November 10-15

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ACR Convergence 2023

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New Down & Dirty 30 sessions to deliver important overviews of critical topics


4 minutes

New for ACR Convergence 2020, the Down & Dirty 30 sessions will present rheumatology professionals a high-level overview of four of the field’s most important topics.

Each of these 30-minute sessions will have their first showing on Sunday, Nov. 8. Down & Dirty 30: Therapeutic Exercise for Bone Health will start at 10 a.m., Down & Dirty 30: Therapeutic Exercise for Joint Health will follow at 10:45 a.m., Down & Dirty 30: Rheumatoid Arthritis From Diagnosis to Treatment will start at 3 p.m., with Down & Dirty 30: Psoriatic Arthritis will follow at 3:45 p.m. All sessions will also be available for registered attendees to view on demand through March 11, 2021.

During the 10 a.m. session, Laura D. Bilek, PT, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, College of Allied Health Professions, University of Nebraska Medical Center, will talk about strategies for maintaining bone health, including a look at the nuances between exercise programs, especially strength training, for younger women who have low bone mass, women who have some beginning bone loss but no fractures, and a woman who has had a fracture and is at a higher risk for more fractures.

Dr. Bilek said that those caring for patients with or at risk for osteoporosis will learn how to refer those patients to partner providers who excel at developing exercise programs designed to minimize fracture risk.

“If we think about the exercise across the continuum, the emphasis for the young and middle-aged women is to make sure they lift weights and do impact exercise at an intensity that can tell the bones to respond and modify in a way to keep them healthy,” Dr. Bilek said. “It has to be intense enough to give the bones a stimulus to respond and create change, but then when we get to someone who’s already had a fracture, we might not be able to exercise quite as hard.”

Yvonne Golightly, PhD, MS, PT
Yvonne Golightly, PhD, MS, PT

At 10:45 a.m., Yvonne Golightly, PhD, MS, PT, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present the session on exercise for joint heath. She will explain specific therapeutic exercises that support joint health along with considerations regarding exercise progression.

Some people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases may worry that exercise will worsen their joint health and their joint pain, Dr. Golightly said, but moderate physical activity provides a safe and effective way to reduce joint pain and improve function.

“When beginning therapeutic exercise programs with patients with rheumatic diseases, it is important to communicate the benefits of exercise for their joint health,” Dr. Golightly said. “Programs should begin slowly, be tailored to the patient’s abilities and goals, and should be progressed over time.”

Monica Richey, BSN, MSN, AMP-BC, GNP, a nurse practitioner in the division of rheumatology at Norwell Health in New York, will give the 3 p.m. presentation. She will use a case study format to review the path from diagnosis to treatment, focusing on presentation, labs, and medication options. Time permitting, she also will cover treatments during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those relatively new to rheumatology will benefit greatly from the session, Richey said.

“Presentation and history are the most important aspects of a rheumatology consult,” Richey said. “Labs are there to help you make a diagnosis, but they are not the final answer.”

Daniella Schwartz, MD
Daniella Schwartz, MD

The final Down & Dirty 30 session, at 3:45 p.m., will cover psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Daniella Schwartz, MD, assistant clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, will discuss the approach to diagnosing and treating PsA, focusing on recent developments, new treatments, and the 2018 ACR/National Psoriasis Foundation Guideline for the Treatment of PsA. Dr. Schwartz will emphasize that PsA patients should be monitored for common comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and that PsA care requires a treat-to-target strategy. She will also review emerging data about COVID-19 risks and telemedicine related to PsA.

“Psoriatic arthritis in underrecognized and undertreated,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Moreover, the field is rapidly evolving, and recent treatment guidelines from 2018-2019 have changed the standard-of-care approach to psoriatic arthritis.”