Month: May 2021

RA Solutions Gardening

I have the misfortune of having a painfully, progressing rheumatoid arthritis. My RA started when I was older. An older onset RA tends to be more severe like it is trying to make up past time. After eight years, most of my joints are affected. I have neuropathy in my feet and joint damage in my hands and feet. I walk with a cane when I’m out and frequently use a walker to get around at home. I am disabled. It has taken me a long time to admit it. But the upside is that I can make changes to my life so that I can manage in spite of disability. The long cozy nights by the fire have given way to the longer days of spring. It is time to be out in the garden. My roses were amazing all through May. My clematis is covered in large dark blue flowers. Hosta fill one corner of my patio. All my herbs have renewed themselves. I enjoy the fruits of past garden labors and am …

Celiac’s Disease not RA

Gluten is not theculprit in RA, but Gluten is the culprit in Celiac’s disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. The small intestine becomes inflamed and damaged when a person with Celiac’s disease ingests food such as bread, beer, cereal, or other foods that contain gluten. As damage occurs to the small intestine, it becomes increasingly difficult for the intestine to absorb nutrients. Celiac’s disease is an autoimmune disease. It is commonly paired with the autoimmune diseases of the thyroid (6%) and type1 diabetes (6%) There is also an increased risk associated with the following: Sjögren’s disease, MS, Autoimmune hepatitis, and arthritis (but not RA). Those with Celiac’s disease and those with a gluten sensitivity should not eat foods containing gluten, such as bread, pasta, and cereal.  The gluten will make them sick.  A gluten free diet is the cure for Celiac’s disease.  Those with Celiac’s disease may experience joint pain but it is not the destructive arthritis of RA. The joint symptoms will lessen as gluten is eliminated from …

Using Heat and Cold for RA

Heat and cold application can be a helpful tool in managing the symptoms of RA.  Have you mulled the idea of using ice or warm compresses to make your joints feel better, but was unsure what you should use so didn’t do anything? Should I use heat? Should I use ice? The answers are simple and unless taken to extreme, heat/cold applications are non-invasive, safe, and helpful for many arthritis sufferers. In sports medicine Ice is used for an immediate injury such as an ankle sprain. We have all experienced the call for ice after someone falls or is hit in a sports event. When applied to the skin, ice causes the local blood vessels to constrict. This slows down the circulation and will reduce new inflammation and swelling to the affected area.  Ice will also numb the area quieting pain receptors and reducing pain. Ice from the ice chest or a very cold soda can are usually available at a soccer game or similar sports game. It makes ice an easily obtainable, useful remedy. …

Mary’s RA Journal

Mary’s RA Journal May 2021 Year nine I was diagnosed with RA eight years ago. The onset seemed sudden. But was it? My RA started in my feet. I was one of the 20% whose symptoms started in their feet. My internist thought I was too old to have RA. He seemed to think my feet were fine. As recent as eight years ago, rheumatologists did not routinely examine a patient’s feet. They believed RA started in the small joints of the hands. Examining the feet was inconvenient. Examining the feet took too muctook to much time. My symptoms increased. My pain became severe. I was very sick. As a victim of an unresponsive healthcare system, I finally sought relief in the ER. I was fortunate to be seen by a knowledgeable doctor who treated me and sent me to a rheumatologist. My career as a rheumatoid arthritis patient began. I spent years on methotrexate which helped me about 50%. I tried most of the biologics in between being treated for three different cancers.  Orencia …

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD Inflammatory bowel disease is an autoimmune disfunction that has genetic plus environmental components. It has been around for centuries and was once commonly fatal. It is a young person’s disease but can occur in older adults.  The cause is unknown. It is not curable.  The immune system reacts inappropriately to environmental triggers causing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. There are two main types of IBD. Ulcerative colitis attacks the colon and the rectum. It affects only the mucosa, the membrane lining the intestinal system and the inflamed tissue is continuous. Crohn’s disease can strike any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus. It can affect all the layers of the intestinal wall. It frequently affects the end of the small intestine. Inflammation may occur in patches where there is an area of inflamed tissue next to  0an area with no disease. Diagnosis is most commonly made between the ages of 17 and 35. There are about 80,000 children (under age 20) in the US. It is about 5% of the …

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RA Journal Progression

Mary’s Arthritis Journal May 8, 2021 I have always been amazed by those who can work through illness. I once had a friend who had a chronic leukemia. During episodes of chemo, she found that she could not sleep. Instead of watching endless Netflix, she spent her nights researching and writing a successful blog on ghost stories. She used her down time to her advantage. I am not like her. I wallow. I vegetate. My brain seems to stop working. When my rheumatoid arthritis is sending inflammatory messengers throughout my body, when pain is attacking every moveable joint, when I have depleted my stores of coping, I retreat. My body feels sick. My research goes on hold as does my writing. My mind is stuck in a quagmire. There is only a wish to escape and a hope that there will be an end, and in that end, I will be alive again. I will be okay. My flares are becoming something to be feared. My ankles and my toes remain swollen. It is very …

Rheumatoid Arthritis Eyes

 Most of us who have had RA for a while understand that Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) puts us at risk for eye damage. If we do take Plaquenil, we understand that the danger of eye damage is small. That is what we seem to need to know and that is all we are told about RA and our eyes.  We are not being told that by having RA, we are at risk of having eye damage and should have our eyes checked on a regular basis. We do know that the same inflammation that causes pain and swelling in the lining of our joints courses through our veins damaging the lining of blood vessels and our heart even when our cholesterol profile is perfect. We understand that and we try to keep ourselves heart healthy in every way that we can. What no one mentions is that this same inflammation that affects our joint lining and affects our heart and our blood vessels also affects our eyes. This inflammation can cause permanent damage if we are not …