All posts filed under: tools

RA feet and orthotics

My RA started in my feet. About 20% of patients are introduced to RA via painful feet and about 95% of RA patients eventually do have feet involvement.  RA struck my poor feet first.  Diagnosis was slow as my primary doc, an internist, later said I was too old to have RA and that the pulses in my feet were strong so my feet were fine. Once I was diagnosed. Methotrexate (MTX) was my first RA drug. The dose was gradually increased until I reached the max of 25 mg/week.  I tolerated the nausea and diarrhea which eventually passed.  MTX helped me but by this time my feet were in a lot of pain and I walked with great difficulty. I was sent to a podiatrist who declared right off the bat that he didn’t do foot surgery for RA. Fine, I thought. I had read about the horrors of RA foot surgery and I wanted none of it. I did need to know what would help. He did three things for me. He ordered …

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Oral bacteria, rheumatoid arthritis and the TSA

There is a growing link between oral bacteria and rheumatoid arthritis. I keep this in mind as I pack my suitcase for my visit to my favorite people, my grandchildren, Madison and Nate. I packed my fancy toothbrush, my Tom’s toothpaste, floss and pics. I had a small container of Biotene mouth rinse. However, I only had a big jug of Crest Pro Health Multi-protection mouth rinse. I could not find a travel container among my travel gear. I improvised. I had a snap-it plastic container, guaranteed never to leak. Perfect, I thought. I am set to go. Traveled. Arrived. Couldn’t find my mouth wash. Managed with what I had. Enjoyed a wonderful visit. Traveled home. As I was cleaning out my suitcase I noticed two pieces of paper. The first said my luggage had been chosen to be inspected. The second was as follows I found out what happened to my mouthwash. The TSA has saved the country again by confiscating the very mouthwash that helps protect my mouth from disease and consequently worsening …

Ten things to know about methotrexate and RA

  Methotrexate has been used for RA since the late 80’s.  It is the cornerstone for RA treatment and considered to have an impressive safety record. Methotrexate is classed as  a DMARD, Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug. It decreases pain and swelling. It can lessen joint damage and consequently long-term disability. Methotrexate is taken once a week usually in pill form. The injectable form is reserved for those who don’t tolerate the pill or to extend the effectiveness of the drug. Self injection is not hard to learn for those who need it. It can be easy to do with a prefilled  auto-injector that comes in a variety of doses. The auto-injector is useful for children with JIA, too. Methotrexate is frequently paired with other DMARD’s. Plaquenil, an anti-malarial drug is often used. Sometimes Sulfasolazine is added, too. Drugs used in combination with methotrexate are usually more effective. Methotrexate is also paired with the biologics including Orencia and Rituxan. The biologics become more effective when teamed with methotrexate. RA can continue on its destructive path when there are no obvious symptoms. It’s reassuring …