RA symptoms or possible Lupos

Hi, I'm in my mid 40s and been very health all my life. six months ago I started having joint pain in various joints. The pain and swelling in my hands and numbness in my arms finally led me to my doctor. They gave me Prednisone for 20 days and took some labs, sent me to the Rheumatologist. Labs are pointing towrds Lupos but symtoms towards RA. No firm diagnosis yet. Dreading taking any strong toxic meds. I want to use foods to heal but still want to enjoy eating! This really sucks! The pain and lack of energy! I guess we all get challenges in life. Any of you had sucess with healing with food?

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  • We often have very heated debates on here about this subject! My personal view and my own experience is that food can help support you, and help you tolerate the drugs more easily, but if you do have persistent inflammatory arthritis then they won't put it into remission, or heal you. And exercise is as important as a good diet.

  • Thanks for the reply, I've learned so much already. This is a great forum!

  • Hi mate, I honestly think that none of us would consider taking any drugs unless we really had to. I for one put it off and tried all sorts but basically if a change of diet would cure rheumatoid arthritis then I for one would give it a go! Someone on this forum once told me "it's your illness,you decide how you deal with it" and I think that's true, I battled on with no meds for over a year but then it got bad and a month ago I started sulfasalazine having failed on methotrexate. For me it was about accepting I had it, now I do and now I have to deal with it and make sure I carry on providing for my family. (I am also 40ish, and until this,mega fit, running 5k,5 days per week under 30 minutes)

    Take care, hope this helps a little

  • Thanks for the reply. I hope the new meds work for you!

  • Firstly sorry you are having all this to cope with. I have never had especially good health and always known pain of some sort so in some ways RA just felt like an extension and initially I dealt with it okay. I think it must be very different when it arrives in the life of a previously healthy person.

    Mine keeps changing its face and I have many symptom overlaps with other connective tissue diseases and this really gets me down sometimes. It plays havoc emotionally because I never quite accept it or know what's coming next. The fatigue is the worst thing for me just now

    I completely agree with the previous comments - a good and varied diet, avoiding poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and heavy drinking and refined foods plus keeping up gentle daily exercise routines, even when stiff and in pain, focussing on the positives where possible - all these will make a huge difference to how your RA/ Lupus progresses. But this in itself isn't a cure for RA Or Lupus in my experience.

    If it was I would be very well by now and not just into my first week of my fourth Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drug.

  • So sorry you've suffered with your health. You must be a strong person after dealing with all this. I agree about the fatigue. As a mother of five, I have to really push myself somedays to do every day things. Wishing better health!

  • The trying to get a diagnosis part of all this is awful. I hope you get some resolution soon. I was originally investigated for MS, then diagnosed with Lupus , all the while silently acquiring RD damage in my neck. I was officially diagnosed with RD a few years ago, MS is back on the table again (as an additional diagnosis) and I still have features of Lupus, like sun sensitivity. I think in reality, I probably have an overlap syndrome composed of elements of a number of auto-immune diseases. It might take years to arrive at a firm diagnosis and even that may change with time.

    A good diet is definitely part of the plan, but it is only a part. It works alongside exercise, aids/adaptations, rest, mental attitude etc (and, for me, a whole load of drugs.) Auto-immune disease is a many-headed beast and you need an armoury of weapons to take it on. I have found that it often feels like a small defeat to make some sort of change/concession in order to carry on, only to look back a few weeks later and wonder why I didn't do that thing months ago because it has helped so much with my pain/fatigue/whatever. At that point, it doesn't feel like a concession any more but a victory. Try different things out (including diet) and see what works for you, what you feel comfortable with and make that your plan for now. Just be prepared to revise as things change.

  • You're right! Not having a diagnosis is very frustrating. I've only seen my Rheumatologist once and going back in a few weeks. When I asked him if he would have a diagnosis once he sees my X-rays and gets the new labs back, he just smiled and said, Maybe. I didn't realize it could take so long. Rheumatologist in my area are booked up for months. I will prepare to be more patient. Thanks for your advise and best wishes with your health.

  • Hi, I sympathise with you. My consultant thought that I had RA after nearly a year of symptoms but the results came back clear. However, she tested for mixed connective disease and this is what I have. It mimics the symptoms of other immune diseases and mine mimics rheumatoid arthritis. There is a blood test for it, so maybe you could ask. I was having 30mg of prednisolone a day to try and control the inflammation. I have now been on methotrexate since December and have finally managed to come off the prednisolone. I really can't believe what an awful 18 months it has been. I am 48 and until 18 months ago never had any health problems but now I am hypothyroid and on 175mcg levo thyroxine a day and also with mixed connective tissue disease. As they are both hormone related too, I think this must be the menopause for me.....Good luck with finding the right treatment. Also ask your doctor to test for iron, ferritin, folate, vitamin D and B12 as if any of these are too low, this could exacerbate symptoms too. When mine were tested all were way below and I now need B12 injections every few months. Best wishes on finding the right path to being pain free.

  • Good tip on checking for vitamin levels, thank you. So sorry you've suffered so long. It's been about 8 months for me. I hope we can fight this and minimize the flare ups. I was commended by my doctor for taking Turmeric. It's a very effective anti-inflamatory. Have you tried it?

  • Hi I haven't tried turmeric. What do you do with it? Mandy

  • Turmeric is an Indian Spice. Comes from a root similar to ginger. You can cook with it. It's in curry dishes. you can also find it in capsules. That's how I take it.

  • I have RD and like you, wanted to see if a change in diet would help reduce my symptoms. For a time, I cut out all dairy and gluten products and I can honestly say that I believe it helped reduce some swelling g and discomfort. I also cut out processed food, beef and pork with some benefit. However, it became so difficult to follow all the time. With holiday meals and friendly gatherings, there might have been celery for me to eat that fit into my food plan. I am now not so strict with what I eat. That said, I believe that certain foods can cause symptoms to be better or worse. But these autoimmune things are way too complicated to figure out why we have our ups and downs! Fortunately for me, Enbrel has made a HUGE difference and I am currently pain free! I hope the same for you and a definite diagnosis soon.

  • Some doctors say it's the natural rhythm of RA and not the food that makes it better or worse. I think it's gotta be both. How can food not affect it? I'm glad modifying your diet helped you and I know it's hard to follow such strict rules with diet. I'm dreading not being able to enjoy food. Best wishes for better health. Thanks for your advise.

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