Arthritis -Try Diet Revision
We think that inflammatory arthritis is sometimes caused by immune responses to food proteins and encourage everyone with arthritis to give diet revision a try. Several diet revision studies have shown benefit for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. These studies support the more common and persistent claims in the community that diet revision has benefits. Carinini and Brostoff reviewed the concepts of and evidence for food-induced arthritis. They stated: "Despite an increasing interest in food allergy and the conviction of innumerable patients with joint disease that certain foods exacerbate their symptoms, relatively little scientific attention has been paid to this relationship. Abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract are commonly found in rheumatic disease...Support for an intestinal origin of antigens comes from studies of patients whose joint symptoms have improved on the avoidance of certain foods antigens, and become worse on consuming them."
Many of our visitors are arthritic sufferers or have loved ones who are suffering. Some are newly diagnosed and are beginning the search for information and guidance. Others have had arthritis for some time and are disappointed with treatments offered to them. Many have read both the orthodox literature and popular books or magazine articles with claims of arthritis cures. Some have already experimented with diet revision.
As always, there is a clash between orthodox opinion and the ideas that flourish in the community at large. The truth of arthritis probably lies somewhere in the middle. Advice from the major institutions is often dogmatic and sometimes wrong. We know that advice about diet and arthritis from major institutions can be misleading and often discourages self-directed effort to seek a solution through diet revision. The institutional advice ignores a body of scientific evidence and sound biological thinking that should be of great interest to the arthritis patient and his or her MD.
There is bias toward drug treatments and a prejudice against any self-management. The newest drug treatments can be aggressive, toxic, expensive and require intense involvement with medical faculties over many years. The long-term benefits of aggressive drug treatments are uncertain; drug toxicity and high cost are, however, more obvious. The main problem with popular diet advice is that books and magazine articles that advocate changes in diet or offer nutritional advice often get the story mixed up, and good ideas are helplessly entangled with bad ideas. Food ideas are also mixed up with commercial hyperbole, and the result is quite chaotic. We urge the reader to spend the time required to understand a good scientific hypothesis, which leads to a practical, common sense approach to diet management in arthritis. We do not advocate taking any product as a cure for arthritis. We do suggest a practical, problem-solving approach to arthritis management.
We encourage all people of all ages with inflammatory arthritis to try diet revision. This includes people with:
We consider these diseases to be major causes of suffering and disability and encourage everyone involved with these diseases to take the responsibility for looking after yourself. In my view, good self-care has several components:
The arthritis experience is challenging in the extreme. Pain, loss of function, and repeated bouts of a flu-like illness become part of life. Drug treatments are disappointing and often add unpleasant side effects and toxicity to the already bad experience. When joints are acutely inflamed, the pain can be severe, and “pain-relievers” are often inadequate to relieve pain. Because the disease can be so severe, patients with the disease may bond strongly with their doctor and with agencies that claim to serve the needs of arthritis sufferers. Any understanding, sympathy or relief is welcome. A 1997 survey of 1,000 Canadian arthritis sufferers showed that 60% developed the disease after age 40; 62% of those dissatisfied with the care they received cited "not getting better" as their chief complaint. Arthritis was one of the most common reasons for visiting the family doctor in Canada and is the third most common reason for prescription drug use.
Inflammation is usually produced by populations of immune cells that occupy the affected tissues and secrete chemicals. Chemical mediators of inflammation are of several types, including prostaglandins and cytokines (such as tumor necrosis factor). Inflammation may show up diffusely, be localized to tendon or ligament attachments, or occur in and around joints. Joint involvement is diagnosed as inflammatory arthritis. There are several distinct patterns. A group of related joint and connective disorders have been called rheumatic diseases. All these diseases are immune-mediated, and all are expressions of inflammation in connective tissues. Inflammation damages joints and surrounding tissues, resulting in loss of function and deformities. Variations in the patterns of rheumatic diseases reflect the many possibilities for immune damage to disturb and distort structure and function. Severity ranges from mildly painful, chronic inflammatory activity to drastic, disabling or life-threatening disease.
Arthritis Treatment is Disappointing
A survey of 1,000 Canadian Arthritis sufferers showed that 60% developed the disease after age 40; 62% of those dissatisfied with the care they received. "Not getting better" was their chief complaint. Arthritis was one of the most common reasons for visiting the family doctor in Canada and is the third most common reason for prescription drug use. The annual cost of arthritis health care in Canada is $14.3 billion.
The Key Points:
You are at Alpha Online, the host of the Inflammatory Arthritis Center. The topics are from the book, Managing Arthritis by Stephen Gislason MD. Alpha Education books refer to the Alpha Nutrition Program, a standard method of diet revision.
The Arthritis Nutritional Starter Pack includes
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