In a nationwide public service announcement, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw urges fellow rheumatic disease patients to take the pledge to manage their disease and live well.
Bradshaw, a sports broadcaster, is the official spokesman for September’s Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month program sponsored by the ACR.
“Flare-ups aren’t fun, which is why I follow the orders of my rheumatologist,” Bradshaw said. “Eating healthy, staying active, not smoking, taking my meds and managing my stress all keep me going. I’ve also committed to my health by taking the American College of Rheumatology’s pledge to live well with rheumatic disease – and you should, too!”
The ACR, founded in 1934, is the U.S.’ leading advocacy organization of rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals who are committed to improving patient care for those living with rheumatic diseases, including juvenile arthritis.
There is no cure for rheumatic diseases, but managing symptoms to reduce pain and slow down disease progression can improve a patient’s quality of life. In September, patients are encouraged to “take the pledge to live well” at SimpleTasks.org/Pledge.
In taking the pledge, patients commit to a lifestyle that will help them manage rheumatic disease. The lifestyle changes include:
- Taking care of their own mental health to help reduce stress and deal with the disease with an open mindset.
- Regular exercise to improve joint function, delay disability, and reduce pain.
- A balanced, healthy diet that helps control inflammation.
- Active participation in health management by identifying the causes and triggers of flare-ups using self-management techniques.
- Being aware of policies that influence disease care and advocating for them.
Those who take the pledge also will receive a wristband and pedometer in a care package from Simple Tasks to help them achieve their goals. Participants will be automatically entered into a chance to win a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey signed by Bradshaw.
In the U.S., rheumatic diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, gout, osteoarthritis, and several other conditions, are a leading cause of disability affecting both the elderly and children.
Patients are urged to maintain a healthy lifestyle and consult a rheumatologist.
“Taking an active role in your health care can significantly improve quality of life when living with rheumatic disease,” David Daikh, MD, PhD, president of the ACR, said in a press release.
“Regular exercise can reduce joint pain and improve mobility, reducing stress associated with increased flare-ups and improving quality of life. I encourage all individuals who live with a rheumatic disease to take the pledge, discuss appropriate exercises with your rheumatology provider, and make a commitment to live well,” Daikh said.