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.
The symptoms and side effects of RA are always related to inflammation and the way to successfully handle them is always the same: control the inflammation.
When unwanted effects show up you may choose to visit your rheumatologist and get a cortisone injection or increase the dose of your drug of choice, but they are only temporary remedies. The permanent answer is to work with your body by changing your diet and keeping a journal of everything you eat. That journal will eventually point the way to foods you should avoid. It is your blueprint to health.
Please stay away from the websites that discuss rheumatoid nodules and vasculitis because they invariably give the worst case scenario and make it sound like their prognosis is what you should expect. Actually, when you learn to control RA with food and your diet, nothing these websites say applies to you, because you are in control.