manhattan. Or view the program at home, on a computer at your local library, or with a friend or neighbor. For the link, contact the Arthritis Foundation at email@example.com.
Northeastern New York
1717 Central Ave, Ste. 105
Albany, NY 12205
JA Family Day being held on Saturday, November 17 at 11am. The site is the fun and family-friendly Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park in Queensbury. The JA Family Day provides a chance for families to meet each other and to become familiar with the Arthritis Foundation. After the introductions and information sharing, all can enjoy the water park for the day. Call the Northeastern Chapter at (518) 456-1203 to register and for additional information.
Save the Date: The Arthritis Expo will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2013 from 10am to 3pm at The Century House in Latham. For additional information, call the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Chapter, at (518) 456-1203.
Upstate New York
3300 Monroe Ave, Ste 319
Rochester, NY 14618
Upstate New York has programs for you: Join in the fun and experience the well being of participating in an Arthritis Foundation program. Featured are three types of exercise classes: Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program, Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, and Tai Chi for Arthritis. Here is how you can begin: send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (585) 264-1480.
...Coming to YOUR Town
The Jingle Bell Run / Walk is:
For everyone, all ages, all fitness levels, with all types of physical capabilities
A seasonal challenge for those who want to help beat arthritis
A fun time for those who like to dress up in holiday costume!
PLUS: The Jingle Bell Run is timed and serves as a qualifier for marathons.
There are many ways to participate: form a team, donate to a team formed by a family member or friend, run / walk as a participant, become a sponsor, exhibit at the Expo, or serve as a volunteer. We welcome your support.
Click here to locate the Jingle Bell Run – winter’s most fun and festive fundraising event – being held near you.
Please, keep in touch.
Let us know what you think of the Northeast Regional Reporter and what topics you would like to read about. You may also send us people to include on our email list by providing the person's first and last name and email address. Email us please at NortheastReporter@arthritis.org.
Stephen A. Smiles, MD
Member, Northeast Regional Board
and New York Chapter Board, Arthritis Foundation
Co-Director, Center for Arthritis and Autoimmunity
NYU Medical Center,
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine
NYU School of Medicine
President and CEO
Northeast Region, Arthritis Foundation
Sharon Jaycox Daitz
Vice President, Program
Northeast Region, Arthritis Foundation
Beth Gottlieb, MD
Chief, Division of Pediatric Rheumatology
Director, Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Training
Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York
Andrew B. Weinberger, MD, FACR
Immediate Past President, New Jersey Rheumatology Association
Member, New Jersey Chapter Board, Arthritis Foundation
Rheumatologist, West Orange, New Jersey
The Arthritis Foundation Northeast Regional Reporter is supported in part by the following funders: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca, Genentech.