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Rheumatoid Arthritis
September 2001

Q. 8 years ago I was diagnosed with RA. I have been using natural herbs, including Chinese to help with pain and stiffness. I have been researching the disease since diagnosis, and as a result have refused the rednesone/methotrexate cocktails offered by rheumatologists. 8 months ago I tested positive to mycoplasma and commenced the Antibiotic Protocol (minocycline) as researched by Dr Thomas Brown USA. (www.roadback.org) My general well-being is slowly improving.

There is less pain, less stiffness, less debilitating fatigue. However 18 months ago nodules began forming on my hands, feet, knees, and buttocks. These are painful and tender to touch, and are gradually increasing in number. The antibiotics have had no inhibiting effect as yet. Can you tell me (a) the cause, and (b) any known remedy?

A. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of auto-immune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissue. The joints are the primary area of tissue damage, but internal organs can be affected as well. The cause is not clearly understood. Genetics are thought to play a role, as several cases can appear in a family, and recent research has looked for infection as a possible cause as you mention. The disease affects about 6 million Americans, women more than men. The course of the disease is unpredictable; there can be periods in which the disease is quite active and causing active tissue damage, and periods of relative quiet. Treatment is aimed at suppressing inflammation, and a variety of drugs are used for this. The potent drugs like methotrexate and prednisone have strong toxicity as well so patients taking these need careful monitoring by their doctors. Several excellent websites are available on your topic:

HELPFUL WEBSITES:

http://www.nih.gov/niams/healthinfo/rahandout/diagnos.html

http://medlineplus.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/arthritis.html

http://arthritis.org/

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