9 Ways To Prevent Arthritis Flare-Ups

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It’s difficult to predict when a flare-up may occur, but you may be able to reduce them if you know your triggers.

​9 Ways To Prevent Arthritis Flare-Ups

One of the most difficult things I have come across as I manage my arthritis symptoms is predicting the possibility of flare-ups. While I can’t always keep them from occurring, I have learned how to reduce my chances of having a flare-up.

Here are nine things I do to help me to keep arthritis flare-ups at bay.

Plan Ahead

I often think ahead because I know that my daily habits help me to manage my life with arthritis. I plan ahead in everything I do from shopping to being prepared for an upcoming event because I never know when fatigue and pain will take over.


Review of In Your Hands by Dr. Larry Berkelhammer



I have struggled to cope with chronic illness and I have often felt like healthy living was out of my control as many of you have. From the moment I picked up In Your Hands by Dr. Larry Berkelhammer, I realized that I did not need to feel a loss of control and or that there weren’t enough answers.

There was a time when Dr. Berkelhammer had usual symptoms that no one could explain so he knows firsthand what feels like to be sick and not know why.  Like many of you, he had to continue on with his life despite not feeling well and not having a diagnosis.  In Your Hands narrates the doctor’s journey towards finding answers and trying to maintain a positive attitude so as to feel better physically better along the way.  Eventually Dr. Berkelhammer got a diagnosis but, as reminiscent of this book, that was only a small part in his journey towards healthy wellbeing despite illness.

Dr. Berkelhammer is here to inspire us in kind and nurturing way. He knows we try hard to manage our illnesses and we do so day in and day out so he wants us to make the best use of our coping skills. He also knows that all of this has an effect on self-esteem and can lead to depression and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. It is hard knowing that there are no cures for our conditions and that we cannot predict our lives day to day.

But Dr. Berkelhammer shows us a different way of living. He does this by gently nudging and encouraging you to think about all the ways in which you can live your life fully.  He uses proven methods to teach you how to take charge of your health and emotions so that you become a master at your own health and wellbeing.

About Larry Berkelhammer, PhD

Larry Berkelhammer, PhD, is an author, educator, speaker, and talk show host whose work focuses on the mind’s impact on health. You can find out more about him at his website.


Larry Berkelhammer, PhD


You can purchase In Your Hands through the following online retailers.


Barnes & Noble

I did not receive compensation for this review.  I did, however, receive a free copy of the book.

Five Common Misconceptions About Asbestos

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Most people know that asbestos is lethal. Most people know that when it is inhaled, it can cause painful diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma. But decades of misinformation have helped give rise to many myths about asbestos that persist to this day–and helped conceal the fact that asbestos is more dangerous than many people realize.

MYTH: In small amounts, asbestos is harmless.

REALITY: According to the EPA, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. While the risk of side effects increases with the level of exposure, inhaling even a few fibers can be dangerous. Once lodged in a person’s lung tissue, the fibers can remain there indefinitely, and a small amount can still lead to adverse side effects and fatality resulting from asbestosis and mesothelioma.

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Chronic Illness: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Job

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Know your options, know your rights

Chronic Illness: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Job

Chronically ill workers in the United States face uncertainty because they worry about their health, in addition to their jobs. Protections offered to them by the government are quite vague, adding more insecurity.

A study out of the Center for Economics and Policy Research found that even through the United States is one of the 22 richest nations in the world, it is the only one that does not guarantee paid sick leave for employees. While paid sick leave is available to most employees for a short-term illness, such as the flu, the waters can be quite murky for people with chronic illnesses.

Three Ways to Protect Your Job

Job protection can help provide relief for people with chronic illness. Here is what you need to know.

Employer’s Policies. It is your responsibility to learn about your employer’s time-off policies. You can learn this information through your company’s handbook or intranet or by speaking with your employer’s human resource department. Your employer may have several options available to you, including paid sick leave, family and medical leave, and short- and long-term disability.


Guest Post: The Importance of Mammograms

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According to Cancer.org, more than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. For women ages 40 and up – or even younger if recommended by a doctor –mammograms can help reduce breast cancer deaths.

Here, learn how the new federal healthcare laws will affect your access to mammograms, as well as the steps you can take to make your mammogram a stress-free experience.

Can I Afford a Mammogram?

Many women may be confused about what health services are covered under the new Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act, a woman’s annual preventive healthcare services, which include mammograms and screenings for cervical cancer, are covered by most health plans. The Affordable Care Act also makes recommended preventive services free for people on Medicare. More those on Medicare, mammograms must be given without a co-pay or deductible for all plans started after August 1, 2012.

What Does This Mean for Me?

It means you should take advantage of the services that are provided. The Affordable Care Act understands the importance of preventative care. When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is key, and mammograms are an essential part of identifying breast cancer in its early, treatable stages. In the case that an abnormality is found, a diagnostic mammogram may be prescribed to take additional images and further diagnose the issue.

According to Mammographysaveslives.org, mammography has helped reduce the breast cancer mortality rate in the U.S. by nearly 33 percent since 1990. It’s proof that regular mammograms can truly save lives.

Simple Mammogram Tips

Whether it’s your first or tenth, it’s normal to feel nervous before your mammogram. Here are some simple tips that can help make the experience more efficient and even more comfortable:

  • Many women experience tender breasts during their menstrual cycles, so consider scheduling your mammogram within the two weeks after your menstrual period ends.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to remove from the waist up.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages before your appointment. Caffeine has been shown to cause small lumps or discomfort in breasts.
  • Do not wear deodorant, antiperspirant, powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts. These substances have been shown to potentially cause inaccuracies in the X-ray film.
  • Consider taking an over-the-counter pain medication prior to your appointment.
  • Be up front with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you have had any issues or concerns since your last mammogram, have breast implants, or any medical history that might affect your mammogram or your overall health.
  • Always voice your questions and concerns. Your doctor is there to help you and welcomes any questions that you have.
  • Before you leave the doctor’s office, be sure to schedule your next annual appointment.

Remember, screening mammograms could be the difference between life and death.  It’s an important opportunity to take control of your health. Make your annual mammogram appointment educate others about the importance of mammograms.

This article was contributed by NorthShore University HealthSystem, a comprehensive, fully integrated healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. With leading hospitals in Chicago and the surrounding area, NorthShore provides screening and diagnostic mammogram procedures to help prevent and diagnosis breast cancer.

9 Ways to Laugh and Be Joyful Despite Chronic Illness

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Did you know that the best medicine for chronic illness is laughter?

9 Ways to Laugh and Be Joyful Despite Chronic Illness

A giggle a day can help you to cope and even reduce your pain because it promotes relaxation. Further, laughter releases feel-good endorphins that people living with pain really need.

Recent research has found that laughter holds great benefits for people who live with pain and illness. But, as you know, living with illness and pain isn’t fun and finding reasons to laugh can be difficult.

Here are nine ways to laugh and be joyful despite chronic illness.

  1. Don’t take life too seriously. Chronic illness can bring with it challenges that can get the better of you. When you start stressing about your challenges, it is hard to find solutions. If you focus on not taking life and challenges too seriously by laughing rather than stressing, you give yourself a confidence boost that can help you overcome hurdles. Smile, laugh and don’t be too critical of yourself.


7 Tips to Improve Communication with Your Rheumatologist

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Building a relationship with your rheumatologist can be beneficial for you and your doctor

7 Tips to Improve Communication with Your Rheumatologist

Arthritis patients do best when they have a rheumatologist they can communicate well with. A strong doctor-patient relationship can improve patient outcomes, promote a better quality of life and increase compliance with treatment.

Your rheumatologist only has an average of about fifteen minutes to spend with you during your visit and if communication is lacking, the experience can be confusing and frustrating. Here are seven tips to help you to improve communication with your rheumatologist.

  1. Prepare. Before your appointment, write down the concerns you want to share with your rheumatologist so that your conversation is focused and your concerns are addressed. You should also carry a list of all the medications you are taking because you cannot rely on memory. Your list should include all prescribed medications, over the counter medications and any supplements and vitamins. Before leaving your rheumatologist’s office, take a look at your notes to make sure you’ve covered everything.


Single Parenting: How Do You Do it Alone with Chronic Illness?

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Whether you are a single parent by choice or circumstance, you know that single parenting brings with it unique challenges and joys. For most single parents, the question most often asked is “how do you do it alone?”  I am generally asked a slightly different question – “how do you do it alone with chronic illness?”

Doing It Alone

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease in which body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and organs.  I was diagnosed with RA almost six years ago, shortly after the birth of my youngest son. In one day, I went from being a young healthy mother to chronically ill.

As a mother in my early 30s being diagnosed with a debilitating disease I had never heard of, my initial reaction was fear. I was afraid that RA was a death sentence and I feared that it would leave my children without a mother.  In those first few months, my pain and symptoms were so bad that I could barely hold my newborn and if not for the love and support of my sister, those first few months would have been harder to bear.

Even though much time has passed and my symptoms are now controlled, I still worry about my health and the affect that has on my children now and into the future.  Now, as a single mother, I worry about money, time, love, and discipline. We are all trying to raise well-adjusted children to the best of our abilities. I know that single motherhood isn’t all rainbows and flowers and it is the hardest job on Earth. But being chronically ill – that takes single parenting to a whole new level!

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I Stopped Feeling Guilty About Being Chronically Ill

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Don’t let the guilt of being chronically ill rule over your life.

I Stopped Feeling Guilty About Being Chronically Ill

I am no stranger to the overwhelming burden of guilt about my health and how it has affected my family. My chronic illness guilt isn’t constant but is due to factors such as stress and flare-ups. Moreover, it affects my daily life, my personal and professional responsibilities and my ability to participate in social functions. I have spent a lot of years dealing with self-imposed guilt but I have also learned that I don’t always have to feel guilty about my illnesses.

In the Beginning

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia shortly after my youngest son was born and I am now six years into my battle with chronic illness and pain. My pain over the years has gone from widespread, to hard to control, to well-managed, to activity specific and vice versa. My illnesses have invaded every aspect of my life and my kids’ lives.

Learning to manage the effects of chronic illness on my life — our lives — I often wondered whether the sickness and pain will ever leave us. I saw chronic illness as an unwanted houseguest — unannounced, interfering, and causing havoc on all of our lives. And the sicker I got, the more I needed help managing my home life.

I felt incapable and angry because I wasn’t able to do things that I “should” be able to do, such as cooking healthy meals and keeping our home clean. I often overdid things and ended up with flare-ups that kept me in bed for days and from doing all the things I desperately wanted to do. It was a never ending cycle of guilt and flare-ups and all I wanted to do was to continue to work, feel productive and to take care of my family.


Taking Control of Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms – Guest Post

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What would life be like if you couldn’t easily pick up your toothbrush, or make a cup of coffee, or wash your dishes? What would life be like if these basic actions caused you unimaginable pain and discomfort, sometimes so bad that it was debilitating? Unfortunately, 1.5 million Americans can answer this question.

If you are one of the 1.5 million men and women suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis (or RA for short), you know exactly what life is like dealing with an aching and swelling that takes over your body and hinders you from free movement. Life can be almost unbearable and keeping up with day to day tasks can sometimes not be achieved. That is why it is so vital for anyone suffering from this horrible condition to do the necessary steps to take control of the symptoms.

Keep reading to learn how you can help control your RA symptoms and flare ups…

  1. Listen to your body. RA is an autoimmune disease that makes the body attack the healthy tissue that surrounds the joints. This causes the joints to become swollen, usually affecting the hands, feet, wrists, and ankles. RA is known to affect other body parts as well. Although it is not completely understood why RA occurs, it is believed that genetics and a person’s environment does have an effect as well as cigarette smoking. So what can a person do? Pay attention to your body. Listen to any signs and symptoms and take action. By discovering RA early and diagnosing it early, you give yourself much more chance of living a less painful life. If ignored, RA can lead to permanent joint issues, bone erosion and finally deformity.
  2. Do your homework. Hopefully you have discovered RA early on in the disease. If so, immediately start working with your physician to create a personalized, unique health treatment plan that works for your schedule. For example, talk with your physician about including activities that assist the nervous system like yoga and meditation. Also, be open to incorporating holistic healing modalities like acupuncture, cranial sacrial, massage and chiropractic.
  3. Exercise often! One of the best things that you can do for yourself to reduce the incidence of flare-ups is to work out. Exercising helps the body flush toxins, reduce inflammation, and lubricate joints. Experts feel that by combining medication and regular exercise a person can reduce the incidence of RA significantly.


Kishana Sainte writes on health & lifestyle topics, including rheumatoid arthritis on behalf of MyDocHub.com, a trusted online patient recommendation and medical information website developing condition-specific apps such as its RA Health Flare Tracker iPhone/iPad app.

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