I am amazed by the number of clients I see who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, in fact 510,000 Australia's currently suffer from Rheumatoid arthritis (nearly 1 in 25 Australia's). Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by pain and stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes of a morning or after and extended period of rest, tender/warm/swollen joints and fatigue/occassional fever/malaise. With a normal joint (the place where two bones meet), it is surrounded by a joint capsule that protects and supports it. Cartilage covers and cushions the ends of the two bones and is bathed by a tissue called synovium, which produces synovial fluid that lubricates the joint. In cases of rheumatoid arthritis the immune system, for reasons currently unknown, attacks the joint capsule resulting in pain and swelling around an affected joint. The more damage that occurs to the joint the greater likelihood that the cartilage and bone within a joint become destroyed. This also results in the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons losing their integrity and failing to stablise the joint itself.
It is painful to see clients, suffering from severe rheumatism, walk into a consult with much difficulty and not be able to remain seated for even a short period of time. Moreover, they are fatigued, which is often a result of the anameia that accompanies rheumatism. So what can I do to assist these people:
First and foremost I ensure that they are regularly screened via standard pathology to evaluated their blood. Key blood tests include rheumatoid factor, erythrocyte sedimentary rate, C-reactive protein, DHEA (hormone, particularly in women) and anti-nuclear antibodies. I also focus on the integrity of the digestive system, with a specific focus on intestinal permeability (see digestive health category), avoiding foods containing gluten, rebalancing the immune system (rheumatoid arthritis is a T-helper 2 Imbalance), improving zinc levels, raising essential fatty acids, increasing vitamin D status, balancing thyroid function, optimising stomach acid and increasing plant sterols.
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