Posted in Website Review

Fibromyalgia Information: Nutritionist Resource


Nutritionist Resource is a UK based website that offers a vast amount of information and resources about nutrition. Despite its location, it is a valuable resource for everyone about all things nutrition without all the medical jargon.

I was contacted to share the site’s Fibromyalgia section with my readers.  Having written my own fibromyalgia lifestyle guide, I appreciate the vast amount of information available at Nutritionist Resource on fibromyalgia.  Of relevance is the sections on diet and how a nutritionist can help you.  Also, please take a look at the Share your story link, and take the time to share your experiences if you have worked with a nutritionist in the past or currently do. Check out the stories others have shared.

Other great topics on Nutritionist Resource include nutrition related to cancer, anemia, chronic fatigue, stress and women’s nutrition, to name a few.  Take a look at the recent news section for information on variety of nutrition topics, including food cravings, portion sizes, shopping lists, and so much more.   Last, don’t forget to check out the expert section of this site. It turned out to be one of my favorite sections, as I love hearing from people who either are living with health conditions and making healthy choices or those that work with others to help them create and manage a healthy lifestyle.

Overall, great resource for fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions.   And if you don’t know what nutritionists do, there is a FAQs page to here you out.

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Posted in Website Review

Website Review: Arthritis-Health


arthritis

I am sharing with you today a great arthritis resource called Arthritis-health.  The website offers a growing collection of information about arthritis and is geared towards both patients and caregivers.  At Arthritis-health, you can find a countless articles, videos, and expert interviews about treating, managing and living with arthritis.  The information comes from various medical professionals and arthritis experts.

Whatever you are looking for, you are sure to find it at Arthritis-health.  If you are looking to find out about arthritis friendly exercises, this article by Marco Funiciello, DO is a sure bet.  Dr. Funiciello shares the benefits of physical activity along with what to consider before beginning exercise.  Next, the doctor goes into exercise adaptions for people with arthritis and ways to get exercise as an arthritis patient.  Last, the doctor discusses recommendations for exercises as suggested by the American College of Rheumatology.

This next article by Dr. Judith Frank describes the characteristics of rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Frank dives into several aspects, including the stages of RA, what researchers believe causes RA, how important early and aggressive treatment is, physical and emotional symptoms, diagnostic criteria and treatment, including surgery.

Arthritis-health also has a vast collection of videos.  For example, the video titled Hip Replacement Surgery offers an animation on the basics of hip replacement.  The procedure involves replacing the hip joint with a prosthetic implant.  It is a last option after conservative treatments such as physical therapy and medication have not worked.

There many more articles and other resources at Arthritis-health.  Will you please check out Arthritis-health and leave some feedback here?

Posted in Website Review

The Bone and Joint Health Center at HealthyWomen


 A few days ago, I reviewed the website, Reach Beyond RA, that offers resources for real life living with rheumatoid arthritis.  As I noted in that prior post, HealthyWomen (HW) is a website dedicated to providing independent health information resources to women and is a national leader. HW is a nonprofit project and has long reputable history recognized by many in the media marketplace and in the health industry.

At the Bone and Joint Health Center, HW has teamed up the creators of Reach Beyond RA, to bring you a joint collaborative to help empower women with information about rheumatoid arthritis.  There you will find some insightful information on managing RA, motivational tips on staying active, and information about exercises that are the best fit for RA patients.

A favorite article I came across at the Bone and Joint Health Center is titled Tips for Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis offers some great tip on juggling a busy life while living with RA. Things such as family, career, household, friends and other commitments can be especially challenging for women but when you live with a chronic condition like RA, it can also be uncomfortable, painful and interfere with your daily routine.  This article offers some great information for taking an active role in managing RA symptoms while juggling all the responsibilities that life throws at you.

 I also came across a Q & A section that stressed the importance of exercise towards the management of RA symptoms.  The article response was medically reviewed by an expert in the field as the majority of the information on the site is. The response informs that it is important to find balance between exercise and rest.   By understanding the roles that both rest and exercise present, you empower yourself to work towards control the disease.   When it comes down to it, when your RA is active, rest your joints.  When RA pain is manageable, exercise because being active is essential to keeping your muscles healthy and to keeping joints mobile and flexible.  If you are in the pain the following day after exercising, you have overdone it.  Understanding the median between exercise and rest means that you understand that overuse and under-use both cause problems so it is important to use discretion and this means you listen to your body.

Towards the end of the response to the question about exercise, a link is provided to RA exercises.  This link sends you to several videos that show you RA friendly exercises.  The first video, Getting off the Couch, the doctor in the video discusses exercises that offer an all body approach to dealing with exercising with RA.  We are also introduced to Chaunté Smith, a RA patient, who has incorporated exercise into her management of RA.  The doctor notes that it is important to find ways to adjust your routine to your RA so you can stay motivated. Here is the video below.  Be sure to check out all the videos in this series.  You can also go to Reach Beyond RA at to the My RA Fit Kit to customize your own exercise plan.

Another favorite section of the site for me is titled Realities of Rheumatoid Arthritis Video Series. Here you will hear from Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, the executive director of HealthyWomen, as she discusses “Managing RA: The Strong Women’s Approach,” which is an educational and inspirational program and video series.  In the first video, she discusses the goal of the series and information about what the series is about.  The remaining videos are available for viewing at the series page. The first of those videos is titled “RA 101.” It goes into the basics of RA introduced by several experts offering an overview of RA to include how it occurs, symptoms, and living beyond the boundaries of RA.

Being a woman in my 30s living with rheumatoid arthritis, I know all too well the limitations it poses. It has been three years since my diagnosis and I can honestly tell you that first year for me was pure torture.  I had to teach myself a new way of living and I didn’t even know where to start.  I felt like I had lost control of my life and I had no control of my future.  As I advocate, I see this often for those in first year or so of diagnosis.  After a trial and error process, experimenting with a variety of treatments, and finding what things were out of my control such as pain and weight gain, I finally found a medium in my life where I can live side by side with RA. I know the physical realities and limitations but every day I am learning that I can live beyond them.  Ironically, it took me three years to get there.  What I came across along my journey of trying to find normalcy is that much of the information presented to me wasn’t enough for me to live with RA.  It wasn’t until I saw real people living successfully with RA that I knew that I could live successfully despite RA.

I think that it is important for all of you, women and men alike, who live with RA to learn to decipher fact from fiction. Find the right resources so that you can stay motivated. I wish that I had found a resource like HealthyWomen and Reach Beyond RA when I was first diagnosed.  I had to learn about management of my disease and listening to my body all on my own and that is why I recommend sites like these.  They offer a great resource for people like you and me who didn’t necessarily care about the medical information about the disease but who care about living beyond the disease.

Both these sites offer a vast amount of information about living with RA.  They don’t spend a lot educating about the disease itself because most of us know more about RA than most medical doctors.  Further, the creators and administrators of both these sites understand the limitations that the disease has on us. They understand the financial setbacks, the affect that RA has on your jobs, your home lives, your relationships and the fact that you need normalcy in our life. For me, it has allowed to be motivated again with being active.  I had a setback earlier in the year as a result of an auto accident but I found my way back to being active despite RA. Please take an opportunity to visit the two sites and if you would like, please offer some feedback on your blogs.

Posted in Website Review

Reach Beyond RA


There are so many websites out there about Rheumatoid Arthritis and often times; you need to look through multiple sites to find all the information you need.   Well, that is all about to change.  I was recently contacted about a new site called: Reach Beyond RA that offers more than just health information.  It offers a variety of other resources that affect those of us living with RA, including home, fitness, finances, and just simply living life.

I have not been this excited about a website in a long time because I am picky about the RA information I read and accept as truth or helpful. This particular site is created by UCB, Inc., a global biopharma company focused on severe disease with offices in more than 40 countries*.

The first thing I did when I got to the site was do a cursory review the home page for the site.  It is loaded with some great information on the MY RA fit kit, financial assistance, and scholarship information for RA patients.  There is also links to an affiliated site, Healthy Women, which is independent health information source for women that offers an RA page.  I will review that site at a later date.

My favorite section was the RA recipe section that included RA friendly foods and foods that decrease inflammation or don’t cause inflammation.  Each recipe includes kitchen tips to make food preparation easier for RA patients.  For example, the Baked Salmon recipe suggests using a food processor for chopping onions and a hand held mixer for recipes that require a lot of stirring.  Moreover, each recipe notes its benefit to the RA patient. In the salmon recipe, for example, it is noted that fresh salmon “is a great source of protein, Vitamin A, and omega-3s (a healthy, beneficial fat), while the low-calorie sauce is rich in helpful antioxidants.”  It looks like all the recipes are set up the same way and they are not time consuming because, just like the rest of you, I can’t always stand for long periods of time in the kitchen and my hands and arms can’t handle a lot of chopping and stirring. The diet section is also loaded with lots of great information on just about everything for practicing a RA friendly diet – something that many of us struggle to figure out.

The video section offers great videos about healthy living with arthritis.  A favorite of mine offers tips on making your workplace RA friendly.  I was pleasantly surprised by the Learning to Laugh Again and A Full Life with RA videos.  There are not many sites that offer information about life with RA or address the difficulties that many of face as we try to have normal lives.  For a long, I have stressed on the value of this type of information for those of us living with RA and similar chronic conditions.  The “Living” section focuses on the very issues that most of us struggle with daily such as work, home life, and just simply trying to have that normal life that does always seem within our reach.  Having a normal life focuses on issues such raising a family, intimacy and relationships – topics that I have tried to touch on my blog because I know that those resources are often not available to RA patients.

A visit to the “fitness” section also put my mind at ease.  One of the things I strongly address as an advocate is the importance of low impact activity and techniques to relieve stress.  All of this great information is at your fingertips including low impact workouts and activities and relaxation techniques.  Offering advice on relaxation and stress reduction shows that mental health is equally as important as physical health.  I am glad that they included both under the fitness section.

I cannot say enough great things about Reach Beyond RA but I don’t believe me.  I would rather you go ahead and check out the site for yourself.

*I was not paid for this review. The opinions expressed belong entirely to me.