- Written by Suzy Cohen Suzy Cohen
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune condition that leads to joint damage. A complete workup, physical exam, and medical history are important because blood tests have shortcomings.
Here are the two main tests:
Rheumatoid factor. Measuring levels of rheumatoid factor (RF) is important, but despite the name, it is nonspecific to RA, meaning that other disorders can cause a positive result.
People with diabetes, endocarditis, or cancer may have increased RF levels in the absence of rheumatoid arthritis. You can see why that makes this test problematic for diagnosing.
The anti-CCP antibody test. This antibody test is good, but it may be elevated in other autoimmune disorders like lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome, so it’s not specific.
It stands for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides. If it’s high, but you’re not symptomatic, then it could be predictive of the future if you don’t try to lower it now.
As for staying well, and feeling better, there are many interventions today that can keep you strong and healthy. Now let’s go over five strategies to help rheumatoid arthritis:
1. Vitamin D is helpful. If your vitamin D levels are low, try to figure out why. Low D levels correlate with elevated anti-CCP levels and a potential misdiagnosis of rheumatoid! Supplementation with D may reduce anti-CCP in some cases.
2. Improving liver function may help. Your liver health determines how well you activate the sunlight-derived vitamin D. And vitamin D is critical for rheumatoid patients.
For that matter, many studies have proven that low D increases autoimmunity for other diseases, not just rheumatoid. Give your liver a break by avoiding alcohol, nicotine, weed, junk food, and refined sweets.
3. Collagen supplementation may help, but it must be the right type. There have been some positive benefits seen anecdotally with collagen supplementation. It makes sense because that’s where the attack is targeted. The problem is that people take the wrong type of collagen for their cartilage.
The joints, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage can only take a very specific type of collagen, notably Type II. You can avoid a mistake by learning more. Read the longer version of my article, which you can receive by email after signing up for my free health newsletter at suzycohen.com.
4. Employing TNF alpha blockers. The use of TNF-blocking medications for RA is common. These are called DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs). But there are two potent, natural TNF blockers: black seed oil and EGCG supplements.
5. Doing yoga or tai chi. These types of exercise and movements help stretch your muscles and keep you in good shape, not to mention reducing inflammatory cytokines.
In closing, having a complex disorder like rheumatoid arthritis is a challenge. Advice to reduce stress, stretch, and eat right is certainly wise.
Many people suffering from the pain of arthritis find comfort and relief from stiffness by taking a warm bath and integrating supplements into a clean diet and healthy lifestyle.
This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or treat your disease. For more information about the author, visit suzycohen.com.