Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

I am truly learning everyday about these two diseases and I am blown away all the time with the comparisons to myself, there are also things I’ve found that do not necessarily affect me, enforcing the adage “No two Peoples experiences are the same.”

Some of the information I was reading today from an article in an email I receive from everyday HEALTH, really made me wonder…Have these two beasts been lurking within for longer than even I thought? Definitely falls into the “Things that make you go hmmm?” category.

It is of course noted that more Women than Men are affected by both diseases. I did not know that around 30% of the people diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis are also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia either at the same time or within a short time frame thereafter and it may not be in that order. The development of both conditions together is a phenomena known as “Comorbidity”

The most common denominator of the two conditions is PAIN“! Although it does tend to come from different places. To date there are currently no specific diagnostic tests for either Rheumatoid or Fibromyalgia, however Physicians utilize certain criteria to determine each disease, through the process of a physical examination and detailed medical history.

With Rheumatoid Arthritis there are generally more identifiable physical manifestations such as hot swollen red joints especially within the wrists, fingers, ankles and knees.

When diagnosing Fibromyalgia a physician, in addition to obtaining the physical exam and medical history, will also assess pain in 19 different areas known as tender points throughout the body as well as other symptoms like fatigue, problems with thinking and memory (Fibro Fog), as well as a feeling of exhaustion after a nights sleep. Fibromyalgia symptoms have to be experienced for at least three months and can’t be explained by any other health issue.

For patients with Fibromyalgia “everything hurts” and adding in the stress of uncontrolled RA can increase the pain sensitivity a person with Fibromyalgia already experiences. A study published in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons – Pakistan from 2014 demonstrated that patients with both conditions experience higher perceptions of pain and significantly higher joint disease activity scores, then a patient who has RA alone.

Key difference of the disorders are; RA is characterized by inflammation of the joint lining and can present in physical damage and deformities and can also lead to issues such as scarring of the lungs, neuropathy, and others. A Fibromyalgia patients brain identifies pain in muscles or joints when it shouldn’t (a process known as central sensitization) but doesn’t cause physical issues of joint damage or scarring in the lungs like RA.

Neither disease has a cure, there are definitely Homeopathic and medication treatments available to battle the horrible problems (not everything works for everyone) that can arise. Remember that each disease has to be treated with individual treatment plans and medicinal methods since each disorder is rooted in different body processes (RA Autoimmune and Fibro Central Nervous System) do your research. It is your body and your health you must be proactive. A lesson I am still attempting to master.

Cannabis and Cannabinoids

I want to begin by stating that I am definitely “PRO” Cannabis!!

I’m writing today to share information I discovered regarding a report that was issued by the National Academies of Sciences-Engineering and Medicine on January 12, 2017. Described as one of the most comprehensive studies of research since 1999, at which time the National Academies released the report “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.”

Utilizing literature databases an extensive search to identify relevant reports and research materials that have been published since the 1999 report was executed, more than 10,000 scientific abstracts were considered. The Committee moved forward based on the abundance of information published addressing Cannabis, the task statement, and other specified study parameters.

The steps involved were determined at the onset by the committee to cover detailed examination of “Health Topics” which demonstrated the most pressing affect to Public Health.

Nearly 100 different research conclusions were organized into 5 categories of the use of Cannabis or Cannabinoid and Health. Ultimately four recommendations outlining research priorities to be included in a research agenda were determined.

  • Addressing current research gaps
  • Identify actionable strategies
  • Highlight potential to improve data collection and enhance surveillance capacity
  • Introduce strategies to plug away at the existing obstacles currently inhibiting Cannabis research

This reports release occurs during a critical period of time for the use and benefits of Cannabis.

I admit my use of cannabis has been a part of life for a long while. So some may say I’m biased, however I know from personal experience that cannabis enables me to be more productive and provides greater pain management than occurs when I take prescription meds by themselves.

I definitely support the Federal re-categorization of marijuana from having no medical value to a position of valued medical benefit. This action would thus encourage study of the benefits derived from consumption of this wonderful plant.

Do not however take my word for it, check it out for yourself and by all means read the full report at nationalacademies.org/CannabisHealthEffects

 

What is the best treatment for your Rheumatoid Arthritis

Finding the Right Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug for You

By Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen, MDs

When the French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis in the 1890s, there was nothing but mineral baths, aspirin and red wine to ease his pain and prevent his hands from becoming deformed.

About 100 years later, in the 1980s, when heart surgeon Christian Barnard (he did the first-ever heart transplant) was forced to retire because of RA’s crippling effects, treatment options were still limited. (Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, or DMRDs, such as methotrexate, were just coming into widespread and effective use.)

ALERT: Doctor: Reverse Joint Pain in 5 Days or Less

Now, in the past decade, 10 approved biologic medications have become game changers. They promise great benefits (with some risks, such as increased infections and some cancers) when other treatments don’t work. This has made doctors and patients more optimistic about slowing joint damage, preserving mobility – and even achieving remission.

So why do more than half of RA patients stop taking their medication or grudgingly switch therapies within two years? Almost 40 percent report that their meds aren’t working the way they want them to, and 20 percent say it’s because they are worried about side effects.

But having to try a new combination of medications is not failure; with RA that’s the process you have to go through to discover what works best for you. So let your doctor know your concerns and expectations and explain how your meds affect you. Chances are very good you will be rewarded with a new treatment plan that provides big improvements in your quality of life. Don’t stop treatment; find out what works for you!