HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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a mild case will be treated primarily with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may be needed only during flare-ups. For those with acutely inflamed joints, corticosteroid injections may be comforting. For people with more advanced, crippling psoriatic arthritis that affects multiple joints, stronger disease- modifying anti-rheumatic drugs may be prescribed. According to the ACR, these include sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), Rheumatrex, Trexall, Otrexup, Rasuvo and others. Sometimes combina- tions of these drugs are used. Imuran may be used for severe forms of psoriatic arthritis. The anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti- TNF) drugs now available, such as Humira and Enbrel, can also help the arthritis in addition to the skin psoriasis.


Researchers throughout the world are coming up with promising new treatments. One such new treatment is the biologic therapies that block the inflammatory cytokine TNF. It may be among the most effective therapies to date.

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis (joint inflammation) that occurs mainly in those who have the skin condition psoriasis. It can occur in people without psoriasis if they have relatives with the condition.


According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), psoriasis is a disease in which scaly red and white patches develop on the skin. It is caused by the body’s immune system going into overdrive to attack the skin. Sometimes the immune system attacks the joints as well as well as the skin, causing psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis occurs in about 15 percent of patients with psoriasis. It develops in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years but can also begin in childhood. It affects any joint in the body. Some people have mild symptoms with just occasional flare-ups, while for others it is a continuous disease, often causing joint damage, especially if it is not treated promptly. For this reason, treatment generally begins at once after diagnosis. The symptoms flare and subside, even changing locations in the same person over time. About 40 percent of those with this condition have affected family members, so heredity may play a part in the causation of psoriatic arthritis.


Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:


•  joint pain and swelling that may come and go, accompanied by redness and warmth;

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS

•  tenderness at ligament and tendon attachment points in the bones, particularly the heel and bottom of the foot;

•  inflammation of the spinal column (spondylitis), which can cause stiffness and pain in the neck and lower back;

•  morning stiffness;

•  difficulty with the range of motion of joints;

•  painful swelling of the digits (they may appear  “sausage-like”);

•  thickness of skin with silver- white patches of scaly material and pitting of nails;

•  fatigue and malaise;

•  conjunctivitis (pink eye); and

•  mood changes.


Psoriatic arthritis is diagnosed by physical exam and usually presents as swollen painful joints, finger and toe involvement and certain patterns of arthritis. X-rays, MRIs, ultra-sounds and CT scans look into these joints for more detailed descriptions.


Treatment of the disease depends on the severity of symptoms. For example,

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with MSN from the University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health &Wellness magazines. She has an article in the Fall 2016 issue of Today’s Christian in the Mature Years.

more articles by jean jeffers