Month: November 2019

MS an autoimmune disease


MS usually affects those who live in the colder northern countries. I was born in the  border town of Fort Covington, just a walk down the street to Canada. And then I grew up in another nearby border town. In the winters our temperature dropped below freezing and stayed there until March.  My mom was Irish and my dad French Canadian. My brother was just like me. MS usually starts somewhere between 20-50 years. Just like RA there is an elderly onset MS striking those age 60 and above. Children also develop MS. MS is an autoimmune disease where the T cells of our immune system think the cells of the myelin sheath, the nerve covering, is foreign and must be attacked. This arbitrary attack affects the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerve and creates a a variety of symptoms. More women than men have MS. Genetics play a role. MS interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Walking becomes difficult. Hands may lose their grip. …

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Disabling RA

One of the big pleasures I have is watching the full moon make its way up and over the mountain. I see it from my patio doors as I am making dinner. Lately, it not only is a big, full moon but also a beautiful, warm yellow. When I first see it, the moon  is just peering over the top edge of the mountain. Then it seems to sit on the edge of the mountain top just before continuing  its journey up into the night sky. A moment in time. I was thinking of good things to distract from the pain I have in my joints and the nagging fear in the back of my mind that I am becoming more disabled with each passing day. My RA was diagnosed seven years ago in January. Since then, I have had three cancers and a hip replacement. Most of that time I have been on methotrexate, mostly injectable. It has slowed the progress of the RA. It could be worse. I’ve been on almost all the …

Mary Mann inflammatory arhtritis

Meet Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Spondylo means vertebrae or bones in your back. So, you can see that AS affects the spine. With the progression of disease, the vertebral joints fuse causing the spine to be stiff. AS affects the  areas where the joint capsules, tendons and ligaments attach to the bones. Pain and swelling occur  along these “hotspots”. The lower back, the sacroiliac joints,  the cervical spine, pelvic bones, the rib joints and the heel. Classic AS involvement. Many other joints can be involved. The joints of the hip, shoulder, and knee are commonly involved. Involvement of fingers, toes, wrists and jaw, although possible, is not common. It is a disease of younger people (teen-40s) usually. It is common in men, but science is learning that women have AS frequently, too. It is a major cause of low back pain. It is an inherited disease. There are many genes involve. The gene HLA-B27 is present in 90% of those who have AS. As in many cases an environmental trigger like an infection activates the genes involved. AS belongs to …

Silica is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis

Silica, the earth’s most abundant mineral, is made up of oxygen and silicon. It is a part of many, many processes including mining, pottery making, glass making, and granite work including tombstone making. The lung disease caused by crystalline silica dust is called silicosis and has been known since the time of Hippocrates. It is an inflammatory disease. In the fifties after many studies, it was learned that autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis could be caused by exposure to crystalline silica. The connection though proven is not well understood. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an inflammatory disease. This morning I was reading one of the comments on the forum Health Unlocked. It was written by a woman who has RA as does her brother. Interestingly, both had jobs where they worked with silica.

RA, Mojo and writing a book

My mojo  means that I have creative energy and an optimistic outlook. When I  have those things, I am good to go. I can write. I can read complex articles. I am living in a good space. Happy. I have found my voice for my RA book. My writing had stalled at 75%. Dead in the water. It just wasn’t where I wanted to go. I finally figured it out. With some modifications I will have it running again. From time to time I will include samples from a chapter.   Chapter Five The Character of RA Learning you have a a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, starts you on a journey of a lifetime. When I was diagnosed with RA, I read a wonderful book that proved to be a guide for me on my journey. One of the things I came to understand was that I was in charge of me and I was in charge of managing my own RA. My responsibility. It is important to understand your rheumatoid arthritis and it is …

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Understand your RA risk

Journal, November 2, 2019 Drug choices I have written my last few articles on the subject of RA biologic drugs. Why? For several reasons. I am finally starting to do housekeeping on my web site. Long overdue. I have a plan to make my site a place for useful, easy to find information on the autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. I have some good articles already, but I also have a bit of clutter. My new articles begin with the drugs that will affect the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. I chose Actemra because I am currently on it. Before I started the year long treatment for my last cancer, I had started Actemra infusions. The drug was working but was stopped because of surgery, chemo and radiation. I am now on the Actemra subcutaneously with the prefilled syringe. I take my second dose today. It is an easy process. I believe it will work. I chose Orencia as the subject for another  article because I had written a number of posts while I was taking the …