Arthritis forum Tuesday

Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the most devastating diseases when it comes to disabling people in the home and the workforce.

For people such as Cheryl Johnson of Surrey, who has been living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) now for three years, the impact is profound.

Once an active account executive in the print industry, Johnson was forced from her job within a year of developing RA.

“Not being able to work has been the biggest issue for me… I loved my job,” says Johnson. “The unpredictable nature of the disease makes it difficult and the limitations it has put on my everyday life has been frustrating.”

Johnson has trouble opening jars, reaching for things and even simple things like long walks have become almost impossible for her.

A born fighter, she decided the disease was not going to take her life from her so she decided to fight back.

With a positive “can do” attitude she began by attending a forum being run by The Arthritis Society. “I wanted to learn as much as I could ab

Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the most devastating diseases when it comes to disabling people in the home and the workforce.

It has huge implications for the economy and health care system. On Nov. 15, The Arthritis Society is running a free public forum in Surrey to help people understand their RA and give them practical information on what they can do to limit the effect of this debilitating disease.

Led by rheumatologist Dr. Diane Lacaille, the forum will benefit people living with ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid, psoriatic arthritis and other types of auto-immune arthritis.

Participants will learn about current treatment options, the value and benefits of physical activity as well as ways to protect their joints.

“There is no cure for RA, but when you are diagnosed early and start the right treatment, you can take control of your disease and avoid severe damage to your joints,” says Lacaille. “Most people with RA can lead active and productive lives with the help of the right information, medication, surgery (in some cases), exercise, rest and joint protection techniques.

“This forum is a great opportunity for people living with this painful disease to learn valuable information – whether they have been newly diagnosed or have been living with the disease for some time.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease (where the body’s immune system begins to attack healthy tissues).

In this case, the joints are the target of the immune attack causing swelling, pain and often joint damage.

Understanding Inflammatory Arthritis Forum takes place tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Vancouver Guilford Hotel, 15269 104 Ave. To register, call 604-714-5550 or 1-866-414-7766.

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