Sleep and Exercise with Rheumatoid Arthritis – A Patient Presentation at the 2021 Canadian Arthritis Research Conference

The Arthritis SocietyCanadian Rheumatology Association (CRA) and CIHR-IMHA, are proud to bring together researchers, clinicians and individuals living with arthritis to explore perspectives, advance knowledge and enhance Canadian leadership in the world of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.

Building on the success of the 2020 conference, we are assembling experts and stakeholders to further advance research in the areas of arthritis and rheumatic diseases to better the health of Canadians. The overarching goal is to improve the health of those living with arthritis. 

CARC 2021 provides two days of quality content relating to both osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. In addition to keynote and invited presentations, CARC 2021 provides a forum for investigators to share original research. 

I had the pleasure  and honor of presenting at the 2021 Canadian Arthritis Research Conference. I had the opportunity last year to attend this in Victoria BC right before the covid-19 pandemic caused a worldwide lockdown. You can read about my experience last year here.

Two major concerns with those living with RA are how to exercise safely and how to get a good nights sleep. In my presentation I talk about some of the key things that helped me with both and what research has to do with it.

You can find out more about my advocacy here.

My story is not unique, in fact it’s quite common. Many women receive their RA diagnosis after a pregnancy. I wanted to highlight the importance of investigating someone’s chronic pain and not brushing it off because they are young or appear healthy. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial with any form of inflammatory arthritis. 

To read more about my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis read this Creaky Joints article

Not just my rheumatologist helps me. I had to do a lot of my own research and consult with many different kinds of health care providers plus other patients to get to where I am today with my diagnosis. Each one has been extremely valuable in my journey with chronic illness. 

Addressing comorbidities is important for starting a proper self care and treatment routine. It took a while for me to get all of these, some may even be wrong or have changed over my duration of chronic illness  so far. Speaking up about what I am experiencing and a lot of tests later I have the answers I need to really take care of myself.

Even though I have an incredible health care team and done my research in the end it’s really up to me to make the difference in my health.

However when dealing with rheumatoid arthritis I would say it’s definitely not easy to get up and get moving some days. 

But I quickly learned once I did that exercise was one of the best medicines I could get. 

Proof of what exercise did for me. To learn more about my weight loss journey read this Women’s Health article.

When I was diagnosed with RA I thought I would never get to do some of the simple things I realized I took for granted. One of these included walking or biking the Vancouver sea wall. 

With exercise and finding my right biologic I was able to fulfill that dream of mine. 

To find out more about my medication journey with RA please read this Health Central article

Exercise took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out what works best for me. It’s important to remember that what works for one may not work for another. 

To learn more about how I strength train and what participating in research did for me, read this personal essay I wrote for Creaky Joints.

I can not stress the importance of a physiotherapist when it comes to learning how to exercise with rheumatoid arthritis. Not only can they help you with daily cardio or strength training exercises but also stretching and pain range of motion which provide pain relief. 

Now, let’s talk about the Sleep and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Good ol’ Painsomnia. 

There are many different factors that contribute to a bad night of sleep with RA. A bad night of sleep also really makes an impact on my daily living. 

To read more about how I tackle sleep and what research says about arthritis and sleep read this Arthritis Research Canada newsletter article

Tracking my health taught me so. And so many other things about my rheumatoid arthritis. 

Read more about what tracking my health did for me on Healthline.

The more active I am without over doing rest, the better I sleep and feel. 

To find out more about the benefits I found with tracking my health read this essay I wrote on Chronic Eileen

If you have any questions please feel free to leave them below or send me an email. If you think my story could benefit your conference or you would like to share it please contact me at the email provided in the slide. 

If you would like me to participate in you research study I can be contacted at the same email to discuss potential further collaboration.

To get involved in research as a patient please visit Arthritis Research Canada

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