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Category Archives: Autoimmune General

Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Alternative Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a very destructive inflammatory arthritis that affects approximately 1-5% of the population in the US.  RA can occur at any age but occurs more common after age 50. Women are also affected 2-3x more than men. It is also a fast acting arthritis, and can cause damage to the joint space within a few years if left untreated.

RA can be diagnosed in many ways that usually included laboratory testing in combination with imaging. Common lab markers that are elevated in rheumatoid arthritis include anti-CCP antibodies, rheumatoid Factor, ESR (sedimentation rate) or C reactive protein. While rare, it is possible to have rheumatoid arthritis without elevation of any of these markers. This is considered ‘seronegative’ RA.

Conventional Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The progression of RA is not often stopped without the use of medications that suppress the immune system. These medications can often prevent further destruction of the joint space, dependent upon how far along the disease process is. They can often be scary for individuals to use as they commonly produce significant side effects and are often expensive. While medications are often implemented as first line treatment, there are many alternative therapies that can help prevent or slow down the course of rheumatoid arthritis as well.

Alternative Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

While the cause of RA remains largely unknown, estrogen and progesterone balance may play a huge role in the disease process. Estrogen can be stimulating to the immune system, while progesterone can help to reduce inflammation. Many women who develop rheumatoid arthritis have a history of irregular or difficult periods during their lifetime. Working on balancing out hormone prior to menopause can be helpful in reducing RA risk and progression.

There are also several foods that have been linked to aggravating rheumatoid arthritis. The nightshade family has been associated with increased pain and swelling. This includes foods like potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Vegan diets, or diets that are largely plant based and avoid things like red meats, gluten and dairy, have also been associated with lower levels of pain and swelling in RA.

In Chinese medicine, RA is considered a damp heat condition.  Removing foods that are heat producing (such as red meats) can be helpful in combination with removing heat with acupuncture. Certain botanical herbs can be used to help treat the pain and swelling of RA.

For short term relief, contrast hydrotherapy, which is alternating between hot and cold in the area of swelling and pain can sometimes be very helpful, especially in the morning when pain and swelling tends to be worse. Short term fasting may also be used intermittently for reducing overall pain.

The best treatments for rheumatoid arthritis though include individualized plans for each person. Identifying specific triggers that could be contributing to inflammatory burden in the body is important. If you want to learn more about how you can identify your own specific inflammatory triggers for rheumatoid arthritis, contact our office today to schedule a free introductory consult with one of our physicians.

Aloe Vera Juice May Reduce Thyroid Antibodies

Aloe Vera Juice May Reduce Thyroid Antibodies

A recent study was published that looked at the effects of Aloe Vera juice on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  What they found was a significant reduction in thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies.  TPO antibodies are commonly elevated in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and are largely responsible for reducing thyroid function. Those with Hashimoto’s common experience symptoms such as fatigue, brainContinue Reading

Heavy Metals and Thyroid Function

Heavy Metals and Thyroid Function

The thyroid gland is a large endocrine gland in the neck that secretes two different thyroid hormones, called T3 and T4.  These hormones are responsible for several functions in the body, most of which having to do with metabolism, growth and development.  There are many conditions that result from too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) orContinue Reading

The Flu and You – How Viruses Affect Autoimmune Diseases

The Flu and You – How Viruses Affect Autoimmune Diseases

It’s finally fall.  And while fall brings many wonderful things such as crisp evenings, beautiful foliage and pumpkin spice lattes it also brings with it the flu.  Most cases of the flu and common cold are relatively benign for most people, but for those with autoimmune diseases viral infections can mean symptom flares for theirContinue Reading

3 Tips to Doing Detox Right

3 Tips to Doing Detox Right

Nowadays, detoxing is on everyone’s mind, especially when living in increasingly toxic environments and experiencing negative health effects.  If you think that a detox might be right for you, there’s a way to do it right and ensure you are safely achieving the results you are looking for.  Email me to get on our FallContinue Reading

The Autoimmune Paleo Diet – How and Why it Works

The Autoimmune Paleo Diet – How and Why it Works

There has been a lot of talk in the last few years in the autoimmune community in regards to the autoimmune paleo (AIP) diet/protocol.  One of the most common questions I get from patients is “Does the AIP diet really work in helping to reduce my autoimmune symptoms?”  The answer to this question complex, butContinue Reading

Living With Autoimmunity Event!  May 9th!

Living With Autoimmunity Event! May 9th!

Living with Autoimmunity Saturday, May 9, 10:00 AM-3:30 PM at Bastyr University in Kenmore Join the Autoimmune Advocacy Alliance (A3) for “Living with Autoimmunity,” an education program for families living with one of the 80+ autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. In the morning sessions, experts will share information onContinue Reading

Weight Loss: One Patient’s Story

Weight Loss: One Patient’s Story

I’ve tried everything, and the weight still won’t come off! Does this sound familiar?  This is something that I hear from patients constantly.  One of my patients tearfully described her situation during her first visit. Rebecca, age 37, had struggled with her weight ever since she was a teenager.  She described both of her parentsContinue Reading

Thyroid Disease is Connected to Diabetes

Thyroid Disease is Connected to Diabetes

We diagnose many patients with thyroid disease and many patients with diabetes, but did you know that having one of these conditions markedly increases your risk of developing the other?  In type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there is an increased risk of both low thyroid hormone and high thyroid hormone, but that risk isContinue Reading