stiffness

Spreading the word for arthritis

Lupus? Check. Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS? Check. ALS, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, mental health, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression? Check! There’s been a ton of awareness going on in May, but there’s still one more theme to go – National Arthritis Awareness Month. This month, the Arthritis Foundation (AF) is encouraging us all to spread the word to everyone we know. According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe over 100 medical conditions and diseases, known as rheumatic diseases.1 The CDC estimates that 52.5 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia).2 Common symptoms generally include, but are not limited to: Joint pain Stiffness Inflammation or swelling (most frequently in the hips, knees, hands and wrists) If you’d like to learn more, the ACR has gathered a wealth of information on all the different kinds of arthritis. And if you’re not sure how to participate in Arthritis Awareness Month, here are a few places to start: Sign the AF’s 2014 Arthritis Month Action Alert Check out the AF’s “Walk With Ease” program Find a national arthritis walk near you Finally, with over …

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Recognizing Multiple System Atrophy (MSA Parkinson)

In observing Rare Disease Day at the end of February, we talked how there are 7,000+ conditions that are categorized as rare diseases due to their lower prevalence (less than 200,000 people in the US).  Today we’d like to spotlight one of these lesser-known conditions:  multiple system atrophy (MSA), which affects 536 PatientsLikeMe members and approximately 50,000 Americans. There are no celebrities with MSA, nor is there a high-profile nonprofit organization driving awareness of the disease.  Instead, MSA patients have organized themselves through a “Miracles for MSA” Facebook page and determined grassroots efforts.  They’ve also designated March as Multiple System Atrophy Awareness Month.  Their goal?  “We want to reach everyone affected by MSA and have them join us here to make our voices even louder next year.  Together, we can make miracles happen for MSA.” What can you do to help?  Learn about MSA and help spread the word.  Previously known as Shy-Drager Syndrome, MSA affects middle-aged men and women and advances rapidly with a progressive loss of motor skills.  It is very rare for someone to live 15 years with MSA.  One of the common symptoms is stiffness, similar to what’s seen in Parkinson’s disease.  As a result, MSA …

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What Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

March is National MS Education and Awareness Month (NMEAM), an initiative of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) to raise awareness for this chronic neurological disease affecting the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. This year’s theme is “At Your Best with MS,” encouraging the more than 2.5 million people with MS worldwide to seek the best quality of life possible.  This means different things to different people as MS varies widely in severity, with approximately 15% of those diagnosed becoming severely disabled.  It could include adhering to a treatment regimen, eating healthy, keeping fit, developing a support network and/or maintaining good emotional health. It could also refer to nurturing hobbies and interests.  That’s why the MSF has launched the “Show Us Your Best” contest, which calls for creative submissions (such as poems, essays, photo collages, videos, songs and more) demonstrating how people are raising awareness of MS.  The deadline for entry is March 31st, and the grand prize winner will win a cruise for two on MSF’s 2013 “Cruise for a Cause” to Alaska. With 26,000+ members, the MS community at PatientsLikeMe is one of our largest.  Approximately 80% of the MS community is female (reflecting the fact that MS …

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Life with Parkinson’s Disease: What We’ve Learned

On Tuesday, our interview with blogger Steve Ploussard of “Attitude & Fitness Wins” revealed how one person is managing his Parkinson’s disease (PD).  Today we take a closer look at this progressive neurological condition using the data and experiences shared by our 5,920 PD members. Taking a look at the makeup of our PD community, 52% are male, and 48% are female.  More than 98% identify PD as their primary condition, and just shy of 20% report experiencing their first symptom between the ages of 50 and 59.  Others report experiencing their first symptom anywhere from adolescence to their seventies.  (See the chart for a complete breakdown.)  What exactly are the symptoms of this condition?  Some of the most commonly reported include stiffness/spasticity, slowness, sexual dysfunction, memory problems, excessive daytime drowsiness and constipation. As Steve’s interview revealed, Carbidopa-Levodopa (Sinemet) is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for PD as it helps to control tremors, one of the most visible manifestations of the disease, and other movement dysfunctions.  Currently, more than 1,698 members report taking this medication, and 300+ of them have submitted Sinemet treatment evaluations, which review the drug’s effectiveness, side effects, dosage, cost and more.   Here’s what one …

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“A Mile and a Candle” for World MSA Day

Today, October 3rd, is World MSA Day. MSA stands for multiple system atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder that causes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. As a result, it is included in a group of diseases called “Parkinson-plus syndromes,” which have the classical symptoms of Parkinson’s (such as tremor and stiffness) as well as additional physical and mental features. In addition, these diseases typically do not respond to Parkinson’s treatments. The theme for this year’s World MSA Day is “A Mile and a Candle.” All around the globe, MSA activists will be lighting a candle today at 8:00 p.m. local time for one hour. Participants are being asked to light a candle for each person they know who is living with MSA or has been lost to MSA. As candles are lit across every continent, a virtual 24-hour wave of light will be created as it moves from time zone to time zone. In addition, activists will be walking a mile (or more) in honor of MSA, then reporting their mileage on the “A Mile and a Candle Counter Page.” The goal is to tally enough miles from enough participants to equal 24, 901 miles, which is the circumference of the …

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Parkinson’s Disease: Real-World Data, Real-World Experiences

It’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month. As we continue to spread the word about this condition, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about our PatientsLikeMe Parkinson’s community. Launched two years ago this month, the community has steadily grown to include more than 3,400 patients. Below are some interesting facts about the community, as well as an interview with one of our members (“PokieToo”) giving her real-world experience of living with condition. WHAT’S IT LIKE LIVING WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE (PD)? Meet PokieToo.  A long-time member of our PD community, she tells us how she continues to “look for the sunshine” while “taking 30 pills a day.”   “Out there for the next person,” PokieToo gives us a glimpse of the real-world experiences of living with Parkinson’s disease. DID YOU ALSO KNOW… More than 1,500 of our patient members are 50-yrs old or older 140+ of our patient members have inherited Parkinson’s disease (PD), and a handful of people have the less common drug-induced Parkinsonism and Vascular Parkinsonism Approximately 10% of our patient members (or 331) are Young-Onset Parkinson’s patients; that is, they report having experienced their first symptom before the age of 40. How are our members treating their condition? Patients …

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