My wife was recently diagnosed with RA.
Over the last few months I've read pretty much every new post related to RA on Health Unlocked. This website has been a great support. I used to cry every morning because it was so hard to see her struggling with the pain, but this website helped to provide some hope and rationalize things.
I do have to be honest though... Reading some of the posts on here has brought me to tears. It hurts to read how badly people are struggling and my brain struggles to process the thought of us not being able to do more to help people, when we can put people on the Moon and build Nuclear weapons.
Anyway... I've been lurking on here for a while now and I just wanted to post today to create a paper trail so that one day I don't turn up out of the blue looking like a crazy person...
I have an obsessive personality. From a young age I've been able to consume large amounts of information in a short space of time and retain it. I can also learn things very quickly. This was a great help through school with exams and it has also helped me to have a good amount of success in life.
I now make a good living earning money doing something that most people consider to be impossible. [Professional Gambler].
When I started to learn about RA my brain really struggled to deal with there being no solution or "cure". It also didn't sit right with me when I started to study the numbers.
RA has been around for a long time. We also know that it effects around 1.5 million Americans and that it is an extremely rare disease outside of Westernized culture. We also know that it effects 3 times as many women as men and we know that it most commonly rears it's ugly head between the ages of 30 and 60 years old.
This means that we should have a ton of data to figure RA out and when I started digging, it turns out that there is a ton of data that we can use to figure this out...
Over the last 3 months I've gone deep down the rabbit hole of RA and read hundreds of medical studies and clinical trials. There is strong evidence out there to suggest the causes of RA, but there isn't any one central organization connecting all of the dots.
From what I have read, the most likely cause of RA seems to be a bacterial infection caused by the bacterias Klebsiella pneumoniae or Staphylococcus aureus or both.
The problem with both of these bacterias is that they are both resistant to anti biotics. Staphylococcus aureus is actually the bacteria implicated in the hospital super bug MRSA. Both of these bacterias live within our bodies and they're not harmful unless they grow out of control or enter areas of the body where they shouldn't be [like the joint tissue in RA].
When these harmful bacteria enter tissue that they shouldn't be in, the body seems to mount an immune response and attack that tissue until the harmful bacteria is killed [leading to progressive joint damage].
A lot of literature in the past has led people to believe that the "body attacks itself" in Autoimmune diseases like RA, but more and more scientific research is suggesting that this is not the case. The immune system is actually attacking tissue where harmful bacteria have managed to get into cells.
People that are diagnosed with Autoimmune diseases are led to believe that their Immune System is malfunctioning, but this is not the case. It is actually doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to do by mounting an immune response against harmful bacteria.
Even though the NHS and FDA have not formally recognised this yet, they have for decades treated RA with lifelong Antibiotics, suggesting that they have for some time known there is a strong correlation between harmful bacteria and the onset of Autoimmune Diseases.
Sulfasalazine is one of the entry level medications prescribed for people with RA. Sulfasalazine is an antibiotic. If harmful Bacteria had nothing to do with RA, why have the NHS been prescribing it as a treatment for decades?
Problem is... Sulfasalazine is completely ineffective in killing Klebsiella and Staphylococcus. These two strains of Bacteria are Antibiotic resistant so trying to treat RA with Sulfasalazine is like trying to put out a house fire with a water pistol.
With the amount of data available in medical studies and clinical trials I do think that we are very close to figuring out the specific causes of RA and treating it way more effectively than we do now.
I don't think there is ever going to be a magic bullet where you can take a medication and cure RA, but I do believe with all my heart that there will be a combination of treatments that will heal the underlying causes over time. This doesn't mean that science will be able to undo joint damage and it will most likely take people longer to heal who have had RA for a long time, but I do believe that if we find a way to bring the number of these harmful Bacteria down in the body to a normal level, the symptoms of RA will virtually go away.
Based on the way science is moving at the moment it appears that two things could happen soon...
New Anti TnFs or Biologics could be developed to manage the immune response with virtually no short term side effects, or a new anti biotic medication could be developed to treat MRSA and this then turns out to also be a useful medication for Autoimmune Diseases.
There's a lot of medical research being conducted right now in how to treat MRSA and when new medications are developed they often go on to have multiple uses for multiple different medical issues. I think that we could see this happen soon based on what I've learned.
I've only skimmed over all this stuff to keep the size of the post down, but there is medical research to back up everything I've said. Please don't hesitate to send me a message on Health Unlocked if you want to learn more about it. I understand that this type of post isn't everyone's cup of tea, so it might be best to discuss it by PM, unless the majority of people are open to discussion [which I would love].
I wanted to post this message this morning because 3 months ago I woke up every morning crying and now I am filled with hope every day.
I've already learned so much in a short space of time which has helped us influence the way my wife's RA behaves on a daily basis and I want to help others.
I am going to dedicate myself to solving the puzzle that is RA and I strongly believe that I can do it. It might not happen next month, or next year or 10 years from now but I guarantee I'll do it.
I just wanted to post this message today because Rheumatologists, Doctors and media will tell you that there is no "cure" for RA, but this is not true. What they're really saying is that they haven't figured it out yet and that there are no medications that they can give you to make it go away. That unfortunately is true
I just wanted to post this today because I know a lot of people are suffering with this horrible disease, but from what I've learned I feel will all my heart that you will not be suffering forever.
Science now has a very good understanding of the causes of Autoimmune Diseases and when Science understands the cause, they can work backwards and figure out the solution.
RA is a horrible, horrible, evil disease but Humans have solved much more complex puzzles than this in the past.
I'm a sceptic by nature and controlling confirmation bias is a massive part of doing my job effectively so please trust me when I say I would not have posted something like this unless I truly believed in the Science behind it.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this. I hope you're feeling good today and if you're not. I hope you feel good tomorrow.
Sending you my love.