Arthritis is now the leading cause of disability in the U.S. There are many forms of arthritis. This article focuses on rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA is not about wear and tear and how active you were in your youth. It is about your immune system turning on your body, attacking it, causing joint damage and bone destruction. You have to wonder why your body would do that. Why on earth would your immune system turn on the very thing it is meant to protect? There is an explanation and a solution.
Here are some interesting facts about RA:
- There is a trigger that turns on RA.
- It is more prevalent in women than men, at a ratio of 2.5:1.
- It usually abates in women during pregnancy.
- It increases risk of heart disease by 220%.
- People living closer to the equator get less RA.
- The incidence of RA increases in women after menopause.
- Inflammation drives RA.
- People with RA are usually deficient in some key nutrients.
- Some of the newer drugs reduce inflammation, but increase the risk of cancer.
By examining these and other related facts, we can learn a lot about the causes of and how to treat RA safely.
There are two parts to our immune system. One side, Th1, kills viruses, bacteria and cancer. The other side, Th2, kills parasites and responds to allergies. In people with RA, the Th1 side is dominant. There is a trigger that takes the immune system from attacking “invaders” to attacking itself.
Hormones, especially estrogen, in women, suppress the Th1 side of the immune system explaining why RA abates during pregnancy and increases after menopause.
With the overactivity of the immune system, there is a lot of inflammation, which further drives RA, but it can also result in clots, which can block the flow of blood to the heart.
Vitamin D, from sunshine (equator) has been shown to be associated with balancing the immune system.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as swallowing some estrogen, while having a sex change in the sun. But there is a way to fight back at RA. It lies in balancing the body so that it does not attack itself. The treatment program involves:
- Acting quickly to reduce the destruction of bone and tissue.
- Reducing levels of inflammation naturally.
- Indentifying and eliminating substances causing inflammation.
- Balancing the immune system naturally.
- Balancing hormones naturally.
- Undertaking a specific exercise program.
At bewell, we test to find out what is driving your RA. We then design a program for your specific needs.