The Arthritis National Research Foundation Is Moving Arthritis Research Forward

Long Beach, CA (PRWEB) August 30, 2011

The Arthritis National Research Foundation recently awarded $950,000 in arthritis research grants to 13 cutting-edge scientists. With 50 million Americans afflicted with arthritis anxiously waiting for new and more effective treatments, the Arthritis National Research Foundation is funding scientists at universities and research facilities across the country. Their work in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune forms of arthritis holds the promise for new therapies.

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ANRF_blue_gradient_reasonably_smallThe Arthritis National Research Foundation is the charity that funds research to cure arthritis. Research will lead to discovering the causes, new treatments, prevention and cure for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, juvenile arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

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Three Weeks, Three Years

Today marks three weeks since my last major flare. There were a couple of times during this past week when I thought that this streak was going to come to an end, but it hasn’t. On both occasions, as soon as I accepted the pain that I was experiencing (it’s starting to grab onto my right arm) and told myself that I would be okay if my consecutive series of flare-free days came to an end, my pain ‘vanished’ almost as quickly as it appeared.

This is an interesting lesson that I continue to learn: the more that I turn towards to and embrace my pain, the more of a non-entity is continues to become. Sure, it is always present (I’ve been flare-free, not pain-free, after all) and my pain should be neither ignored nor denied…but I have learned that it is possible to give it too much attention. Like with a spoiled child, the more attention it gets, the more attention it wants. I’ve broken this cycle, and now try to give my pain only the attention that it really needs. Nothing more.

And as I celebrate going three weeks without a flare, I also have some other reasons to celebrate. Not only is today my mother-in-law’s birthday, but it’s also the third anniversary of the day when my partner and I exchanged wedding vows in San Francisco, California! (This was back during the brief period when same-sex marriage was legal in this state, before the passage of Proposition 8.) We were a couple for eight years before be got legally married, which brings the grand total to eleven years together!

So here’s hoping that everyone’s weeks are off to as great a start as mine is. What makes it even sweeter, down here in the southern hemisphere, is that is seems like winter has finally passed, and spring is here! Yet one more reason to celebrate. (And if you’re interested, here are some photos from a day trip that I took two years ago, today.)

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

Realistic Activity Goals Seem To Ease Arthritis Pain, Study Finds

Belief in ability to do exercise, and following through, can improve life for rheumatoid arthritis patients

THURSDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) — Rheumatoid arthritis patients who believe in their ability to achieve physical activity goals — called self-efficacy — are more likely to reach those objectives, researchers have found.

The investigators also found that patients who achieve their physical activity goals have lower levels of arthritis pain and a higher quality of life.

Researchers in the Netherlands conducted an initial assessment of the physical activity levels, motivation, self-efficacy for physical activity, levels of arthritis pain and quality of life of 106 rheumatoid arthritis patients.

When the assessment was repeated six months later, 75 percent of the patients rated their physical activity goal achievement at 50 percent or more. Those with higher levels of self-efficacy for physical activity were more likely to achieve their physical activity goals, the study authors noted.

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Over the past couple of months, I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion how much I think exercise (swimming and aquatic exercise) have helped me to not only improve my overall physical strength and flexibility, but have also helped me to lower my pain levels. Figuring out how to exercise regularly when living with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis definitely isn’t easy, but it is possible. (And part of making it possible is knowing and accepting when exercise just isn’t possible, no matter how much I wish it to be.)

I appreciate how this article focuses on realistic activity goals. For me, figuring out what is indeed realistic has been a key part of my success when it comes to being able to exercise.

Tamara Vasquez

Real Profiles of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Photos © Tamara Vasquez


Tamara Vasquez


24 years young!


Alvin, Texas, United States

How long have you lived with RA?

I have lived with RA for 6 yrs now.

What advice would you give to someone who has just been diagnosed with RA?

The most important advice is follow the doctors orders. Do not miss your appointments, because the longer you wait to get treatment the worse your condition and damage will get. I was so hard headed about following the doctors orders and sticking with the appointments because I had not accepted it. I was always healthy and to all of sudden be told you can’t do this and you cant do that, take this medication with food and take this one once a week or twice a day was just ridiculous but I wish I would have followed the orders sooner because who knows, I might have been in control of my RA by now.

Do you use any mobility aids?

Before I had my 7 month old, I would wear ankle braces on both my ankles, I had a knee brace on my right knee and I also wore a wrist brace on both my wrists. Now, and I don’t know why and neither does my rheumatologist, I only wear a wrist brace on my right wrist. My right hand is the only thing that gives me a whole lot of problems. My ankles, knees and left hand no longer hurt but they still swell every once in while.

How has living with RA helped to improve your life?

It made me such a strong person, I can withstand any other pain, cut, fracture,sprain, surgery etc, other than my flare ups. Not only did it made my physically stronger, it has made me emotionally, and mentally stronger. I was depressed at the beginning of this RA journey but i have overcome that and accepted that fact that yes I do have a disease but its a great conversation starter. People seem to be amazed that someone my age has this “old people” disease and fills me with joy when I explain to them that RA knows no age and I share with them the facts. They leave with something new. I amaze myself at the fact that I DO NOT allow this disease to control me or my family’s life. I spend a great deal of time with my children doing activities that we all love because who knows maybe one day I will not be able to but I will do everything in my power to prevent that.

Do you have any visible signs of RA?

In my right hand you can start to see a little deformity in my fingers but it’s not too much and I’m hoping that we are slowing down the damage. My MRI showed there was great damage to my cartilages and quite a bit of bone loss. You can definitely tell that my hand is constantly swollen.

Can you please describe some of your favorite coping strategies for living with RA?

Some of my absolute favorite are spending time with my kids. Just joking around with them, playing games and just laughing. My family never quit on me, no matter how hard headed I was, they never quit and they are still here for me. I also see a counseling therapist who has helped me deal with my emotions especially when i have a flare up and get so overwhelmed with the fact that I can not button my pants or brush my hair. I have what I call “me time”, this is when I spend time just by myself or with a friend getting pampered for example pedicure,manicure, movie or anything that is just plain relaxing.

Can you please describe your current medical (traditional and alternative) treatments?

I was taking Celebrex but wasnt working anymore. So I’m back on Prednisone and Lodine for now but I am waiting on my insurance to approve Enbrel.

Is there anything else about yourself that you would like to share?

I am 24 year old divorced mother of two beautiful boys.I am a fabulous RA Gal who switched from wearing heels everyday to flats because my ankles swell or I am in pain but i make it look good! I work full time and a mother full time. I am a daughter, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, granddaughter and ex wife(but happily free) and I am a friend. I will NEVER allow rheumatoid arthritis to control my life or control me. I love my life and anything and everyone in it. I live to the fullest, love unconditionally and I laugh because I AM HAPPY! I may be in the worst pain imaginable but I smile everyday! 😉

Rheumatology Etymology

Defining some common words in the world of the rheumatologist

The medical world is full of words with long histories and multiple meanings. Here are a few commonly used in the field of rheumatology with their definitions and where they came from.

Encyclopædia Britannica lists rheumatism as “any of several disorders that have in common inflammation of the connective tissues, especially the muscles, joints, and associated structures.” The word derives from the Greek rheumatismos, coined by Galen of Pergamum, a philosopher, physician, and pioneer of medical practice, in the 2nd century CE. Today, few if any doctors use the word “rheumatism” to describe a specific medical condition, although it still exists as a colloquialism.


Rheumatism. (2011). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: Accessed July 20, 2011.

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