Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

John's Story - ' I Will Fight Till I Can't Fight Anymore'

This recent email from a dear friend who suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis* was so touching I felt I needed to share it with my readers.

John's emotional and painful journey is one similarly expressed by friends who have submitted to drug therapies as the first line of defense for auto-immune diseases.*

Most drug therapies used to suppress the Immune System* have debilitating side effects to the Adrenal Glands and Immune System.
Flares become unbearably painful with a 'boom-a-rang’ effect when tapering off these drugs.

John's email:


I tried going the natural way and no matter what I did obtained only minimal relief.
I did have better luck by watching my diet but the first five or six years after being diagnosed were a living hell.
The only thing that did anything for me unfortunately was methyl prednisone, and only that. Not even regular prednisone would work.

To date I have every single 'bad side effect' from drug therapies' including Cushingoid syndrome.

Every time I try to get off the drugs I have terrible flares and other complications have resulted.
I have come close to dying at least five different times.
I am not obsessing on that thought. I have a positive attitude that some find amazing, but not me. How else are you supposed to feel?

The disease is bad enough without letting it destroy the rest of your life.

Thank you for letting me vent, rant, and rage here... It helps to be able to talk to someone who knows where of I speak.

You're right about sleep, rest and diet playing a part in this. Stress is really a big part too.
Let any one of these get out of whack and it guarantees a flare.
I'm still working out the diet, but for me a big trigger is red meat.
Also, like you say MSG and other things added to food at restaurants do the same.
There are still some others I have not been able to figure out...haven't given up hope yet!

I have a good attitude and am not about to give up.....I will fight till I can't anymore!

Thank you listening and being my friend.


* 'The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies Gone Haywire In A World Out Of Balance'


Scientists worldwide are puzzled at the alarming and unexplained rise in the rates of autoimmune disease.

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vitamin D - Sunshine For Health

Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin for good reason, and recently there's been a lot of interest in it's health benefits.

Research studies now validate that vitamin D offers a plethora of health benefits, possibly protecting against heart disease, many forms of cancer, immune system disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and the flu, and perhaps mental illnesses including schizophrenia and depression.
"Vitamin D has a global effect on many systems," said Bruce Hollis, a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Health Care Professionals now suggest a natural approach to increase vitamin D with old fashion sunshine...so leave the indoor activities behind and get outdoors for a stroll in nature or simply sit in the sun.
There are many benefits to daily sun exposure.

Researchers share mounting evidence that sun exposure early or late in the day for 20 minutes is needed for good health.

New evidence suggests we not shower with soap immediately after sunbathing. Use soap on the areas not exposed to the sun because soap damages vitamin D3 if it is used within 48 hours.

Video > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1sTYuL-QsU

Personally I try to spend 30 minutes 3 times a week between 9-10 am or 3-4 pm.

If you desire to spend longer periods of time in the sun please review these natural sunscreens.
Natural News > http://t.co/pfyjIVg

Sunshine is healthy...so get some rays!

'Good Health To You'

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

ABC News Article - 'Healing Foods That May Fight Pain'

Certain Foods May Fight Chronic Pain Experts Say
ABC News Medical Unit

April 9, 2008

Ten years ago, Sandy Guerriere of North Carolina was crippled with pain and nearly bedridden from her rheumatoid arthritis.
"I was scared......I couldn't do anything, I lay in bed," she said. "The disease is horrible."
That was then! Now, Guerriere is up and walking, enjoying her career and looking decades younger than her actual age.
Her remedy, she claims, is not due to any drug or medical treatment -- but a diet and lifestyle.
Guerriere eats strictly a Mediterranean diet -- rich in olive oil, vegetables and whole grains and avoids dairy, processed flour and sugar. She also swears by juicing -- blending up fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs for a daily, healthful concoction. * She eats Salmon 3-5 times a week from the Pacific Northwest, never farm raised. She buys organic and never eats processed or packaged food.
However, people like Guerriere still stand out as a mysterious example of a food-based treatment for pain from inflammation.

Finding a Balance

In general, most doctors recommend a typical healthy diet for chronic pain sufferers, with an emphasis on fish oils.
"I personally suggest getting Alaskan salmon," said Sherman. "I always tell my patients that fish don't have back pain.
Bottom line, get your weight down and eat a healthy fish-vegetarian-type diet. It's just a basic cardiac diet."
"I still have flares every now and then -- I am not cured by any means," Guerriere said. "I have my ups and downs. But I'm on no drug therapies. I found my own way."


"Thank you for your support, everyone! The comments on this article will help get the word out."
Ways to fight chronic pain and inflammation naturally are in a following article, 'Chronic Pain - Inflammation Busters'

* My comments which were left out of article per my phone interview with Lauren.

'Good Health To You'

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Antibiotic Therapy For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis can be treated in it's early stages with antibiotics which seem to help relieve pain in some sufferers.
Scientists report that an antibiotic used to treat acne has improved swollen painful joints in some people but admit therapy should begin in the early stages of this crippling disease.
Some Rheumatologists treat patients with minocycline but admit it isn't a cure, and when the antibiotic is discontinued the problems come back.

Antibiotic therapy has been controversial. Science hasn't proven that an infection causes Rheumatoid Arthritis and studies with minocycline show modest effects.

Antibiotic therapy utilizes low dose antibiotics, particularly those of the tetracycline family, to attack the disease at its source. This therapy is based on the belief that rheumatic disease is caused by an elusive organism called a mycoplasma, similar in some ways to both a virus and bacterium, but much smaller. The antibiotic can be taken in low dose without building up a tolerance to the drug and without serious side effects of conventional medications.
Usually Minocin is the antibiotic of choice. It is prescribed at very low dose, one or twice a day three days a week.
Other antibiotics like Tetracycline or Doxycycline are frequently substituted for Minocin and both have proven to be effective.
Many doctors feel there is an advantage in using Minocin over other antibiotics. Minocin has an extended spectrum of activity and stays in the system longer and at higher levels than tetracycline.
Side effects from using antibiotics can cause yeast infections, especially in women. Minocin, however, seems to have some anti-yeast activity. Some people experience a heightened sensitivity to sunlight.
In children who have not yet cut their permanent teeth, tetracyclines can cause staining of the teeth. Food can impair the absorption of some antibiotics (not as true of doxycycline or minocycline) so they are to be taken on an empty stomach.

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Inflammation Busters - Food & Lifestyle Changes To Help Stop Pain

Inflammation is our friend under normal circumstances, it's how our bodies fight harmful invaders. For instance, when you cut your finger, it results in pain, redness and swelling, all signs of inflammation. The same thing happens with a sprained ankle or a sore throat. Inflammation after an injury or illness is a sign your body is responding appropriately.
“Inflammation is part of a healthy immune system response,” says Monica Reinagel, author of The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan. “But there can be an inappropriate inflammatory response whether there’s an actual threat.”
This results in chronic inflammation and is linked to a wide range of serious illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even depression and mood disorders.
Chronic inflammation may be fueled by a broad range of lifestyle factors that promote the production of inflammatory chemicals, including smoking, chronic stress, obesity, lack of exercise and diet.
“Most people eat too many foods that promote inflammation, and too few that quell it,” says Reinagel. A diet high in refined, processed foods and animal products cause the body to create inflammatory compounds.
Processed foods are lacking in antioxidants, which help the body fight inflammation. “The inflammatory process creates free radicals as a by-product,” says Reinagel, this results in a vicious cycle.”


1. UNHEALTHY FATS. Trans fats and other hydrogenated oils are the primary offenders. “We know that as little as 3g of trans fats a day can lead to an increase in heart disease and stroke risk,” says Fred Pescatore, MD. Saturated fats from animal products also are linked to the production of inflammatory chemicals.
2. REFINED CARBOHYDRATES. Inflammation can impair blood sugar regulation, which is worsened by eating refined carbohydrates/high-glycemic index foods, such as sugar and white flour.
3. ANIMAL PRODUCTS. Meat, poultry, eggs and shellfish are all high in arachidonic acid, a compound that contributes to inflammation. Eat organic when possible, and choose fish, white meat chicken and nonfat dairy products to lower arachidonic acid consumption.
4. GLUTEN. Wheat and many other grains, like rye, barley and spelt, contain a protein called gluten that may be associated with inflammation.
5. NIGHTSHADES. Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are members of the nightshade family and contain a compound called solanine that can trigger inflammation in some people.


1. SALMON. Wild-caught salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. (Avoid farm-raised salmon; it’s higher in arachidonic acid, as well as PCBs and other toxins.) Herring, mackerel and sardines are also rich in omega-3s.
2. WALNUTS. A source of omega-3s, walnuts appear to counter some of the inflammatory processes that lead to heart disease. They are packed with other healthful compounds, including vitamin E, which is a powerful immune booster, says Pescatore.
3. ONIONS. Onions are high in quercetin, a type of antioxidant that inhibits enzymes that trigger inflammation; onions also contain sulfur compounds that are used to manage the body’s immune system. Other sources include apples, broccoli, red wine, red grapes or grape juice and tea.
4. BLUEBERRIES. Blueberries are loaded with anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol antioxidant that boosts immunity and protects the body from free radical damage, which triggers inflammation. Other good sources of polyphenols include blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries.
5. SWEET POTATOES. Sweet potatoes are rich in carotenoids, antioxidants that, like anthocyanins, boost immunity and minimize inflammation. Other good sources of carotenoids are deep orange, red, yellow and green fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, winter squash, red peppers, mangoes and papayas.
6. SPINACH. Spinach is rich in inflammation-fighting carotenoids, as well as immune-boosting vitamin E. Other greens that are great for immunity are kale, chard, turnip greens and mustard greens.
7. GARLIC. Like onions, garlic is rich in sulfur compounds that stimulate the immune system by boosting the activity of natural killer and T helper cells, which manage the immune system. Garlic is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
8. PINEAPPLE. Bromelain, found in the pineapple stem, is an enzyme that decreases inflammation and has some immune-enhancing effects. Pineapple is an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C.
9. GINGER. Fresh ginger root acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting COX-2 enzymes, part of the chemical pathway that produces inflammatory chemicals.
10. TURMERIC. Turmeric is the key component in curry, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory effects; like ginger, it works as a COX-2 inhibitor, says Reinagel.

We will continue to struggle with flares but it's possible to have less of them as we can support our 'healing system' to become virtually pain free!


1. NURTURE. Nurture your body to give it quality fuel in order to sustain a strong immune system. Personally I chose a version of the Mediterranean Diet rich in fish, vegetables and olive oil which helped me. (olive oil, extra virgin, first cold press)
2. HUMOR. Keep a good sense of humor and laugh often, surround yourself with positive fun people. This is very important for your healing system; your endorphin levels will soar and the side effect is stress relief!
3. EXERCISE. Exercise helps us manage our weight and moods. It promotes better health in numerous ways. Exercise can be fun things, like dancing, biking, or even taking a belly dancing or tap class. Swimming is excellent, it's what I did for a year when I couldn't walk.
4. WATER. Drink ample amounts of pure, clean water to help your body rid itself of toxins and keeps organs working more efficiently. It's recommended by health professionals we drink 8 glasses. Do not substitute other beverages, the body needs clean, fresh water, preferably at room temperature so not to chill the organs.
I use Lemon slices in mine, which also helps encourage elimination.
5. VITAMIN D. Vitamin D is derived naturally from the sun. Nutritionists now suggest we need daily exposure to the healing rays of the sun. Early morning, until 10 and early evening after 3 is the best. Avoidance of the sun is not considered a healthy choice. Another option, Cod Liver Oil, get the best, I suggest Carlson's.
6. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. Use 'First Cold Press' for salads and table use. For cooking, Coconut Oil which does not change to a killer fat during the heating process. Jeanne Calment, who holds the record for the longest confirmed lifespan, reportedly attributed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed into her skin.
7. ORGANIC. Go Organic! Organic fruits and vegetables have more flavor, higher nutritional content and less toxins. Organic vegetables have a shorter storage life but they contain a higher amount of live plant enzymes necessary daily to aid our digestive process.
8. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Eat fruits and vegetables that are local when available and in season. Lightly cooking vegetables is advised. *Juice whenever possible. I recommend 4 days a week.
9. REDUCE MEAT. Reduce the amount of beef and pork, eat instead chicken, fish, eggs, beans and tofu for protein sources.
10. SUPPLEMENTS. Add quality supplements to your diet everyday to ensure you are receiving adequate amounts of all 50 required nutrients required by the body. I use Standard Process. When looking for a quality supplement it is important to know the manufacturing company produces products which meet or exceed established standards of excellence in supplement manufacturing.
11. LIFESTYLE. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference, get proper rest and enough quality sleep. Listen to your body, it will signal you with symptoms of distress when it's heading towards illness. Listen to it!

These are not short term changes but goals set everyday for the rest of our lives. Change is difficult, but remember, any change towards a healthful diet and lifestyle will be rewarded with reduced health challenges.

'Good Health To You!'

Photographs of Stephanie Moore - Wedding Photographer

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rheumatiod Arthritis and Rheumatic Fever - Comparative Studies

Because my family history sounded a warning I found this information interesting. My mother suffered from Rheumatic Fever and now I have Rheumatoid Arthritis! What is the connection if any?
With Rheumatic Fever the joints are likely to become swollen which can include the knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists. The pain often migrates from one joint to another. However, the greatest danger from the disease is the damage it can do to the heart. In more than half of all cases, rheumatic fever scars the valves of the heart, forcing this vital organ to work harder to pump blood. Over a period of months or even years -- particularly if the disease strikes again -- this damage to the heart can lead to a serious condition known as rheumatic heart disease, which can eventually cause the heart to fail.
Rheumatic fever results from an inflammatory reaction to certain Group A Streptococcus bacteria. The body produces antibodies to fight the bacteria, but instead the "antibodies attack a different target: the body's own tissues." The antibodies begin with the joints and often move on to the heart and surrounding tissues.

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF SUBCUTANEOUS NODULES IN RHEUMATIC FEVER AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS by M. H. Dawson M.D. from the Department of Medicine of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Arthritis Clinic of the Presbyterian Hospital, New York.
The foregoing comparative study on the subcutaneous nodules in rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis is presented as part of an investigation which has been conducted in this clinic on the relationship of the two clinical entities, rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis. It is believed that the present study has shown that these lesions are highly characteristic of the two diseases and that they represent different phases of the same, fundamental, pathological process. However, it should be pointed out that the presence of closely related or even identical lesions in two, separate, clinical entities cannot be considered as valid evidence in support of the hypothesis that the two diseases are etiologically related. Comparative clinical studies on the relationship of rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis will be presented in a succeeding communication. These studies, as well as serological investigations on the two diseases which have been reported elsewhere, and lend further support to the conception that rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis are intimately related and possibly different responses of affected individuals to the same etiological agent.
Like Rheumatic Fever, RA being a systemic disease affects the whole body. Some researchers suspect that rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by an infection — possibly a virus or bacterium — in people with an inherited susceptibility. Although the disease itself is not inherited, certain genes that create an increased susceptibility are.
Rheumatoid arthritis can show up in organs such as the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and eyes and other organs.
Rheumatoid arthritis works somewhat differently outside the joints, but the results are still damage to the tissues, pain and loss of function.
< Because only a small fraction (fewer than 0.3%) of people with strep ever contract rheumatic fever, medical experts believe that other factors, such as a weakened immune system, must also be involved in the development of the disease.

It's important to learn your family history, it helps each of us to determine what treatment plan is acceptable.

"Good Health to You"

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Facts You Need To Know

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an immune system disease affecting people of all ages. It is most often diagnosed in middle age but also affects children and the elderly.
Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men. RA causes chronic inflammation of the joints, specifically the layers between the joints, but also may cause inflammation in other organs of the body.
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown.
Factors considered are genetic makeup, something in the environment may trigger the disease and hormonal or bacterial factors could be involved in causing RA.
People with rheumatoid arthritis usually experience periods of flares and remissions.
The disease varies greatly in individuals with some developing symptoms quickly over a short period of time while others experience flares and remissions intermittently.
Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by an examination of tender or swollen joints, a blood test called the rheumatoid factor (RF), the presence of stiffness in the early morning or after a period of inactivity, bumps or nodules under the skin near joints, and sometimes an x-ray. The RF test is only positive in 80 percent of people with RA.
Sufferers of RA may be mildly anemic and another test for inflammation called erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) may be elevated. Sometimes people with RA test positive on an antinuclear antibody (ANA) test.
Because rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disease, anything that affects the immune system (like allergic reactions) may trigger a flare.
If you suffer from RA it's extremely important to limit exposure to contagious diseases since immune system defenses are lowered.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a life-long disease but with medication as tolerated, a balance in exercise and rest while protecting the joints people with RA can live long and productive lives.
There are many systemic manifestations of the disease and mortality is highest for patients who are affected in areas other than the joints.
Occasionally inflammation of the membranes around the heart and lungs or inflammation of the lung tissues itself can occur.
Life expectancy in sufferers is reduced by an average of seven years, although some of this is undoubtedly due to the side effects of treatment.
RA sufferers who learn to live within their limitations and 'listen' to their body's signals can halt severe flares while respectfully realizing the unpredictability of this disease.
The book "Extraordinary Healing" by Art Brownstein, M.D. discusses how our "body's secret healing system" works, on pg. 329-331 it discusses in depth how to 'activate' that healing system.
Good health to you!
Contact information: takecharge4life@aol.com

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rheumatoid Arthritis and EFA's

Greetings RA friends!
Arthritis has plagued humans for centuries, ancient mummies give evidence that the disease existed centuries ago so we have a long standing battle!
A fact to ponder and question to ask!

"The prevalence of RA is generally lower in developing countries."
World Health Organization 2003
Could that have something to do with diet?
Here are two informative links on the benefits of Essential Fatty Acids for good health.
http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/EFA.shtml and

"My aunt Cornelia was a brilliant organist, and RA slowly whittled away her ability to play. I'm happy to say I was able to improve the quality of her life in those last few years with chiropractic care and supplementation."

Frank M. Painter, DC

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Emotional Pain And Chronic Disease

It's discouraging not to be able to do the things you use to do, such limitations cause frustration, emotional pain, negative feelings about oneself, even concluding you have 'no value' just to end up sucked into a whirlpool of despair.
Some isolate themselves because of the lack of understanding of the disease.
Suffering from RA or a Chronic Disease may cause anxiety about the future, a fear of becoming immobile or dependant on others, being left without a caregiver or fear of falling and breaking bones.
Family members likewise suffer emotional pain, being confronted daily with the suffering of their loved one.
Couples may experience severe marital problems due to the emotional challenges and financial strain that arise due to Chronic Disease.
Health care providers state the importance of learning to respect ones limitations, minimize fatigue and 'listen' to our bodies. With love and support we can cope to enjoy life and stay productive.
One daily inspiration came from my father just before he passed away........
"Live life on life's terms!"

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Inflammation Can Affect You Internally

Rheumatoid arthritis can inflame blood vessels (vasculitis) and membrane around the lungs (pleurisy), the sac around the heart (pericarditis), or inflammation and scarring of the lungs themselves that may lead to chest pain, difficulty breathing, abnormal heart function and swollen lymph nodes.

In the article, "Rheumatoid Arthritis - Not Just A Disease Of The Joints" (Issue 125 of Arthritis Today) it states: "Rheumatoid arthritis is a complicated condition; affecting internal organs such as the heart and lungs as well as the joints."


The myocardium is the muscular wall of the heart, or the heart muscle. It contracts to pump blood out of the heart and then relaxes as the heart refills with returning blood.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardium. When the heart becomes inflamed, it cannot pump as well because of damage to its cells and swelling (edema). The heart muscle may be damaged even more if your body's immune system sends antibodies to try to fight whatever started the inflammation.

What causes myocarditis?

Myocarditis is a rare condition. The inflammation of the heart muscle may be caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.
Rheumatic fever, which can occur if the antibodies that your body sends to fight a strep infection attack the tissues of your joints or heart instead.
Drug or chemical poisoning.
Connective tissue diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

With a mild case of myocarditis, you may not feel any symptoms at all. You may have a fever, an achy feeling in your chest, and severe fatigue, as if you have a bad cold or flu. Some people have an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or trouble breathing.

Myocarditis is hard to diagnose because it can resemble many other diseases. Your doctor may suspect that you have myocarditis if your symptoms have appeared within 6months of having an infection.

Electrocardiography (an ECG or EKG) can help doctors learn more about your heart rhythm and the size and function of the chambers of your heart.

Echocardiography can be used to see heart wall motion and overall heart size.

How is myocarditis treated?

Myocarditis is treated with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines. If myocarditis is part of another illness (such as rheumatoid arthritis), treating that illness will treat the heart as well. If myocarditis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotic medicines will be prescribed.

Medical Encyclopedia > Mg-Mz > Myocarditis

Updated July 2007

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Heart Information Center or call 1-800-292-2221.
(Outside the U.S., call 1-832-355-6536.)

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The treatments of RA might increase the risk of heart disease. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen, may lead to a rise in blood pressure. Steroids may accelerate the development of arterial thickening and narrowing.
Methotrexate may increase the blood levels of homocysteine, which in turn could promote the development of heart disease.
Folic acid helps to reverse this effect of methotrexate, which is one reason why most rheumatologists prescribe folic acid with methotrexate.
On the other hand, methotrexate and steroids reduce the amount of inflammation in RA and so the benefits of these drugs with regard to heart disease probably far outweigh the risks.
It is important to try and reduce RA disease activity, be aware of the risk of heart disease report and investigate symptoms which suggest early cardiovascular disease – such as angina, calf pain when exercising and mini strokes.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect any part of the body. We tend to think of it as a disease of the joints, however, its been known for a long time that the heart and lungs can also be affected in a significant way.
Sometimes medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis may result in lung disease.
It's important to consult your doctor promptly if you have rheumatoid arthritis and experience any unexplained breathing problems.
Men, although less likely to develop RA overall are more likely to be affected by heart or lung problems. Those who smoke or who have bad joint disease are at greater risk.
Some patients may develop an inflammation of the lining of the heart or lungs causing a sharp pain on breathing in. This is often called pleurisy (lungs) or pericarditis (heart).
It may occur early in RA and often needs anti-inflammatory drugs and occasionally steroids to improve.
An X ray of the lungs, or Echo (ultrasound) of the heart can confirm the diagnosis of fluid around these organs and this may complicate the inflammation and might need to be removed with a syringe and needle under local anaesthetic.

Inflammatory Pancreatic Disease

Until 1995, when autoimmune pancreatitis was first described, pancreatitis was considered a disease induced exclusively by alcoholism.
The pancreas is an endocrine gland situated in the abdominal cavity that helps regulate blood glucose levels and assists with the digestion of fatty lipids. Inflammation of the pancreas, which is known as pancreatitis, has traditionally been associated with alcohol abuse.
However, in 1995 researchers first described a form of chronic pancreatitis associated with autoimmune manifestations.
Today it's known that about 5-6 percent of all cases of chronic pancreatitis are autoimmune in nature. And according to recent reports, the incidence of autoimmune pancreatitis appears to be rising, particularly in Japan, Europe, the United States, and Korea.
Autoimmune pancreatitis is considered a benign disorder because patients typically respond favorably to treatment with corticosteroids.
Autoimmune pancreatitis is also known by other names including lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing pancreatitis with cholangitis, idiopathic duct destructive pancreatitis, primary inflammatory pancreatitis, non-alcoholic duct destructive chronic pancreatitis, pseudotumorous pancreatitis, tumefactive pancreatitis, and destructive pancreatitis depending on the specific tissue changes found on biopsy or the predominant and accompanying symptoms.

Who Is Affected?

Autoimmune pancreatitis occurs in twice as many men as women. The initial presentation usually occurs between ages 50-60, but patients can also develop autoimmune pancreatitis as early as age 30 as well as late in life.
Autoimmune pancreatitis can occur as alone or in association with other autoimmune disorders including sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, sarcoidosis, and Sjogren's syndrome.
In addition, autoimmune pancreatitis has been seen in association with retroperitneal fibrosis and lung nodules.
Because certain markers of autoimmune pancreatitis, such as IgG4 positive plasma cells can be detected in other tissues besides the pancreas in affected patients, some researchers believe that autoimmune pancreatitis may be a systemic autoimmune disease affecting multiple organs besides the pancreas, including the gallbladder, bile ducts, salivary glands, lungs, biliary tree, and the kidney's renal tubules.
Signs and Symptoms:
Signs of autoimmune pancreatitis include elevated levels of gamma globulins and marked elevations of alkaline phosphatase with only slight elevations of transaminase enzymes, elevated serum IgG4 levels, and autoantibodies directed against carbonic anhydrase and lactoferrin. The blood sugar may also be elevated and the stools may have increased fat content.
The pancreas is often enlarged and is surrounded by a halo of lymphocytes and plasma cells. Granulomas may also be present around the ducts of the pancreas, and a mass may obstruct the ducts.
Autoimmune pancreatitis can cause a wide variety of symptoms that tend to occur as a relapsing-remitting type of disease, with periods of symptoms alternating with periods of remission. Common symptoms include jaundice, weight loss, and mild abdominal pain. Severe abdominal pain or other symptoms of acute pancreatitis are unusual.
Blood tests for carbonic anhydrase and lactoferrin antibodies are positive in autoimmune pancreatitis. Imaging tests show an enlarged pancreas with white blood cell infiltration and fibrosis. Cross-sectional imaging shows diffuse gland enlargement and a long attenuated segment of the pancreatic duct. A favorable response to corticosteroids also differentiates autoimmune pancreatitis from alcohol-induced pancreatitis. Because a mass obstructing the biliary ducts is often seen in autoimmune pancreatitis, autoimmune pancreatitis must be differentiated from pancreatic cancer with fine needle aspiration biopsy and tissue studies of the pancreas.

Dmitry Finkelberg, Dushyant Sahani, Vikram Deshpande, and William Brugge, Autoimmune Pancreatitis, The New England Journal of Medicine, vol 355:2670-2676, Dec 21, 2006.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Shauna's Story

Shauna is living life to the full in Texas!
What a beautiful lady....and her beauty matches her remarkable courage and endurance over decades of fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis.
These days Shauna gardens, which is a passion. She says when able she works part time. Shauna admits, "Life has been difficult,..no, it's been extremely difficult. The changes I've had to make over time have caused me a lot of emotional distress. The constant pain and side effects from the medications are very difficult to deal with. Only people who have RA could possibly understand."
Shauna shared these photos with me of what RA has done to her over time, and she stood out with her jesting.

"Good Health to You"

*I met Shauna online after visiting a website hosting photos of RA friends living in Texas.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Wilmington NC - Stay Active

Stay active and enjoy a career you love, it's very important for those who deal with RA or a Chronic Illness.
As a Professional Makeup Artist I constantly meet new clients and work with them at happy times in their lives. That makes my job fun!
I get so totally involved in what I'm doing the pain and stiffness take a back seat.
Most recently I had a Bald Head Island Wedding and "thanks" to my assistants Debra and Crystal we had a wonderful day together and my clients looked fabulous!
See Website and client photography @ http://www.artistrybysandy.com/

© Copyright 2010 Sandy Guerriere. All Rights Reserved.