Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a debilitating autoimmune disease that causes progressive deterioration of the body’s joint structures which can eventually lead to deformity and disability. The term autoimmune simply means that the body’s immune system is attacking itself; and in this case it attacks the joints, eroding the attached bone and cartilage which causes severe pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of joint function. It usually, but not always, attacks the wrists and hands, although the knees, feet and ankles are sometimes targets as well. The disease can also cause low red blood cell count, inflammation, low energy levels and fever.
RA strikes women three to five times as often as men, most often when they are between 40 to 50 year of age. According to the United Kingdom’s National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, the disease reduces average lifespan anywhere from three to twelve years, and in 2010, resulted in approximately 49,000 deaths worldwide.
The medical establishment states that the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not clear. They believe the disease involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For most sufferers of RA, the disease is both a lifelong condition and progressive, meaning it worsens over time. The goals of standard medical treatment are modest. They consist of the following: reduce pain, decrease inflammation, prevent bone deformity and maintain day-to-day functioning.
In order to accomplish even these modest goals requires modern medicine to use what is known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, called DMARDs. The most commonly used DMARD is methotrexate, which is a powerful chemotherapy drug and immune system suppressant. Common side effects of methotrexate include nausea, fatigue, low white blood cell counts, increased risk of infection and breakdown of the skin inside the mouth. Other side effects may include liver disease, lung disease and lymphoma (cancer of the blood) as well as neurological damage and memory loss. Not to make light of the seriousness of RA, but it sounds like the cure may be worse than the disease.
There is however, one maverick member of the medical establishment who states the cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is clear, and that there is a cure. In fact, he has cured dozens of people with RA. Dr. John A. McDougall, a General Practitioner in Santa Rosa, California says that by strictly following a whole food, plant based diet that consists of starches, (rice, potatoes, winter squash) as well as vegetables, and fruits, with no animal products of any kind (meat, fish, dairy, eggs) and no added oils, you can cure serious cases of inflammatory arthritis.
In addition, he states, “that at least 25 studies published in the scientific literature show that rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic and non-specific arthritis are caused by the Western diet and in most cases can be cured or dramatically improved with a low-fat, plant-based diet.”
If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, or know someone that does, you can either watch the videos or read the stories of his patients who have overcome the disease at his website, www.drmcdougall.com. What Dr. McDougall is offering is hope for those afflicted with RA. He believes that arthritis is neither a genetic disease nor an inevitable fact of growing older. The cause for this disease does stem from our environment, but the closest, most intimate contact we have with our environment is the food we eat.
He says that Rheumatoid Arthritis is common now only because we have abandoned our once traditional healthy diet for the new Standard American Diet of highly processed foods, dairy products, meat and eggs. For Dr. McDougall it really is as simple as, change your food, change your life.