Tired? Anemia might be the blame.

Anemia

Anemia

Unfortunately, if you have an autoimmune disease, it’s likely that you also have Anemia which can make you feel extremely tired, one of many symptoms.  In case you’re not familiar, Anemia is a blood disorder where oxygen is inefficiently carried to lungs, tissues and other organs.  The process starts with our bone marrow.

“Conditions such as infections, inflammation, and cancer particularly suppress production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.”-Merck Manuals

“Anemia is the most common extra-articular manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), estimated to occur in 30-60% of patents.  Two primary types of anemia, iron deficiency anemia and anemia of chronic diseases (ACD) are seen in RA patients.  The retrospective study of 225 patients with RA showed that 64% of patients were anemic, and 77% were found to have ACD and 23% to have iron deficiency anemia.

ACD is an inflammatory anemia and inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNFa are thought to play important roles in anemia in RA.  However, it is still unclear how anemia is induced and which cytokine is most important.”-Springer-Verlag 2008

If your anemia is from inflammatory cytokines, your best bet is to get your disease under control and talk with your doctor about other options including B-12 injections.

“Erythropoiesis is often suppressed in chronic inflammatory diseases due to expression of hepcidin, a regulatory hormone that limits the availability of iron for erythropoiesis even when dietary iron intake is sufficient.” –FibroGen

Taking B-12 and iron supplements can be helpful for some people.

“Low hemoglobin may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods or taking a multivitamin containing iron.”-MayoClinic

And I know personally, that taking B-complex vitamins along with iron does help with my energy level.

In addition to iron, your body needs folate and vitamin B-12 to produce sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in these and other key nutrients can cause decreased red blood cell production. Additionally, some people are unable to effectively absorb B-12.”-MayoClinic

Another worry is pregnancy.

“If you’re pregnant, you’re at an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia because your iron stores have to serve your increased blood volume as well as be a source of hemoglobin for your growing fetus.”-MayoClinic

Even more worrisome than your anemia during pregnancy is how it will affect the unborn child.  According to Health&Wealth, “Anemia during pregnancy can cause growth retardation of fetus.”

So what are your options?

1.  Get your disease under control (easier said than done of course)

2.  Avoid alcohol

3.  Avoid antibiotics if your anemia is severe, “Certain medications, such as some antibiotics used to treat infections, also can break down red blood cells.”-MayoClinic

4.  Get blood-work done before conceiving so you can take necessary precautions.

5.  If you do have anemia, find out what kind you have.

Sometimes there’s not much you can do.  Even chemotherapy drugs can contribute to anemia.

Update: The Master Cleanse, Is it all Hype?

watercolor painting

watercolor painting

Day 4:

You guessed it guys, I got through day four and gave up.  My Husband called me in the evening.  He had the symptoms of the beginning of a urinary tract infection.  He was also suffering from possibly the onset of a cold.  I had him immediately take some cranberry pills and one airborn.  I on the other hand, was also suffering.  I knew to expect the revisit of aches and pains.  My tongue had been coated for days with a horrible taste in my mouth that wouldn’t go away, along with a smell that was EVERYWHERE.  My terrible hunger were finally becoming more bearable.   What I feared most however was the flare that was happening, along with brand new pains I had never felt before.  My left leg was hurting in an unusual way, feeling as if it might be swollen.  I chose to wear a loose skirt that day because my pants were too uncomfortable.  I also skipped my high heels and opted for sandals because my feet and ankles hurt.  All day it hurt to sit.  Not only was my leg hurting, but my hips were killing me.  I found myself pulling my left leg up, sort of sitting on my left foot if you could imagine, just to take the pressure off of my left hip.  Of course I was tired of drinking the lemonade concoction and I wasn’t experiencing the weight loss that was described on the Internet.  I had lost 1 1/2 pounds.  Weight loss wasn’t the reason I decided to stop.  I decided to stop because I started to really think about healing and how it works.  I know I don’t know everything, but I do know that healing takes time.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is a very serious disease.  If it’s severe, which mine is, it can damage a lot of joints, including organs very quickly.  And if you think about how long it takes to heal even a sprained ankle, another 6 days of the Master Cleanse isn’t going to heal everything that I have wrong with me.  I have hypothyroidism too, which means my thyroid doesn’t produce as much hormone as it’s suppose to.  Was the Master Cleanse going to heal that too?

I was in pain and getting worse quickly.  Not only did I have unusual pains, but I also had the typical pains from a flare, including very swollen fingers.  My doubts about the Master Cleanses ability to “heal all ailments” were growing.  I also looked up how the Master Cleanses inventor, Stanley Burroughs died.  I found conflicting evidence.  Wikipedia claims he “died of a massive hemorrhage of the mesentery in the abdomen.”   Other information on the internet claims, “Stanley Burroughs passed away in Newcastle, California, on June 16, 1991, at the age of 87, after a two-week battle against acute pneumonia. His death certificate also mentions leg fractures, apparently from a fall, and a urinary infection, as contributing conditions to his death.”

I wasn’t crazy about this diet to begin with, but several people whom I know closely were encouraging me.  They too were hoping my RA would magically disappear.  On the fourth day however, I realized knowing my body and what flares are like, that if this cleanse were really healing my body, there’s just no telling how long it could take.  Not only that, flares aren’t good for you.  Inflammation is bad.  You could, theoretically give yourself a heart attack or ruin an organ if inflammation gets too out of control.  I decided the risk wasn’t worth it, so I quit.

Since then, I’ve been exhausted, dealing with a sore throat every morning and recently, a partially swollen eyelid.  I have been suffering from an ongoing flare ever since I tried the Master Cleanse.  I just don’t believe, had I kept going that I’d be better off.  I don’t believe that it would have cured my hypothyroidism.  And I certainly don’t believe it would have cured, an even more complicated disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis.  There is just too much healing that would have needed to take place if it were even possible.

Bottom line is, I think the Master Cleanse is too drastic for people who have illnesses.  For instance, someone who suffers from Anemia, should not do a diet like this, in my opinion.  I am no doctor, but neither was Stanley.  I also think that because every person’s body is different, there’s just no telling what kind of effect, good or bad, a fast like this can have.

Is Rheumatoid Arthritis OUR fault??!! (A venting story)

Normal Hands vs. Arthritic Hands

Normal Hands vs. Arthritic Hands

Written by: Lisa (anonymous last name) Edited by: Sarah Keturah

I have a wonderful group of well-meaning friends. They all know about my condition, which my mother and my mom’s mom also have (my grandma had all her knuckles replaced several years ago and has severely deformed hands).

Nevertheless, I keep getting these emails and such about WONDER DIETS that will PURGE MY SYSTEM of the RA. How if I eliminate fungus (mushrooms, antibiotics) I will heal. How if I give up this or that or balance my chi or add yin to my yang or take up underwater basket weaving that I will have a miraculous recovery. PUH-LEEZE!

Did I drink too much Diet Coke? Was it my years of smoking cigarettes in college? I didn’t start eating red meat until I was in my 20s. Maybe I never should have started?

I don’t know. I’m just so FRUSTRATED. I don’t want to waste time on wondering WHY or HOW the RA happened, because now I have it and I have to live with it.

I am all for trying anything to help. Hell, I’m even trekking to Montana to see a Native American shaman this summer to see if he can pull the negative stuff out of me :-)

But I feel like people are looking at me with question marks in their eyes, peering into my soul, wondering *if* anything is wrong with me.

Maybe this irritates me so much because I wonder the same things, too. Sometimes I wonder if anything is wrong with me.

I see my swollen hands and have dreams about pain when I’m asleep. When I have flares I cry. I feel defeated by RA. But I can’t help but wonder … what is it?!

I am sero-negative so far (dx’d six months ago). My sed rates were up, but then went down at my last test. I want PROOF. I just want to know WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

And I want the people I love to quit questioning it. I don’t have the energy to try every stinkin’ diet, fast, medication or method. I am TIRED (the doctors call it “fatigued”) and I am SORE and I just want to make it through the day and change my baby’s diapers and get dinner on the table and clean clothes in the drawers.

Can’t I do that in peace, without having to wonder if I CAUSED MY RA?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Love you all, my kindred spirits.

Soft hugs all,
Lisa

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