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Fill-in-the-Blank News Release for County Health Departments
Classes Available to Help People with Arthritis

For Release: _________, 2002
Contact: (Administrator)
(Phone number)

Special Classes Help People Cope with Arthritis

Attend class on any given night and you will see how many people, both young and old, are using a self-help course to learn new skills to help them manage a debilitating disease called arthritis. One person is able to get out of the door and walk around the block again, while another is able to walk without her cane. Now, the classes are being taught locally through the ___________ County Health Department.

"More than 782,000 people in Oklahoma suffer from arthritis and over 100 related conditions. To help these people take a more active part in their arthritis care, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), _______ County Health Department and Oklahoma Arthritis Network (OAN) are collaborating with the Arthritis Foundation, to offer the six-week Arthritis Self-Help Course," said __________ County Health Department Administrator _______________. "This public health course is growing in size and popularity as more people with arthritis learn how to gain control of their lives again," _________ said.

Arthritis is a chronic condition that can be painful and debilitating. Physical limitations caused by arthritis are often accompanied by social isolation, depression, and pain.

"We hope this course will help those who have arthritis to become more functional by learning new ways to cope with this disease. The course is an effective and positive way for people with arthritis to educate and help each other," said Marisa New, occupational therapist and coordinator of the OSDH Arthritis Prevention and Education Programs.

The course is designed to complement the treatment arthritis patients receive from their physician. Class participants use a textbook, The Arthritis Helpbook, which is written in easy-to-understand language. Many of the trained leaders who teach the course have arthritis. Participants are encouraged to assume responsibility for the daily care of their arthritis, including any decisions or actions they must take to keep arthritis under control and to stay as independent as possible. The key subjects covered in the course are:

  • exercise;
  • relaxation;
  • ways to save energy and use joints wisely;
  • the role of medication and nutrition; and
  • coping with depression, pain, and other problems that result from arthritis.

Several local county health departments have begun offering the class. "Our participants in _____________ County have been extremely enthusiastic about the self-help courses. One of our success stories is ___________________________________________________," said _____________.

Studies conducted at the Stanford University Arthritis Center in California show that people with arthritis who have completed the course have less pain, tend to exercise and relax more, and have more overall knowledge about arthritis. The course also has been shown to be effective in long-term pain relief. In multiple studies, four months after beginning the course, participants demonstrated increased knowledge, decreased pain, and increased frequency of exercise and relaxation in a comparison with controls on a waiting list. At four years, the participants had a 20 percent decrease in pain and a 43 percent reduction in physician visits.

Pre-registration for the Arthritis Self-Help Course is necessary because class sizes are limited. The next courses scheduled in this area are:

  • (Date), (Location), (Town), (Phone Number )
  • (Date), (Location), (Town), (Phone Number )
  • (Date), (Location), (Town), (Phone Number )

For more information about this course, the OAN, or other statewide arthritis related public health activities, call Marisa New at 405/271-9444, ext. 56410.

OAN's mission is to increase public awareness about arthritis and related conditions and to maximize the quality of life for Oklahomans affected by these conditions through the development of resources, promotion of access to appropriate health care management, and the provision of education.

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