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rheumatoid arthritis

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Mind

The big small world of folk artist Maud Lewis

From a distance, the paintings of rural life in Nova Scotia by folk artist Maud Lewis are simple and unsophisticated. Her life followed a similar trajectory, with more than a hint of tragedy. She left school at age 14 after years of being mocked for her small frame and obvious deformities. She lived most of her adult life in poverty in a tiny house beside a rural highway outside Yarmouth, on the province’s southern shore. In her later years she received some recognition, but in her lifetime she never received more than $10 for a painting. Lewis’s difficulties began, in fact, before she was born in 1903. “She suffered from a series of birth defects that left her fingers painfully deformed, her shoulders hunched, and her chin pressed into her chest,” related a 1997 article in Maclean’s magazine. “She spent most of her adult life as a virtual recluse in

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Health

The fight of my life

It all started when I was 35. I went for a run and mid-way through my foot started killing me, with pain right in the toe and metatarsals. I stretched it, rubbed in some pain lotion and moved on, or so I thought. Question: What was causing my foot so much pain? I went to my doctor and he gave me a cortisone injection directly into my foot. It did feel much better for the short term and thought that I was on my way, but I was wrong. My foot continued to be in so much pain that I had to go back to the doctor; he sent me for blood tests to test for arthritis. It was great news to find out that I didn’t have arthritis at all when my blood test came back negative -- but what was causing all the pain? I still hadn’t been
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Health

Arthritis and natural health

If you’re suffering from joint pain or osteoarthritis, don’t despair. These natural supplements, home remedies and healthy foods can help you control the pain so that you can live life to the fullest.  The process of inflammation is actually a good thing. In theory. It is your body’s way to protect itself from unwanted invaders, like bacteria and viruses.  But here’s where it gets tricky.  In some diseases – like arthritis – this natural defence system (your immune system) triggers inflammation when there are no unwelcomed visitors to fend off.  These types of autoimmune diseases trick your body into thinking that your tissues are somehow under attack, causing damage and a lot of pain.  Inflammation can be either short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). Chronic inflammation can last for months or even years, long after that initial trigger is gone. That means chronic pain with very little

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Health

Treating arthritis with diet and exercise

Seeking options to treat her painful psoriatic arthritis, Johanna Legge, 57, says she found something “by mistake.” Her find was the Paddison Program, which she claims is the sole reason she has returned to good health. Rewind Johanna’s story to early 2013 when she lived in Vancouver. “I would have swollen ankles, which appeared like sprained ankles, and the medical community couldn’t figure out how I could sprain my ankles so badly, and not know when and where I did it,” she recalls. “I had no answer.” The pain was excruciating. “It felt like you put a vice-grip on my ankle. I also didn’t sleep when I had the worst flare-ups.” Legge was an environmental enforcement officer, which required her to do a lot of ladder climbing. Saw mills and pulp mills were among her many industry job sites. “I would go to work and shove ice packs in my

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Health

Antibiotic usage linked with increase risk of rheumatoid arthritis

A new study found that the odds of developing RA is 60% higher in those exposed to antibiotics than those who are not. Researchers from Keele University and the Quadram Institute in the UK analyzed data from primary care medical records and found that the odds of developing rheumatoid arthritis is 60% higher in those exposed to antibiotics than in those not exposed. The researchers also found that the odds increased with the number of antibiotics treatments, and how recently they were taken. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects roughly 300,000 Canadians, and this study suggests it affects 26 in 100,000 people who have taken antibiotics. RA is likely to be caused by a complex mix of genetics and different environmental factors, so this study isn’t reason to stop taking antibiotics when they are needed. But it does open up a new door of exploration to finding the triggers, which could be

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