This article from Dr. Mercola focuses on the rising incidence of food allergies. It doesn’t make the point that most affects us – that food allergies can cause unexpected symptoms like Rheumatoid Arthritis – and it gives the usual tired list of common food allergens instead of noting that food allergies are entirely unique to our own experience. Nor does anyone except us seem to recognize that food allergies can often be handled, with the exception of extreme allergies, with the rotation diet.
Nevertheless, recognizing the impact and common-ness of food allergies is a step in the right direction.
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As part of a ‘Choosing Wisely’ campaign aimed at eliminating unnecessary, and costly, medical procedures, professional societies representing 17 medical disorders have compiled a list of 90 – 90! – tests and screening procedures that should be restricted because they are largely useless. These are tests given to patients in hospitals and doctors offices daily that raise our health care costs while doing us no good.
The rheumatology suggestions are the following:
Less inappropriate ANA screening
Do not test for ANA subserologies without a positive ANA, since most subserologies are negative if the ANA is negative.
Fewer Lyme Tests
Stop testing for Lyme disease with no exposure history.
Stop the MRIs used for routine monitoring and stop the annual DXAs for bone density since DXAs are largely unreliable.
RA: Try Methotrexate First
Don’t rush to prescribe dangerous biologics without trying less lethal drugs first.
For those of us who have been on the receiving end of these unnecessary, often useless, and sometimes dangerous tests, this list is not a happy one.
To find out about other useless tests routinely performed on us in the offices of other sub-specialists go to the ‘Choosing Wisely’ website. You’ll have to register to see the article but it’s worth it.
Some readers don’t consider it necessary to try the dietary solution for Rheumatoid Arthritis, advocated on this site, as a prerequisite to telling us it doesn’t work. I hope that you get the same feeling of bemusement that I do as I sort through them. (They were not approved for publication so you won’t find them in the comments section.)
From an M.D.
RA is a serious autoimmune disease that cripples the population affected by it. The stories with diet are for uneducated housewives. My advice, get a proper assessment from a specialised health care professional instead of reading unsubstantiated claims, such as these posted on this website. Please, could you cite a randomised controlled study on diet in RA? Of course not. If you think it is not needed you are the living proof of the uneducated public
So, in addition to being delusional and ignorant, we are really, REALLY, bad off. He didn’t bother to check the research himself before insisting that it didn’t exist. And he didn’t mention all those randomized clinical trials – the gold standard for the medical profession – that have been found to be fraudulent, inaccurately interpreted, poorly designed, or contaminated by a conflict of interest. I spent a public health career examining them and lost my reverence for medical research long ago.
Unfortunately, this physician is in a position to convince any number of us that he knows best. He certainly sounds like an authority, doesn’t he?
Well, he isn’t. You are. Every day. Don’t let questionable authorities derail your health.
And then this:
I have never seen so much misinformation in one place. You should be ashamed of yourselves for misleading people like this.
This one seems different. Still blind but more an unwillingness to believe, as though the writer has paid a price for the disorder. It makes me sad to think of all those who have needlessly invested their health in dead ends – like biologics – or false beliefs. No matter the journey so far, everyone with RA can feel better, be healthier, and probably live longer, if they switch their therapy from pharmaceuticals to diet. The devastation that can be caused by RA is simply unnecessary.
Can you take one more?
I get emails like this fairly often from folks who don’t invest fully in the program. It’s like they made a half-hearted effort and decided it didn’t work.
I’m just becoming more and more skeptical about RA. This website states it has been proven that RA is a food sensitivity and not a disease, but where is the literature and study’s to back that up? I eat a relatively clean diet ~ lots and lots of fruits and vegetables, barely anything processed (maybe a graham cracker or so), I try to make everything myself, but still my RA is just not budging. This is why I feel diet may not be the exact cause.
I’ve said over and over that no one can predict what food any individual will be allergic to. A paleo diet will not work if one is sensitive to meat – or saturated fat. A vegetarian diet will not work if one is sensitive to a vegetable eaten. A homemade diet will not work if one is sensitive to a specific ingredient. Rheumatoid Arthritis is the result of individual food intolerances, not those of a group.
Each person has to keep a journal and keep track of what is eaten and when, and how one feels afterward. Anyone who uses the 3-day fast – NOT 2 DAYS – will have no doubt that food is the problem and the solution.
The real issue, as one commenter admitted, was that she didn’t believe that RA had a simple fix that she could implement herself.
I feel like that one is beyond my ability.
I have used this site in the past to warn about using Fosamax and other biophosphates, sold by Big Pharma as a panacea for osteoporosis, because they have a well documented history for causing the death of the jawbone. Martha Rosenberg has a recent column addressing this issue. I’m including a link to it as well as the article, reprinted below, because RA affects many older women who are often prescribed this drug to address what is essentially, for most, a phantom issue created by the medical profession that will never cause us problems: osteoporosis.
Read it and evaluate carefully how much power you are willing to hand to your prescribing physician.
As early as 2004, Merck knew its blockbuster osteoporosis drug Fosamax was causing osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) after in-office dental procedures and ridiculed afflicted patients. The condition, also called jawbone death, occurs when traumatized tissue doesn’t heal but becomes “necrotic” and dies. “Ma toot hurts so bad” mimicked Merck bone scientist Don Kimmel in a 2004 email to Merck health science consultant Sharon Scurato about the type of patient who was developing ONJ. Such a patient “could be an oral hog,” wrote Kimmel, then a bone scientist in Merck’s department of Molecular Endocrinology/Bone Biology and trained as a dentist–someone with pre-existing infections and periodontal disease who omits preventative care.Newly available emails and internal Merck documents reveal the company was far from concerned or surprised when ONJ-links to Fosamax surfaced in the early 2000′s and launched elaborate spin campaigns to keep the $3 billion a year pill afloat. In fact, animal studies revealed ONJ in rats given bisphosphonates (the class of drugs Fosamax belongs to) as early as 1977 Kimmel admitted under oath in 2008.
Patient beware by Martha RosenbergThousands of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who say they developed ONJ after dental procedures like tooth extraction because they took Fosamax. Treating ONJ is almost impossible said dentists and oral surgeons quoted by the Review-Journal in 2005, because “further surgery in an effort to correct the problem only exacerbates it, leaving the patient with even more exposed bone and even more disï¬gured,” Jaw removal, bone grafts, and even tracheostomies were reported by the News-Press in 2006. “Even short-term oral use of alendronate [Fosamax] led to ONJ in a subset of patients after certain dental procedures were performed,” read a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association in 2009.
Besides attributing ONJ to patients’ bad oral hygiene and, tautologically, their advanced years, Merck withheld crucial safety data from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) when the group sought to develop a position paper on bisphosphonate-related ONJ. Of 428 suspected ONJ cases related to Fosamax, 378 of which were highly likely to be ONJ, only 50 cases were shared with ASBMR, according to court documents. “I see the 50 with regard to the postmarketing,” admitted Thomas Bold, Merck’s director of clinical risk management and safety surveillance in 2009, upon viewing the slides Merck provided to ASBMR. “I don’t see 378 mentioned and I don’t know why that is the case,” he conceded.
Though Don Kimmel (of the “ma toot” joke) was prepared for questioning by Merck lawyers, he said, for “approximately 60 hours,” he was similarly confused under oath. He did not remember collaborating with researcher Jack Gotcher until he was shown their co-written paper. “Yes. This looks to be an experiment that Jack did,” he allowed, but, when asked “Why is your name on it?” replied, “I think [I] assisted in it, and we talked about it.”
Kimmel, an animal research expert who served as longtime Director of Animal Experimentation at Merck, also disagreed with colleague Gotcher’s conclusions in a PowerPoint presentation that bisphosphonate drugs “caused ONJ” in rats. Despite decades of his own related research in rats, Kimmel said, “It’s not proven that a rat is a reliable model of producing ONJ,” and “Dr. Gotcher has a viewpoint.” Nor was Kimmel certain about the applicability of experiments on dogs and rabbits to bisphosphonate effects in humans. There’s no loss of bone in dogs on the drugs, he lamented, “even when you take their ovaries out” and Merck is repeating already completed human experiments on the drugs on rabbits to build lacking “confidence in the rabbit as an animal model.”
Kimmel was less doubtful about the noxiousness of the ONJ condition itself and admitted to writing “Ooooh! Ickkkkk! Yuckkk! It’s ONJ,” on an informational slide he prepared about ONJ. But when asked if “That’s a fair way to describe ONJ, it’s icky, yucky, it’s something you don’t want to have, right?” Kimmel responded, “The outcome of ONJ is a lot different than the early cases.” END
The complete story of bisphosphonate-linked ONJ is found in Martha Rosenberg’s acclaimed expose, Born With a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus Books, 2012).
This op-ed article, written by TV personality and M.D. Sanjay Gupta, was published in the New York Times.
Note that he says that an astounding number of prescriptions are administered without justification, in casual disregard of the sometimes deadly interactions.
Note also the unbelievable number of medical mistakes that are estimated to cause deaths – 200,000 in 2012. Medical mistakes and prescription drugs are believed to be one of the top 5 causes of death in the U.S. each year.
I continue to urge you to heal yourself whenever possible instead of relying on the medical profession. And with a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is certainly possible.
More Treatment, More Mistakes
by Sanjay Gupta
DOCTORS make mistakes. They may be mistakes of technique, judgment, ignorance or even, sometimes, recklessness. Regardless of the cause, each time a mistake happens, a patient may suffer. We fail to uphold our profession’s basic oath: “First, do no harm.”
According to a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine, as many as 98,000 Americans were dying every year because of medical mistakes. Today, exact figures are hard to come by because states don’t abide by the same reporting guidelines, and few cases gain as much attention as that of Rory Staunton, the 12-year-old boy who died of septic shock this spring after being sent home from a New York hospital. But a reasonable estimate is that medical mistakes now kill around 200,000 Americans every year. That would make them one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Why have these mistakes been so hard to prevent?
Here’s one theory. It is a given that American doctors perform a staggering number of tests and procedures, far more than in other industrialized nations, and far more than we used to. Since 1996, the percentage of doctor visits leading to at least five drugs’ being prescribed has nearly tripled, and the number of M.R.I. scans quadrupled.
Certainly many procedures, tests and prescriptions are based on legitimate need. But many are not. In a recent anonymous survey, orthopedic surgeons said 24 percent of the tests they ordered were medically unnecessary. This kind of treatment is a form of defensive medicine, meant less to protect the patient than to protect the doctor or hospital against potential lawsuits.
Herein lies a stunning irony. Defensive medicine is rooted in the goal of avoiding mistakes. But each additional procedure or test, no matter how cautiously performed, injects a fresh possibility of error. CT and M.R.I. scans can lead to false positives and unnecessary operations, which carry the risk of complications like infections and bleeding. The more medications patients are prescribed, the more likely they are to accidentally overdose or suffer an allergic reaction. Even routine operations like gallbladder removals require anesthesia, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
So what do we do to be safer? Many smart people have tackled this question. Peter Pronovost at Johns Hopkins developed a checklist shown to bring hospital-acquired infections down to close to zero. There are rules against disturbing nurses while they dispense medications and software that warns doctors when patients’ prescriptions will interact badly. There are policies designed to empower nurses to confront doctors if they see something wrong, even if a senior doctor is at fault.
What may be even more important is remembering the limits of our power. More — more procedures, more testing, more treatment — is not always better. In 1979, Stephen Bergman, under the pen name Dr. Samuel Shem, published rules for hospitals in his caustically humorous novel, “The House of God.” Rule No. 13 reads: “The delivery of medical care is to do as much nothing as possible.” First, do no harm.
One place where I have seen these issues addressed is in Morbidity and Mortality, or M and M — a weekly gathering of doctors, off limits to the public, which serves in most hospitals as a forum for the discussion of mistakes, complications, deaths and unusual cases. It is a sort of quality-assurance conference where doctors hold one another accountable and learn from one another’s mistakes. They are some of the most candid and indelible meetings I have ever attended.
I will never forget when one of our most talented surgeons operated on the wrong side of someone’s brain. The patient was bleeding internally; everyone was rushing, and someone had hung up the CT scans backward. Thankfully, the patient survived. The distraught doctor spent hours throwing up following the operation.
After he told the story in our M and M meeting, the hospital implemented a “time out” protocol in the operating room for everyone to stop and agree on what operation would be performed, on what side of the body, and whether the correct patient was indeed lying on the operating table, to make sure that kind of mistake would never happen again.
At my first M and M as a medical student, I heard the story of a patient who had received antibiotics for an upper respiratory tract infection. Two weeks later she developed joint pain and blisters on her chest and arms, a condition known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which can be caused by an allergic reaction to antibiotics. She ended up with sepsis, a bodywide infection, and spent two weeks in intensive care. She, too, survived, but most stunning was the doctor’s admission that her original ailment had been a mild viral illness — she hadn’t even needed the antibiotics that led to such a terrible reaction. Years later, that case still makes me think harder about every test I order and every medication I prescribe.
Hospitals are supposed to take care of the sickest members of our society and uphold the highest standards of patient care. But hospitals are also charged with teaching doctors, and every doctor has a first mistake. The only thing we can do is learn each time one happens, and reduce future errors in the process. Having a consistent gathering to talk about the mistakes goes a long way toward that goal, and just about any institution, public or private, could benefit from a tradition like M and M. It is not enough to stop the practice of defensive medicine, but when doctors are asked by their colleagues to justify the tests they ordered and the procedures they performed, perhaps they will be reminded that more is not always better.
New York Times, July 31, 2012
Sanjay Gupta, the associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital (Atlanta) and the chief medical correspondent for CNN, is the author of the novel “Monday Mornings.”
RA is finally being recognized as what it is: a set of symptoms – a syndrome – and not a disease. The importance of this admission is huge. If RA is not a disease, as it is now regarded by most of the medical establishment, researchers can begin looking for an underlying cause instead of considering the consequences of the disorder as the disease itself. There is an ocean of difference between the a syndrome and a disease.
The fact that it is not a disease is the reason Rheumatoid Arthritis is never a cause of death. Examples of other syndromes that are not diseases include irritable bowel, chronic fatigue, and mental illnesses. In each case, they are the result of something else and not a cause by themselves.
This is the best description I’ve seen of the difference between the two:
A syndrome refers to a group of symptoms, while a disease refers to an established condition.
A disease is a condition that is marked by 3 basic factors.
- An established biological cause behind the condition
- A defined group of symptoms
- Consistent change in anatomy due to the condition
A syndrome does not have any of these features. Even the symptoms that are present are usually not consistent, and definitely not traceable to a single cause. [Italics mine]
1. The symptom caused by a syndrome does not have an established reason behind it. In case of a disease, the cause is identified.
2. For the reason above, treatment of a syndrome is mainly symptomatic. In case of a disease, the underlying cause is treated.
3. A disease causes changes in the anatomy; a syndrome may not produce any such changes.
So what is the underlying condition that is the cause of the symptoms of RA? A growing body of evidence suggests that RA is an allergic reaction to foods. The actual disease causing our symptoms is in the ‘allergy’ category. That is very good news for us since it is within our ability to control our exposure to allergens.
Controlling exposure to food allergens is what this blog is about. As many of us can attest, we can completely eliminate the RA syndrome ourselves.
This article is by Martha Rosenberg, originally published at OpEdNews.com. It reiterates a warning against supposed bone-strengthening drugs, like Fosomax, previously published here. This is another warning that we dare not ignore.
by Martha Rosenberg
Like Vioxx, Merck’s expensive “super aspirin” that caused thousands of cardiovascular events before being recalled, Merck’s Fosamax, the first bisphosphonate bone drug, flew out of the FDA with only a six-month review.
And like Vioxx, the true dangers of the drug class (that includes Fosamax, Boniva and Reclast) only surfaced after being “tested” on the guinea pig known as John Q Public.
Now, people are asking why the bone drugs were ever approved.
Like Vioxx, there were early indications of Fosamax’s risks but they did not prevent wide marketing. Merck received 1,213 adverse-effect reports soon after the drug’s approval, which included 32 hospitalized patients with adverse esophageal effects, 17 with “severe” effects, and two who were “temporarily disabled,” reported the New England Journal of Medicine. One woman who took Fosamax and only remained upright for 30 minutes not 60 minutes as directions say, had to be admitted to the Mayo Clinic with “severe ulcerative esophagitis affecting the entire length of the esophagus” and had to be fed intravenously.
And there were other safety signals. Bisphosphonate patients were found to be at greater risk for osteonecrosis of the jaw–death of the jawbone–after in-office dental procedures. They were found to be at greater risk for irregular heart beat, intractable pain and at double the risk of esophageal cancer, according to medical reports.
Continue reading: Why Were These Drugs Approved?
An FDA panel approved another new pharmaceutical to defeat the immune system, for use as a last resort by Rheumatoid Arthritis patients who don’t respond to other drugs. The drug, tofacitinib, made by Pfizer, is expected to earn the company billions, just as some of their other blockbusters, like Viagra and Lipitor, are coming off patent and will in the future be generic and affordable. We can probably assume there will be no shortages, as there has been with the inexpensive generic methotrexate.
Tofacitinib belongs to a new class of drugs called JAK inhibitors which cripples the immune system through a slightly different mechanism than previous biologics which have all been TNF inhibitors. TNF stands for ‘tumor necrosis factor’, medical shorthand that means the drug disables the body’s ability to fight cancer. Does that sound like something you want to do to yourself?
There are several reasons for the never ending stream of new immune-suppressing drugs.
1: Although people with RA constitute only 1% of the population, the drugs we use are extremely expensive and extremely profitable for the manufacturers. The endless ads that Big Pharma runs in prime time are a testament to the big bucks it makes from these ‘blockbuster’ drugs that we erroneously have been lead to believe are necessary to our well being.
2: Almost half of us will get no relief from any given drug, so we keep trying until we find one that works. This fact alone keeps chemists busy. Anytime they introduce a new drug they know before its even approved that there is a huge market that will not benefit from it and will need to try something else. In the words of a Pfizer VP:
“The (rheumatoid arthritis) patient population needs additional treatment options and Pfizer looks forward to working with the FDA on next steps.”
3: The human body develops a tolerance for RA drugs used too often, so doctors increase the dose to get the same effect. With the extremely dangerous drugs used for RA, there is eventually a limit to how much risk can be allowed, even by a medical system trained to dispense risk with wild abandon. When no longer effective, the drug goes into the dust bin and another one is substituted, until the string runs out, no more drugs are available that aren’t absolutely lethal, and we are left to control the disorder on our own. Lucky for us, that is so do-able.
There was a lot of speculation that this drug would not be approved because it has caused many problems for patients in clinical trials. Those problems include raising cholesterol levels, liver damage, serious infections, cancer and a number of deaths. As with all drugs, the side effects listed by the manufacturer include only those found so far. They are not necessarily the only ones caused by the drug.
Continue reading: New RA Drug Tofacitinib – The String Runs Out
Something strange and ominous is happening to young people, especially women but also to lesser numbers of men. They are dying of sudden heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction, AMI) without the classic symptoms of heart disease, chest pain or blocked arteries. They die quickly, as though struck by lightning.
Every year since accounting began, there has been a tiny number of persons in the U.S. who died abruptly for no apparent reason. In fact, the annual list of mortality statistics issued by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics included ‘unknown cause’ as a category, along with heart disease, cancer, stroke, and so on, until about 10 years ago. It was about that time that I called a statistician at NCHS to ask if the number dying for unknown reasons was going up. His answer was a definite and frustrated ‘Yes!’
Federal biostatisticians go to considerable lengths to determine a cause for every death on U.S. soil. People are simply not allowed to die without a good reason. And yet, despite their best efforts, there was a rising number of deaths that no one could account for.
NCHS appears to have solved the problem and now everyone who dies can be placed in an acceptable category. Since each death involves a heart that stops beating, deaths for ‘unknown’ reasons have become deaths from ‘heart attacks.’
A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association sounded an alarm and made the evening news: increases in the number of heart attack deaths between 1996 and 2004, occurring in young, healthy and symptom-free women has shocked the medical community. Deaths from ‘unknown causes’ remain and now happen often enough to have the attention of physicians, researchers and the government.
In the dry but riveting language of a medical journal:
The risk among [young] women relative to men … is not … explained by differences in MI severity, comorbidity, or treatment. ….
The reasons for this age-dependent disparity in mortality [for younger women] are not clear.
Translation: We haven’t a clue what is going on.
Continue reading: Heart Attack Without Heart Disease: The Chickens Come Home
We get a check up at the doctor’s office. Lab results show that the iron circulating in our blood, our hemoglobin, is a bit low. We’re anemic.
Iron is an important nutrient that plays a key role in transporting oxygen through the bloodstream to all body tissues. It is a necessary and complex mineral.
Your doctor may tell you, as mine did me, that you need to take an iron supplement. According to those who study iron, anemia, and chronic disease, this is exactly the wrong advice.
Continue reading: The Anemia of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism reported last month that even if you are taking MTX, are symptom free, and have been pronounced in remission by your physician, you can still sustain joint damage. In the past we’ve talked about the corruption of the word ‘remission’ as it is now applied to RA. Remission used to mean a spontaneous, although possibly temporary, disappearance of symptoms. These days it means an improvement of symptoms while the person is taking drugs, and the remission goes away when the drugs are discontinued.
Continue reading: Methotrexate Doesn’t Stop Damage from Rheumatoid Arthritis
Automobile accidents are no longer the most common cause of accidental death in the U.S. That distinction now belongs to legally prescribed drugs, both prescription and over the counter.
A number of drugs on the list of horrors are used for pain control by those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
We’re used to thinking that drug deaths are caused by back alley deals in smack, crystal meth or other illegal substances, but not true. The real killers are the ones prescribed legally by doctors, “… approved by the government, manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and sold to the consumer as ‘medicine.’”
In 2008, the latest year for which complete statistics are available, 41,000 people died of inadvertent drug poisoning. As the author of the study says, these deaths are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mortality caused by modern chemistry, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and usually classified as painkillers, sedatives or stimulants. It doesn’t include suicides, drug interactions, allergic reactions or deaths where drugs were an unidentified cause.
The common denominator among the most deadly drugs is their ability to create addiction and dependency.
Please note: All drugs, without exception, are poison and can result in deadly harm to the human body. A common cause of drug induced death is liver failure, when the liver is overwhelmed by a struggle to clear pollution from the blood and is poisoned itself. If you become ill with nausea, vomiting, or other symptoms of unknown cause, you should immediately stop taking all medication until you are well again, and then re-evalute your drug regimen.
NAUSEA IS A COMMON EARLY SYMPTOM OF LIVER FAILURE AND DARE NOT BE IGNORED.
Here is a list of drugs commonly associated with poisoning and emergency room visits in 2009, excerpted from AlterNet. Note the number of those drugs that have been prescribed for you or that you bought over-the-counter at your local drug store.
Continue reading: The Ten Most Dangerous Drugs in America
This physician, quoted below from a medical journal, is wow’d by the massive changes that have occurred in the treatment of RA in the past 10-20 years, meaning the increasing use of biologics. Most fascinating is his statement that standard practice in earlier years was ‘poison.’
Does it make you wonder what the current reliance on biologics will be called in the future?
Continue reading: Rheumatologist: “I pushed alot of … poisons.” Didn’t help patients.
Because research has shown for decades that Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disorder caused by food sensitivities, (also called ‘allergies’ or ‘intolerances’) we who deal with RA every day would like to know how to identify those evil-doers as quickly and easily as possible, and yesterday, please. Finding out for ourselves what is causing our problem takes dedication, a Long Time, and can be most frustrating. It seems like there should be an easy test that would answer all our questions about the foods we should avoid and make our lives Simple Again.
Well, the bad news is that there isn’t, but its not for lack of trying. All manner of skin and blood tests have been developed to isolate the markers for symptoms caused by food, and a some of them are for sale on the internet by people who should know better.
The basic problem is the complexity of our bodies. The tests are simple. Our bodies are not.
If you use medical testing to find your own food intolerances, you should be aware that the tests will always identify foods that may be causing trouble. After the test, you will indeed get a list of foods to avoid. The problem is that the food testing does not produce reliable results and chances are very good that your list will be inaccurate.
None of the tests now being used is valid to answer our question: What foods should I avoid?
Continue reading: Testing for Food Allergies ??? Not So Much.
It’s happened again. An acquaintance told me about his mother’s death which was attributed to pneumonia. What actually happened was that her prescription medication made her so sick that she vomited and aspirated, which means that she inhaled the gunk from her stomach into her lungs causing her lungs to fill with fluid. That allowed her death to enter the world of mortality statistics as pneumonia when the true cause — prescribed pharmaceuticals– remains hidden.
. . . sigh . . . .
Side effects are built into every drug we take, no exceptions. The side effects may seem minor, like insomnia or anemia, or we may know immediately that we’re in trouble.
Lethal side effects may occur suddenly and without warning, like the bleed-outs caused by aspirin and other NSAIDS or the liver failure associated with acetaminophen (Tylenol).
My suggestion for dealing with side effects is to stop taking the drugs. Why endanger your life when you can eliminate the inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and most likely other inflammatory autoimmune conditions, by changing your diet. Yes, it can take some effort, but it is free and will not kill you.
Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, are exactly the opposite. They cost a fortune and may kill you, as they have thousands of others, but taking a pill requires no effort.
You have to choose.
Until you have removed pharmaceuticals from your life, here are some suggestions for dealing with side effects from people who know a lot about drug side effects: the Arthritis Foundation, with my critique, of course.
Continue reading: Handling Drug Side Effects – Rheumatoid Arthritis Version
A food diary, also called a food journal or a food log, is recommended for a long list of reasons. Food journals are often used to monitor nutrition (are you getting enough fiber? Vitamin A?) or, commonly, for weight loss to keep track of calories.
But it is also recommended increasingly to monitor disease activity. Web sites for Crohns Disease, kidney disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) , Ulcerative Colitis, acid reflux, Celiac Disease, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, allergies, and more, are making the crucial connection between what we eat and our health.
Nowhere is that connection better established than with Rheumatoid Arthritis. An accumulating body of research as well as our own experience indicates clearly that Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disorder caused by food intolerance.
As discussed in other recent posts, the key to vanquishing RA is the rotation diet, eating any food no more often than once every four days. This eliminates the problem of low level reactions to minimally hazardous foods that build in our bodies until our immune system can no longer ignore them. The rotation diet gives our bodies the time it needs to clear the food molecules that disrupt our immune system before adding more of them.
The way to maintain a successful rotation diet is to maintain an accurate food diary.
Here’s how to do it:
Continue reading: Key to a ‘Cure’ for Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Food Diary
The collection of advice about RA flares found in a search of Google predictably misses the mark. What we call ‘flares’ can affect almost anyone with an autoimmune disorder and are well known to those with Rheumatoid Arthritis. They are a sudden increase in inflammatory symptoms, pain, fatigue, swollen joints, any or all of the above.
If you believe what you read in articles posted on Google and at the Arthritis Foundation, you will think that flares are an unpredictable act of God over which you are helpless. Since ‘experts’ on RA are all very well versed in pharmaceuticals, their advice is always the same: increase or change your meds until you regain control.
That advice is complete and undiluted hogwash.
It is especially disappointing coming from the Arthritis Foundation’s publication Arthritis Today which recently ran an article entitled Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet: RA and Food Allergies concluding: “A new study suggests that food allergies may be linked to RA, after all.”
Continue reading: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Flares: The Real Story
One of the things we who are affected fear most is passing Rheumatoid Arthritis on to our children and grandchildren. So, exactly how frightened should we be?
I’ve told my daughter to quit worrying about her health inheritance for several reasons.
She’s seen me deal with the condition every day since she was 10, 17 years ago. She saw the early pain, swollen joints and fatigue. She attended doctors’ appointments with me when I was getting cortisone injections in my hands. She’s seen the worst but that was so long ago I don’t think she remembers much of it now. What she clearly remembers is the way I live today: taking care daily about what I eat and the fatigue that sets in if I cut too many corners.
She was an eye witness to the miraculous change in my life after I learned once and for all that Rheumatoid Arthritis was effectively a food allergy disease and very controllable.
She has been there as I worked (and played) every day. She and I have traveled extensively. She knows that, after the initial trauma of the diagnosis and despite the continuing upkeep, there has been no change whatever in my daily routine. And she knows deep down that she can handle her life, too.
In the ‘My Story’ articles posted here, I document my early ups and downs, my lack of confidence in the beginning for the solution I had found, and how I finally began living the right answer: diet modification.
Continue reading: Hereditary Rheumatoid Arthritis ?? Will We Pass It On?
The real problem with Rheumatoid Arthritis is not the diagnosis and it’s not the condition itself inhabiting our bodies. Rheumatoid Arthritis is simply the name given to a condition of chronic inflammation where the immune system, designed to be one of our best friends, gets completely confused and turns against us.
It’s inflammation that has led researchers to say that the average work life after a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis is only ten years.
It’s inflammation that causes the degradation of the joints that can lead to disability.
It’s inflammation that makes us vulnerable to horrendously expensive and harmful toxins, known as biologics, that only, in the end, benefit the pharmaceutical company. Because our bodies will always, sooner or later, develop a tolerance to any drug that attempts to override its own programming, pharmaceuticals will never overcome the pain and destructive capacity of RA for long. Drugs, no matter how effective they seem at first, are never the long term solution to the problem.
The good news is that none of that matters because we can heal ourselves, permanently and cost free.
Once diagnosed with RA, our primary goal should be to learn how to disable the inflammatory response, which will eliminate the swelling, pain, fatigue and joint destruction – all the symptoms of RA.
Controlling run-amuck inflammation is the key to our entire future. And the way to control it is always the same: Figure out what is causing it and stop.
Continue reading: Controlling RA Inflammation: Some Lists to Get You Started
Strange and scary things can happen to the human body when it has Rheumatoid Arthritis, as though it has a secret mind of its own and it’s not sharing with you.
But, really no need be frightened by the unexpected doings of your body.
Eventually you’ll reach the point that you attribute any new symptom to the disorder and you’ll know instantly how to handle it without adjusting medication or getting cortisone shots. You’ll just check your journal for anything unusual you’ve eaten recently, you’ll eliminate it, wait a few days, and it goes away. For as long as you stay away from whatever food caused the complication, it won’t come back.
Cases in point are Rheumatoid nodules and vasculitis, both of which are fairly unusual side effects of RA caused by out of control inflammation.
Rheumatoid nodules are bumps under the skin that can appear at pressure points like the elbow. They can be annoying and occasionally painful but are not serious. They are more an indication that you should be doing more to help your immune system deal with the source of the problem: food. As you know from this blog, RA is the result of an immune system seriously annoyed by what you’ve been eating. All symptoms vanish once you learn how to work with it and stay away from foods that tick it off.
Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels and is well worth learning to avoid. While nodules can seem like a gentle reminder to eat differently, vasculitis can be regarded as a warning. It is a rare side effect of RA that affects blood vessels anywhere from the skin, where it can look like a rug burn, to the heart where it may show up as pericarditis, as pain in the arm, leg or anywhere else. If you have RA and unexplained pain that does not appear related to your joints, it may be vasculitis.
Continue reading: Rheumatoid Nodules, Vasculitis: More of the Same
I thought I’d tell you a little about the reception this web site has had since I started posting about a year ago.
There have been some wonderful success stories where someone decided to look for a different answer than the one handed to them by physicians, and, rather than rely on a succession of lethal and ultimately ineffective drugs to handle Rheumatoid Arthritis, found permanent health by modifying their diet.
Like Jen, who had been suffering with RA for three years and, rather than begin a new biologic to replace the one she had been taking which had lost its effectiveness, she decided to take matters into her own hands and do some research.
She found us and others online who encouraged her to find her own way and assured her that she could indeed triumph over a dreaded disease by making different food choices.
Like all of us who have made the leap from flares, fear and fatigue to good health, Jen has to handle the ups and downs and complexities of learning to work with her immune system by finding the right changes to her diet. As food growing and processing methods change, as well as our bodies over time, control can seem like an ongoing work in progress.
But the same is true of the deadly drugs that are the current medical alternative. After the immune system is disabled by biologics, it adapts to the circumstances in the body and comes roaring back again. The drug in use then becomes ineffective and we have to either increase the dose or find a new drug and start the process over again. That is why the users of pharmaceuticals have to change drugs so often.
There will never be a time when the user of a biologic can assume that a prescribed drug has solved the problem forever. That person will always, at some point, need a new drug. Big Pharma, as hard as it tries, can hardly keep up and new immune system supressors seem to show up daily.
Sooner or later the rope will run out and biologics will no longer be regarded as the solutiion so many today think they have found.
Not all of those who landed on this website have had the reaction that Jen did.
Continue reading: “Food Fixes RA? Maybe for You But Not for Me.”
There is always mention of ‘leaky gut’ whenever there is a discussion of RA. According to most physicians it is strictly a theory and one that’s not very relevant at that. (You expected something else?) But according to many with autoimmune disorders, it is a fact of life.
Who should we believe, how do we fix it, and what difference does it make?
The concept of ‘leaky gut’ is finally receiving attention from researchers as it becomes clear that every molecule in the body is related to every other in a dynamic balancing act. No part of our bodies functions in a vacuum and nothing about it is simple. The intestinal tract, it is now known, is not a disinterested bystander that stands back while nutrients make a dash for the blood stream. Through a complex barrier mechanism, it controls the equilibrium in the gut. When this dance is disrupted in the genetically susceptible and large molecules reach the bloodstream before processing is completed in the gut, autoimmune disorders can occur or become worse – our immune system’s attempt to cope with the unexpected.
Leaky gut results from defects in the intestinal barrier which allow particles of food, medicine or bacteria to permeate the gut and move into the blood stream and surrounding tissue. It has been observed in a number of bowel disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is now becoming evident in the pathology of gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular disease, and other acute and chronic diseases including RA.
Continue reading: Leaky Gut and Rheumatoid Arthritis
An article in Science Daily says that a derivative of the popular Middle Eastern spice turmeric, or curcumin, its active ingredient, shows promise for repairing damage due to stroke.
The medicinal properties of turmeric have been known since ancient times in Southeast Asia. It has been used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises, as an antibacterial agent and as an anti-inflammatory recommended for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has also been used as a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal conditions and is now being studied for possible use in cancer, Alzheimers, and AIDS in addition to stroke.
If it sounds like turmeric is a wonder drug, it is. And there are others just like it. The reason I include it on a site devoted to Rheumatoid Arthritis is that spices and other botanicals can be little miracles just waiting to be discovered.
My friend Maria had a chronic asthma-related cough for many years that numerous doctors had been unable to fix. She called it her air pollution cough, since anything floating in the air, like cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust or perfume, set it off. It was so constant and so intense that she thought she was headed to an early disability retirement. To control the severe hacking she was taking theophylline, a prescription drug that comes with a warning of possible sudden death. It was only marginally useful for her cough.
On an extended car trip one day she took ginger to control motion sickness. The ginger worked the way it was supposed to and eliminated her nausea, but something else happened. To her stunned amazement, her cough vanished.
She and I combed the medical literature and searched for anecdotal evidence but could find no mention anywhere that ginger could affect an asthmatic, chronic cough. We began to think that Maria had found magic that was unique to herself. But that wasn’t true.
Eventually we unearthed the rest of the story. In addition to its many well-known medicinal properties, including as an anti-inflammatory, ginger has another characteristic that is less known. It is a powerful anti-spasmodic, which is why it calmed her cough. How many other spasm-related conditions could this simple spice, easily available and found in most kitchen pantries, cure if more people knew?
Strictly by accident, Maria had stumbled into her own personal miracle. And that is my point. Expect a miracle. You never know when one is waiting in plain sight for you to show up.
Continue reading: Herbs, Spices, Botanicals: Expect a Miracle
TV personality Deborah Norville said that her mother died prematurely “from Rheumatoid Arthritis.”
With all due respect to Ms Norville, no one dies from RA. Like osteoarthritis and many other non-fatal conditions among the genetically susceptible (e.g., Down’s Syndrome, mental illnesses), RA is more a disorder and less a disease.
All of us who live with the condition will die ‘with RA’ just as we will die ‘with a liver’, ‘with a brain’, ‘with fingernails.’ RA is not in the same mortality category as diabetes or stroke, leading causes of death listed on death certificates.
Nevertheless, Rheumatoid Arthritis can be a contributing factor to death from other causes, generally inflammation-related, but one is hard pressed to find any records listing RA as a cause of death by itself. In this list of annual causes of mortality, RA is conspicuously absent.
Any number of studies have concluded that those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis are doomed to die several years before we would otherwise, usually, they say, from cardiovascular disease (CVD). In vanishingly rare instances inflammation resulting from the disease attacks a vital organ like the heart and the patient may die. Even then the cause of death is inflammation officially coded, for example, as ‘pericarditis,’ not Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It’s clear that a major problem is inflammation. But it’s not the only problem. The other big cause of death for us is the drugs we take, both over the counter and prescription.
Continue reading: Early Death and Rheumatoid Arthritis