Caregiving

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is estimated that approximately 1.3 million Americans suffer from this condition. People are often surprised to learn that Rheumatoid arthritis is actually is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking healthy joint tissue, resulting in chronic inflammation of numerous joints throughout the body. As with many other auto-immune diseases and conditions, rheumatoid arthritis researchers don’t fully understand what causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it’s thought that both genetics and environment play a role.

 

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis most often begin with pain and stiffness in the smaller joints of the hands and feet, eventually progressing to larger joints in the wrists, ankles, shoulders, knees, elbows and hips. People suffering from this condition may experience periods of painful flare ups, followed by periods of remission. Flare ups can last for days or even months.  Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious and painful condition which can, over time, cause the joints to deform. It can also lead to cartilage and bone tissue being destroyed.

If you are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor who will likely refer you to a Rheumatologist who will put you on a plan to reduce the inflammation in your joints. The sooner this happens, the better chance there is of preventing long-term joint damage.

For more information, visit the Arthritis Foundation website.

What is a Pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a small medical device which gets placed into the chest or abdomen of people with abnormal heart rhythms. The pacemaker uses electrical pulses to help control the heart rate, allowing the heart to beat with more regularly and pump blood throughout the body. Pacemakers are generally placed under the skin in the chest, just under the collarbone, and are hooked up to the heart with tiny wires. Pacemakers run on batteries and are designed to work only when needed (heartbeat is too slow, too fast or irregular). Each battery should last five to eight years or longer. READ MORE

Hope for the Holidays: 5 Tips for Turning Holiday Grief into Optimism

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, but not everyone embraces the season with eagerness and a happy heart. Those who suffer grief over the death of a loved one often dread the holidays, when feelings of loss can be most powerful. Fortunately, there is hope–and help–for holiday grievers. Not only can grief be managed and eased during the holidays, it’s possible to endure the season with a healthy dose of optimism.READ MORE

What Exactly is Posttraumatic Growth?

You may be fairly familiar with the term or diagnosis Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). The National Institute of Mental Health describes this as a recurring flight or fight response stemming from an earlier scary, traumatic, dangerous, or shocking event. It has become a pretty common term in our culture recently and affects about 7.7 million Americans each year. READ MORE

Hearing loss: Get the facts!

Have you ever considered how important your sense of hearing is to your daily life and wellbeing? If you have great hearing you may never give it a second thought. But for the 20% of Americans that suffer from some level of hearing loss, day-to-day interactions and activities can be frustrating and downright impossible if not diagnosed and treated effectively.READ MORE