North Carolina Arthritis News

Walk Now to Walk Through Arthritis Later

Feeling achy? Got creaky knees? Joint pain from osteoarthritis? They’ve got a new drug for that that and it’s completely free: walking. Scientists say taking as few as 6,000 steps per day may help older adults remain active in their golden years. While it may seem counterintuitive to move more when moving hurts, the new study suggests about one hour of walking per day, at an average pace of 100 steps per minute, may be the perfect dose to ward off the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis. The disease is the most common form of arthritis; it afflicts more than 14% of adults over 25 and more than a third of those over 65, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It creeps into many parts of the body, but most commonly affects the knees. Simply growing old puts this joint at risk, but being a woman, being overweight, or having a previous injury doesn’t help either. “Currently, there are no cures for osteoarthritis,” said Daniel White, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Boston University. “And there’s no real cure for the pain.” All doctors can do is try to prevent patients’ symptoms from progressing past pain to paralysis, White said. Otherwise, osteoarthritis can make it hard to accomplish basic tasks like rising from the dinner table or getting out of bed. read more

Save Your Joints During National Arthritis Month

As we get older, many of us experience trouble with our joints. Unfortunately, especially among the senior population, arthritis is as common as it is painful. May is National Arthritis Month, and arthritis patients and their family and friends alike are invited to learn more about symptoms, what can exacerbate them and how to prevent them altogether. According to the National College of Rheumatology, arthritis is actually a catch-all term used to describe around 100 different kinds of rheumatic diseases - those that affect joints and bones. Arthritis represents one of the most common health concerns affecting older Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half of adults over 65 have been diagnosed with arthritis by their doctor. While arthritis can affect anybody, being obese can exponentially increase your risk. According to the CDC, roughly 66 percent of obese adults will develop some form of arthritis in their lifetime. Also, women are more prone to developing arthritis than men are, as 60 percent of those with rheumatoid arthritis are women. read more

When Older People Walk Now, They Stay Independent Later

Millions of older people have trouble walking a quarter of a mile, which puts them at high risk of losing their mobility, being hospitalized or dying. But it's hard to get people who are already sedentary to become more active and stay that way. In an attempt to solve that problem, researchers got people in their 70s and 80s to walk and do simple exercises in social groups. The people who did that were less likely to become disabled than those who attended classes on successful aging, according to a published Monday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. The people in the study had to be able to walk one-quarter of a mile in 15 minutes, using no aid beyond a cane. But 24 million Americans have trouble walking that far, according to r, director of the Institute on Aging at the University of Florida, who led the study. And 13 million can't walk a quarter-mile at all. read more

A new study shows that a Chinese herb may be effective for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

An herbal extract used in traditional Chinese medicine called Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF) is “not inferior” to methotrexate for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and causes few side effects, according to a study published recently online in of Annals of Rheumatic Disease. Methotrexate, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), is often used in the United States as an effective first-line therapy for treating RA. But it doesn’t work well, or well enough, for everyone. Those whose disease activity remains high while on methotrexate often start combination therapy by adding a second or third DMARD or a biologic drug. In China, extracts made from the root of TwHF – also known as thunder god vine – are used to treat RA. The herb is traditionally prescribed to treat joint pain, fever, and localized swelling. Prior to this study, several smaller studies found TwHF to be effective for people with RA. read more

One Day at a Time, Raising a Child with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Imagine being a mother of four with a baby on the way and being faced with a 2-year-old little girl hobbling around with swollen knees twice their normal size. In 2008, this very scenario became a reality for Missy Moosbrugger. All those years ago, Missy discovered that Mallory, in the midst of her toddler years, was having trouble bearing weight on her right knee. Missy knew then that her daughter’s life was about to change drastically. “We first took her to a pediatrician, then to the hospital, followed by an orthopedist visit and finally found out that we needed a rheumatologist,” says Missy. “The process took about two and a half months to finally figure out why her knees, ankles, wrists and fingers were swelling … doctors were nervous it was a bone infection.” Missy had just given birth to her fifth child when Mallory was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. “We needed to find the cause of the problem so Mallory could at least crawl around and climb the stairs by herself,” Missy continues. read more

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