Two online sources present practical information and hands-on opportunities to live well with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a debilitating autoimmune disease affecting about 1.3 million Americans that can lead to joint damage and painful inflammation.
Hand in Hand for RA
Nearly 75 percent of people with RA are looking for ways to be more active and give back to their communities, according to a 2009 online survey of 501 men and women with the condition. In addition, about 30 percent of the respondents report volunteer work helps them better manage their RA symptoms.
Debbie McGrady, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about 10 years ago, knows from personal experience that helping others is good medicine for one’s own health challenges, too.
Having a serious illness prompted the Indiana resident to reassess her life goals and priorities. As a result of her personal “revolution,” the mother of two let go of self-imposed physical limitations and began to connect with others in new ways. Today she works part time, drives seniors to their doctor’s appointments, and remains committed to staying fit.
Click here http://www.handinhandforra.com/ to read more about McGrady and other inspiring volunteers who are living well with RA. The Web site, sponsored by advocacy group CreakyJoints http://www.creakyjoints.org/ and drug companies Genentech and Biogen Idec, also provides a list of suggested volunteer activities that are easy on the joints in addition to tips for managing the disease.
New Way RA
Now in its second season, Deborah Norville’s online talk show, New Way RA, http://www.newwayra.com/ features panelists Amye Leong, RA advocate and spokesperson for the United Nations Bone and Joint Decade, and Sara Nash, author of the RA blog The Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis <http://singlegalsguidetora.typepad.com/>.
Monthly episodes will offer information and advice about diagnosing RA, connecting with a rheumatologist, and easy-to-wear looks for everyday style. Registration is free, but required to view current and past episodes.
For more Post coverage on living with RA, including foods to reduce inflammation, click here.