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A local group of the National Rheumatoid  Arthritis Society


19th March 2015 - Guest Speaker - Dr H Sari-Kouzel, Consultant Rheumatologist - The use of Ultrasound in RA

An interesting insight on how ultrasound is becoming a new tool for the early diagnosis of RA.

Dr H Sari-Kouzel, Consultant Rheumatologist, here on the Fylde coast,  described how it can be used, primarily for the smaller joints of the body, especially in the hands and feet.

It will be used, initially as a tool, to aid in the early diagnosis of RA. Just like the ‘scan’ that prospective mothers have of their baby, it will give an image of the inflammation or damage to the smaller joints of the body, that it is currently unavailable with present technology.

Its new within the area of RA, and whilst it was envisaged its use will become common, it is still early days and the training required in its use was great for both consultants and nursing staff.

A question and answer session followed.

Thank you doctor for this insight in how new technology may help all new RA patients in the early diagnosis of this disease..

19th March 2015 - Guest Speakers - Vicky, Occupational Therapist and Angela, Nurse Practitioner - Self management of RA

Vicky and Angela gave us an interesting talk, explaining about RA and the effects of the disease on our joints and body. Angela explained about the wide variety drugs - from pain relief medicines to the latest biologic drugs - and Vicky stressed the importance of taking our prescribed medication regularly. She went on to explain and educate us on how, in our everyday lives, we can make small changes that would help us to protect our joints from daily tasks. An example was in holding a cup - by supporting the cup in the flat palm of of our other hand, the joints of our fingers holding the handle of the cup would be under reduced strain. An important message from the talk was the need for us all to ‘listen to our body’ - not to ‘do it all in one day’, but to take time and plenty of rest between tasks. There was no point in doing all the hoovering in one go and then suffering the rest of the week with ‘flare ups’ and tiredness.

An important message we need to heed. Vicky and Angela answered a variety of questions raised and were then thanked for their helpful talk by our group coordinator, Lyn.

15th January 2015 - Guest Speaker - Dr S Jones - Consultant Rheumatologist - Development in RA

Dr Jones’s talk to our group was about the Developments in RA. Dr Jones informed the group that he had attended, in September 2014, the worlds largest convention on RA , The American College of Rheumatology conference, held in Boston. With 25,000 attendees from across the world, it was the leading event on RA. With lots of presentations available, Dr Jones was spoilt for choice day and evening on the speakers he wished to hear. One of the presentations he attended was on the development of the world first line therapy drug for RA, Methotrexate. Designed in the early 1950’s, it was originally designed for the treatment of child Leukaemia. Then further developed for the treatment of Psoriasis, it eventually became, in lower doses, effective in the treatment of auto-immune diseases, including RA.

There was a lot more scientific detail in Dr Jones presentation, but it helped us to have a better understanding of how newer drugs, including biologics, over a period of time, sometimes by accident, to become effective in the fight against RA.

There was so much information in Dr Jones presentation, that we will be asking him to come back and speak with the group soon, to continue this topic. - One not to miss!

After answering questions, Lyn thanked Dr Jones for his talk and the group showed their appreciation.

20th November 2014 - BADRAG 4th Birthday

Has it been four years since BADRAG was formed? We have had so many interesting and informative speakers to our meetings. So for this months meeting, we had a ‘Birthday Party’. With bingo, raffle, nibbles and plenty of our friends and supporters, the evening was a great success. With the donations and participation in our raffles, our friends and supporters have allowed us as a group to make a donation to NRAS that allows them to continue their support to all those living with RA, now and in the future.

See pictures from the party by clicking here and do come along to our meetings in 2015.

17th September 2014 - Guest Speaker - Sue McAusland - Podiatrist - Podiatry & the treatment of RA

This was the second visit to our meetings for Sue and once again she gave another informative talk on how podiatry can provide help to those with RA. With guidelines set by NICE, the Podiatry team follow the ‘Doing the right thing, To the right patient, In the right way, At the right time’. With an explanation of how RA affects the feet, Sue went on to explain how the expertise of the Podiatry team can help those of us with RA.. From the help available from the team, to what makes a ‘good’ shoe, the information provided in her talk was really useful. Sue then explained if we needed the help from the Podiatry team, then how to make contact with them. Sue then answered many questions from the group and gave practical demonstration of how to select the correct size of footware.

Thank you Sue for providing another interesting talk. Have a look at her presentation by clicking here.

17th July 2014 - Guest Speaker - Helen Jones - Pharmacist - Your RA Drugs

Helen was joined with Emma and gave us a most interesting talk on the drugs used by those with RA. Pain relief medication and how they should be taken and the effect on the body. Drugs prescribed for the management of RA, from Gold through to the newest biologic drugs. Why is Folic Acid prescribed when on Methotrexate? Why you should not mix certain drugs? How did Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate become to be used in the treatment of RA. What are the side effects of Sulfasalazine or Codine, based drugs? How do we report unexpected side effects? These questions were answered in a most informative and down-to-earth talk. Helen and Emma did a good job of putting across, in an easily understood manner, a difficult scientific topic. Pharmacy is definitely a talk to have again in the future. So do keep an eye out on our calendar of events for Helen’s return visit. Thank you Helen and Emma.


15th May 2014 - Open Forum - We all benefit from the experiences of others

For this meeting, we held an open forum to discuss and share our lives of living with RA. Janice Booth, Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner, was on hand to answer our many questions. A general discussion took place as a result of the many questions raised. Our thanks to Janice for answering all the issues raised and to all those attending for making the evening helpful and informative. I’m sure we all learned something new that will help us to live with RA. Some of the questions raised were…

How useful is ultrasound when used for investigating joint damage? I hear other hospitals use it as a regular tool, is it used in Blackpool?

How close are we to finding a solution to the problem of treating RA with the correct medication at the outset? I've had so much stuff and many years down the line I'm still suffering.

I suffer terribly with problems in my feet yet this is not taken account of in my DAS, making my score unreliable. Why is this?

Can the medication we take for RA be the cause of heart problems?

No-one seems to be able to tell me why I have RA? Surely in this day and age with so much emphasis on research someone somewhere has some answers?

Can RA lead to osteoporosis?

I've heard that having one auto-immune disorder can initiate the development of others. Is this right?

I'm taking five different medications for my RA. How do I know which are actually working? Seems less than wise to be taking tablets unnecessarily!

Can I arrange to see a physiotherapist / occupational therapist?

I have several health problems requiring consultations with three separate consultants each specialising in

their own area. At no time do they seem to come together which is worrying as how can I be sure I'm receiving the most appropriate treatment for my conditions?

To find the answers to these and the many other questions about RA, then come along to our meetings on the 3rd Thursday of alternate months. See our calendar of events for our next meeting, You will be welcomed

20th March 2014 - Guest Speaker - Vicky Crosbie. Occupational Therapist,

Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre NHS Hospitals Trust.

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