Arthritis forum helps people deal with pain

Arthritis forum offers informaiton about osteoarthritis and pain management.

Moe Skoropad’s rheumatoid and osteoarthritis mostly affects his hands and wrist. The disease can cause deformities and affect the use of a person’s hands over time.

Moe Skoropad knows what it’s like to live with pain.

He suffers from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2009, but said he suffered from symptoms since the early 1990s.

Still, the 60-year-old counts himself as luckier than most arthritis sufferers. His symptoms are mild.

“Most people have a lot more problems with it than me,” said Skoropad.

He hasn’t had a bad flare-up of his arthritis since he was diagnosed and his treatment began. He gets mild flare-ups, but others have far more severe pain.

On days when he is in pain, Skoropad tries to keep optimistic.

“I just try to keep moving and have a good attitude about it,” he said. “The choices are to dwell on it and feel sorry for myself or the other choice is to just get on with it. Keep moving.”

Skoropad keeps active to lessen his symptoms.

He’s always led an active life, but now the only sport he participates in is golf and he just does it for fun and exercise. He makes sure he also goes for walks and does resistance training.

“The more exercise, within limits, the better. The important thing is to keep moving,” said Skoropad.

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause deformities, especially in the hands. Skoropad has started to get some mild deformities in his hand, a finger that is a little more crooked than others, but it’s mild and he can still function.

Skoropad is among the more than 600,000 British Columbians who suffered from some form of arthritis in 2010.

The disease affects about 10 per cent of Canada’s population. About one in seven British Columbians live with osteoarthritis. Arthritis, while often seen as a disease that only affect the elderly, can strike

People dealing with the disease can turn to The Arthritis Society for help.

The society is holding the Osteoarthritis and Pain Public Forum in Nanaimo Wednesday (Nov. 16) at the Beban Park Complex from 6-8 p.m. The forum is free. To register for the forum please call 1-866-414-7766. Pre-registration is encouraged and people can register up to the day of the event or at the beginning of the forum.

Skoropad said the forums are great places to connect with other people suffering from arthritis and get information such as simple everyday tricks to manage the disease.

“The more I know about my condition, the better off I am,” he said. “From going to the forum, you pick up little things that help you in your everyday life,”

For more information on The Arthritis Society, please go to www.arthritis.ca.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

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