Patient Stories May Provide Real Help via Social Media

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70 Patient stories on RA Warrior

Today we add eight new stories to the RA onset story pages! Patients tell their own stories of how their Rheumatoid Arthritis developed and how they found a diagnosis. There are currently 70 Rheumatoid Arthritis patient stories on this site. There are 3 reasons I created these pages:

  1. I found other patient’s stories to be extremely helpful to me. I hope others will have the same experience.
  2. Together, we can create a more accurate picture of Rheumatoid Arthritis for family members, doctors, care givers, and the general public. We will show the world what RA does to a person.
  3. I believe that some clues to earlier diagnosis and treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis lie in our stories. Perhaps the evidence we gather here will inspire scientists or doctors to be able to improve diagnosis or treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Maybe we can even provide clues which will help lead to a cure for RA.

Patients find the stories helpful while looking for diagnosis or confirmation of symptoms. Could there be even more value in telling patients’ stories? Perhaps hearing someone who’s walked this long road gives strength to continue the fight against a harsh disease. Maybe there is encouragement to try new treatments or continue with a treatment in spite of difficult side effects?

Patient stories improve patients’ health

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that hearing other patients’ stories effectively improves the condition of high blood pressure patients. A small study showed that just listening to stories from patients like them brought as great a reduction in blood pressure as medication for some patients. Their conclusion: “the storytelling produced substantial and significant improvements in blood pressure.”

Of course “Additional studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms through which storytelling works, address more long-term follow-up, and test similar interventions for different populations and conditions.” Patient stories will never replace medical treatment of RA, but they may be valuable for more reasons than we realize. Tracy Manning, MA, RA patient and lecturer of psychology commented, “Lists of symptoms and explanations of disease process are one thing, but personal stories offer a rich descriptive of what it is like to discover and live with a disease.”

Recommended reading:

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 5:00 am and is filed under Living with RA / Managing RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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