As a former professional dancer and competitive ballroom-dance instructor, Lauren knew the importance staying in tune with her body. However, after dismissing the pains she had been feeling, blaming other factors such as exercise and work, Lauren was eventually diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Unfortunately, this is the story shared by many. About 1 million Americans are affected by psoriatic arthritis and the early signs of the condition are often dismissed and attributed to other lifestyle factors.
This is why Lauren has joined the DOUBLE TAKE campaign alongside pop icon and entrepreneur Lance Bass to share her personal story, raise awareness of the signs of the condition and empower people to take action when it comes to psoriatic arthritis.
Lauren was a dance instructor and a married mom of two young boys when she started experiencing pain in her feet. She convinced herself that she had injured herself working out and thought she had broken both of her feet. While getting an x-ray, the podiatrist noticed psoriasis patches on her knees and ankle (which she had had for over 7 years) and she was referred to a rheumatologist who diagnosed her with psoriatic arthritis.
“When I found out I had a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, I was worried, what did it mean for my training? What does it mean for day-to-day life? Does this mean it is never going to get better?” said Lauren.
Adapting to a New Way of Life
After trying to continue with life as a dance instructor, Lauren realised she would have to leave that part of her life behind which was a devastating blow. Lauren also had to change how she was exercising to find the right balance between her fatigue and motivation to keep going. She stayed home with her two boys for a while but feeling like she had something to share with the world, Lauren decided to get her personal training certificate and become a certified nutrition coach. Lauren now trains clients full-time, in person and online.
“Personal training is a way for me to continue to be active and is more manageable than continually doing dance moves. I can now sit on a bench if I need too when I teach people which wasn’t an option before.” said Lauren. “I have found a way to work around the illness which was holding me back.”
The Importance of Doing a DOUBLE TAKE
At the time of her diagnosis, Lauren didn’t realise that psoriatic arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease which causes swelling in the joints along with tenderness and pain and can develop in up to 30% of people who suffer from psoriasis.
“Never in a million years did I think that my itchy skin patches could be related to my excruciating joint pain.” said Lauren. “Once I found the right doctor and talked to her about available treatments and the journey through them, I started on medication and my joint pain got much better.”
For these reasons, Lauren was excited to join the Double Take campaign alongside Lance Bass to encourage people to take another look at all the symptoms they are experiencing, raise awareness of the signs of psoriatic arthritis and take action.
“The Double Take dance is a fun way for people to check the symptoms that they are feeling and potentially make a connection between them and psoriatic arthritis” said Lauren “As a former dancer I know that dance is a source of happiness for people and to use this as a way of educating people can be really impactful.”
Lauren shared this message for those living with psoriatic arthritis:
“My biggest piece of advice would be to listen to your body when you feel like something's not right, don't wait for it to get worse, and if you have any of these symptoms, tell your doctor. My story shows how my psoriatic arthritis presented but it isn’t the same for everyone. If I had known the signs earlier, I could have talked to my doctor sooner. The good news is, that thanks to science, there are treatment options that can help.”
To watch the Double Take Dance and learn more about the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis visit www.PsADoubleTake.com.