Easy Ways to Minimize Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

If you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you know that the symptoms often flare up at inconvenient times. It can be difficult to do everyday activities when you’re dealing with the pain, stiffness, and other symptoms that come with the disease. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes you can make and some home remedies you can try to help minimize your symptoms throughout the day.  What is rheumatoid arthritis?  Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that affects more than 1.3 million Americans. The immune system makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses to fight infection. But when you have RA, your immune system mistakenly sends those antibodies to the healthy lining of your joints and attacks the tissue surrounding the joints. As a result, the thin layer of cells called synovium that covers your joints becomes sore and inflamed.   RA primarily affects the joints, especially joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In severe cases, RA can attack internal organs like the lungs, heart, and kidneys.   The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. However, evidence has shown that autoimmune conditions run in families. There may be certain genes you are born with that make you more likely to get RA. …

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A Brief History of AKU, the First Genetic Disease Discovered

Last week, we announced that we are creating the first open, global registry for alkaptonuria (AKU), in collaboration with the AKU Society.  You may not have heard of this extremely rare disease – which causes a severe, early-onset form of osteoarthritis – but it plays an important role in the history of genetic diseases.  In fact, AKU, which is estimated to affect 1 in 250,000 to 500,000 people, was the very first genetic disease identified in the scientific record.  Strangely, though, the scientific community failed to recognize this landmark discovery until much later. In 1902, Sir Archibald Garrod, a British physician interested in childhood diseases, published a paper describing the hereditary nature of AKU in The Lancet.  After observing the frequent occurrence of AKU in siblings, Garrod came to believe that the condition was congenital and possibly hereditary.  Using chemical studies, he set out to disprove the existing theory that AKU was infectious – and succeeded. By 1908-1909, he’d expanded his radical notion of lifelong hereditary disease to other rare disorders: albinism, cystinuria and pentosuria.   In lectures and publications at the time, he became the first person to describe a human condition that followed Mendelian inheritance patterns, the first to …

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Get Moving for Arthritis Awareness Month

Did you know that arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the US?  Or that this disease – which affects some 50 million Americans – has more than 100 different types? May is Arthritis Awareness Month, a nationwide event sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation (AF) to raise awareness and funds.  All across the country, Arthritis Walks will be held this month as part of the Let’s Move Together campaign, which encourages people everywhere to get moving to prevent or treat arthritis.  That’s because walking is an easy, effective way to keep your joints mobile, lose weight and boost overall health. Another way you can get involved is by honoring a loved one who is living with (or lived with) arthritis through Hope Through Heroes.  Celebrate your father, mother or another important person in your life by sharing their inspirational story.  Then email your tribute or memorial page to other friends and family, who can post their own testimonials and/or make donation in that person’s name. Given that arthritis strikes 1 in 5 adults, you likely know someone with the condition.  But you may not know how extensive it is.  A common myth is that arthritis only occurs in …

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