Living with Arthritis - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Living with Arthritis

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It is often thought of as an old persons disease, but arthritis can affect anyone at any age. One in five Americans suffer from it.

Amanda Simenson is expecting her first baby in August. But at 29 years old Amanda's pregnancy is a little more complicated than most. She has Rheumatoid Arthritis.

"I was diagnosed 12 days before my 23 birthday the symptoms came on really quickly" says Simenson

For Amanda the pain started in her feet eventually spreading to her knees hips and hands.

"Its kinda of an aching depending on the day, a stabbing,a burning." says Simenson

Arthritis destroys the cartilage in between joints leaving bone on bone. "When that happens the muscles are not aligned anymore so the hands get very weak and the feet get weak and there are so many tiny bones in the hands and the feet." says Vatnsdal

As the joints weaken the pain gets worse.

Medcenter One Occupational Therapist Cory Vatnsdal says because there is no cure for Arthritis the best thing person can do is learn to adapt. "I don't have the dexterity, I use too or the strength so its harder to get things open but I have my husband for that." says Simenson.

Amanda says medications that stop the diseases progression have helped keep her symptoms minimal. But when she got pregnant she had to switch to less affective medication.

"I've been able to stay on a medication that's safe during pregnancy that's been able to manage the pain but I still get achy." says Simenson

For Amanda the aches and pains are nothing compared to the joy of being able to live her life just the way she hoped.

"When you first get diagnosed you think your life is over but once you get on the right medication you are able to live a normal life." says Simenson

May is Arthritis Awareness month. On Saturday Medecenter One is hosting the National Arthritis Foundation's annual walk. The walk will start from the Medcenter's Women's Health Center in Bismarck. The money raised goes to research for the disease.

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