RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS DIAGNOSIS / Rheumatoid arthritis is not a disease of the joints. I know you think I'm nuts already - but stick with me. In this episode, we are talking rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis AND finding RAPID RELIEF as well as LONG TERM REMISSION.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Transcript
Today we are talking about the rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. It’s pretty big business, right? Last I checked upwards of a few million adults are in an active Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis at any given time. What is rheumatoid, including how do we get to a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis? The most common question about RA - What can I do about my rheumatoid arthritis?
This is a painful and debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the joints (and skin and energy levels too)! Usually, it shows up with pain, swelling, stiffness, and even some limitation in mobility or movement of the joints. Often times people with rheumatoid, like other autoimmune conditions see flare-ups where symptoms are worse and then periods when they are feeling better (even if it is slightly).
Symptoms include swelling and pain in the joints that lasts for six or more weeks. It can show up in any joint, but most commonly starts in the hands, feet, ankles, and wrists. Sometimes the joints are warm and red too. Often this happens in a pattern that is symmetrical - so both hands for example or the second knuckle on the third finger in both hands. Usually, these signs are accompanied by mood swings, fatigue, muscle aches, even loss of appetite or a low-grade fever.
Getting to a Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis
Rheumatoid arthritis, like other autoimmune diseases, is special because it is diagnosed by a set of symptoms - there isn’t a blood test where you can look and say “yep - your RA test came back positive” usually there are a combination of signs, symptoms, and lab results that indicate you may have the dynamic and when you do (it usually takes 3-5 years of issues) they slap an autoimmune diagnosis label on you.
It’s really important for you to know, that Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis is just a label for the downstream effect of an upstream issue.
Conventional Treatment for RA
Once you have your new fancy label of Rheumatoid Arthritis, usually you are set off on a path of anti-inflammatory medications and steroids to control your symptoms. And it may control your symptoms for a period of time. But there are some really nasty side effects to using those medications long term - like the development of a secondary or even more autoimmune disease.
Untreated rheumatoid arthritis or RA that is only treated via conventional bandaid methods without addressing the root cause, usually leads to at minimum a poly-autoimmunity situation where you start stacking autoimmune conditions. Other complications include higher risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, headache, enlarged spleen, weak immune systems, nodules, vision problems, oral infections...and that’s not even talking about the effects of the medications themselves.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is Not a Disease of the Joints
The reason that you continue to get worse, despite your conventional treatment’s best effort is that RA is not a disease of the joints, its an autoimmune disease of the immune system - the pathway that yours landed in is the joints. Your synovial fluid (that lubricates the joints) thickens and swells and causes cartilage loss and friction between joints and bones.
We know that the recipe for RA is one part genetic predisposition (this is turned off and on by the lifestyle choices made), one part environmental trigger, and one part leaky gut. Depending on your genetic predisposition - you may end up with RA or any other autoimmune dynamic happening in your body.
Additionally and often overlooked, is that there is usually other parts of the body affected like vital organs and the endocrine glands with RA as well.
Genetic Predisposition for Rheumatoid Arthritis
It's a common misconception that the reason for RA or any other autoimmune dynamic is because you were gifted a particular set of genes from your parents.
It is true that there's a genetic component to the recipe for RA. The study of epigenetics shows us that there are a few specific patterns that can be found in the genetic code -
- TRAF1 and C5
Now we could go into detail here about what each of those does, but more important for you to know is that having the marker is not the definitive reason you will or will not express RA. The definitive marker comes from the lifestyle that turns these genes on and off through environmental triggers that lead to inflammation and leaky gut.
Triggers for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid can be triggered by a number of environmental and lifestyle factors that lead to leaky gut. Meaning some of these are out of our control and some are in our control. Just a few common ones:
- Viral infection - there are many infectious triggers for RA, one in particular with a lot of data behind it is Yersinia pestits
- Horomonal changes
- Excessive stress acutely or chronically
- Impaired gut health (from nutrition, environmental triggers, or mental/emotional stress)
- Poor energetic maintenance
- Vitamin D assimilation issues
- Gallbladder troubles
How to Find Relief and Remission from Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are 2 parts to finding relief and remission from your RA diagnosis. You can find rapid relief with some of this information and long term success and remission with discovering YOUR unique root cause.
MicroNutrients or Supplementing for Rapid Relief
While there are long term and short term supplementation or micronutrients often required - I think we can find more valuable time by talking about what you can do for rapid relief as it is far less complicated than discussing the possibilities for each root cause or potential root cause.
For Rheumatoid Rapid Relief:
- High-quality plant-based omega 3 fatty acids 3000-5000mg (with food)
- Ubiquinol 100mg twice per day
- Undenatured Type 2 Collagen 60mg a day (on an empty stomach)
- Bromelain or Turmeric or Ginger daily
- Vitamin C
- Potentially CBD oil
Nutrition for RA
Goodbye Gluten. There are a few non-negotiables for people with RA, one of those is getting rid of 100% of the gluten in their lives. While I firmly believe that the science indicates that no one should be consuming gluten - just like no one should smoke or drink soda - it is especially important to stop consuming gluten if you are suffering from an autoimmune condition. You can learn more about the science of gluten in Episode 077.
Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, you can’t have a little gluten. It can’t be in your food, your lipstick, your shampoo, your moisturizer, and your supplements. And you may think, your products are safe, but likely they aren’t. You have to do your due diligence and read the labels. I am including a free download of gluten-free foods and hidden gluten additives to watch for.
Goodbye Processed Foods. Especially those containing canola oil or other rancid and highly processed or oxidized oils and fats. Read those labels! Or avoid them altogether.
Know your food allergies and sensitivities. So that you can avoid them and reduce the inflammation in your digestive system and ultimately your entire body.
Hello More Plants. Especially these for RA. When you're thinking in terms of eating to reduce inflammation and find relief and remission from your autoimmune Dynamic, you want to think in terms of eating as many plants as possible. I’m not suggesting that you never consume meat or dairy or even eggs ever again, although many people in an autoimmune dynamic find that eggs and dairy are also major triggers, just like gluten, for flare-ups or part of their root cause.
What I am suggesting is that when you think in terms of your plate as you sit down to a meal that you think in terms of how many plants can I fit on this plate before adding any meat. Some particular organic plant foods that are very beneficial for rheumatoid: kiwis, citrus (including lemons and limes), potatoes, radishes, oregano, rosemary, sage, cats claw, ginger, licorice root, turmeric, nettle leaf.
Don’t eat all of these in one dish - I don’t think that would taste good - but I also haven’t tried it. Pick a few that are easy to incorporate and any herbs that grow natively or easily in your climate, start with those.
Sometimes turning a nutrient deficiency into a sufficiency can be tricky - so I will reserve specific information for specific questions - for ongoing supplementation and micronutrients we have to dive into the root cause that is unique to you to avoid doing more harm than good.
Hydrate. It’s particularly important for all humans but even more so for people in an active autoimmune dynamic.
Meditation for RA
It's really critical to de-excite your nervous system to find pain relief as well as stress relief from your rheumatoid arthritis. My favorite tool for this is a healthy dose of meditation 2x per day. Before you push back and say I don't have time to meditate let me tell you that statistically, people gain 6 to 10 times more productivity by spending 30 minutes a day sitting on their butts in meditation. That is just 1 of the benefits!
In this case it will help to modulate the immune system as well as put you in tune with your body to better understand what it is needing.
Energy Work RA
Vibes don’t lie. Often the energy of RA is that of a massive-self rejection, deep shame and guilt and that egoic voice of self-criticism. To counteract that there are a few ways to begin to release and untangle those issues.
Liver flush. Much of this energy is held in the liver, you can work with the liver meridian, flushing it routinely by, simply trace it from the liver to your toe tip once, and then from your toe tips, up the inside of your legs to your liver 2-3 additional times.
Essential oils are so beneficial in helping to release those energetic patterns and emotions. Purification is one of my favorites for the emotional and energetic release of the energies that surround and lead up to RA. You can use it on the lung and liver trigger points, or if you don’t know where those are - simply make figure-8’s with the oil over your lowest rib on both sides.
Crystals. You can also use crystals in this process, I suggest a combination of red aventurine and malachite. You can also throw in some lilac lepidolite if you are experiencing the anxiety aspects of this dynamic as well. You can make yourself a pouch and carry this combination with you, hold it in your hand or otherwise keep it on your person. You can also lay the stones around an area that is particularly inflamed.
Know that sometimes these issues are like onions, and you have to peel them back layer-by-layer.
Lastly, I want to touch on stress - you may be thinking, “wait Audrey, you said autoimmune disease diet, like food” and you’re absolutely right, I did but your diet isn’t just what you eat - its also what you watch, the people and the situations you are around too.
I talk a lot about stress - because as I said previously, nutrition is only 1 leg of the 3-legged stool you need to balance in order to be your full expression of wellness.
Stress can be a very good thing when it enables your body to survive for another day, like avoiding a dangerous predator for example. Let's be honest, is “well I didn't die today” really a metric you want to be evaluating your entire life by.
It's really important for the physiology a power human suit to lift ourselves out of a perpetual state of fight-or-flight.
While there are many things you can do to burn off stress, with an autoimmune disease or any chronic illness it's really critical to de-excite your nervous system. My favorite tool for this is a healthy dose of meditation. and before you push back and say I don't have time to meditate let me tell you that statistically, people gain 6 to 10 times more productivity by spending 30 minutes a day sitting on their butts in meditation. That is just 1 of the benefits!
In specific relation to autoimmune diesease, The immune system can be activated and over activated by many different things as we've been talking about viruses, bacteria, and even the overproduction of mutated cells.
Mitigating stress and handling your stress response changes your life and your health. It literally rewires the brain, calms your nervous system, and it actually creates new neural pathways via neuroplasticity mechanisms. It serves to actively lower adrenaline and cortisol (also know n as the stress hormones, lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and decreases total body system-wide inflammation - critical for those suffering from any autoimmune disease r chronic illness. Learning to mitigate your stress actually promotes healing on a cellular level.
Here's some food for thought, “there is no such thing as a stressful situation only stressful responses to a given situation.” I'm not sure who originally said that but it really illustrates the point that stress is not what happens to you, stress is your reaction to what happens to you. When you begin to meditate de-excite the nervous system and allow that stress response to go away.
I will dive deeper into hows on this in November, but for today - I want you to know that mitigating stress and specifically the stress response is critical to finding relief and remission.
So let's do a quick recap:
Rheumatoid arthritis is not a disease of the joints. I know you think I'm nuts already - but stick with me. In this episode, we talked about rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis AND finding RAPID RELIEF as well as LONG TERM REMISSION. I’d love to hang out with you in my Wellness Circle too! It’s a great place to hang out and ask questions and learn with a group of like-minded peeps! I have the link in the description for you!
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