Living with Lupus, Really?


You don’t read a lot of lupus. I guess its one of those diseases that lacks a colored ribbon and a celebrity spokes person, but for many people lupus is a life-altering condition. More from Judy Fortin of CNN:
Amy Harned, who lives in Webster, Massachusetts, is among the 1.5 million Americans who suffer from the autoimmune disorder. Lupus causes the body's immune system to attack its own tissues, causing inflammation and damage. When Harned's lupus was first diagnosed, she said she "was really terrified, but gradually I got more information." She realized with proper treatment she could lead a somewhat normal life…

"…The prognosis for lupus today is very good," Lisa Fitzgerald, a Boston, Massachusetts-based rheumatologist, said. "The survival rate is really over 90 percent in five to 10 years of having the disease. In the 1950s it was probably 50 percent."

Part of the reason for the improved success has to do with better treatment in managing the condition. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen offer relief to some patients.

Other lupus sufferers might be prescribed an antimalarial drug called hydroxychloroquine.

"It's a quinine derivative. It's quite safe," Fitzgerald said. "It can make a big difference for patients who have mild disease."

Fitzgerald added she also prescribes corticosteroids "to squelch flareups." While they work well, she cautioned they do have side effects.
Wow! A life time of prescribed drugs—now that sounds like modern medicine! But what if there was another way? A healthier way to live your life without lupus, Dr. Fuhrman talks about it:
For the last 20 years, multiple studies have been published in medical journals documenting the effectiveness of high vegetable diets on autoimmune illnesses.1 These have been largely ignored by the medical profession and most doctors still deny the effectiveness of nutrition on autoimmune and inflammatory conditions; a high-nutrient eating-style is most effective in aiding people suffering with these conditions.
And here’s a little more from Dr. Fuhrman:
An aggressive nutritional approach to autoimmune illnesses should always be tried first when the disease is in its infancy. Logically, the more advanced the disease is, and the more damage that has been done by the disease, the less likely the patient will respond. My experience with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis is that some patients are more dietary-sensitive than others and that some patients have very high levels of inflammation that are difficult to curtail with natural therapy. Nevertheless, the majority benefit—and since the conventional drugs used to treat these types of illnesses are so toxic and have so many risky side effects, the dietary method should be tried first.
You got to wonder, why something as simple and noninvasive as changing diet isn’t always tried first. Oh wait! It doesn’t make money.
1. Nenonen M, Törrönen R, Häkkinen AS, et al. Antioxidants in vegan diet and rheumatic disorders. Toxicology. 2000;155(1-3):45-53. Müller H, de Toledo FW, Resch KL, et al. Fasting followed by vegetarian diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Scand J Rheumatol. 2001;30(1):1-10. McDougall J, Bruce B, Spiller G, et al. Effects of a very low-fat, vegan diet in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. J Altern Complement Med. 2002;8(1):71-75. Darlington LG, Ramsey NW, Mansfield JR. Placebocontrolled, blind study of dietary manipulation therapy in rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet 1986;1(8475):236-238.
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Dr. Bob Childree - January 10, 2009 3:11 PM

Interestingly, Dr. Max Gerson cured Lupus quite accidentally back in the 1920's while treating a patient for extreme migraines. Dr. Gerson placed the man on a vegan diet (all vegetables and fruits- nothing from an animal, including fowl and fish.) In three months' time the patient startled Dr. Gerson by opening his shirt and showing him healed Lupus lesions. The man had sufferred with Lupus for many years and had clinical records to prove it. Dr. Gerson actually did not believe that his migraine diet had cured the man's Lupus, but further testing on Lupus patients showed that his diet was effective in essentially 100% of Lupus cases. You can read about this and several other "uncurable diseases" being cured with Dr. Gerson's diet in the biograpy by his grandson, Howard Straus. "Dr. Max Gerson- Healing the Hopeless," is available online from www.gerson.org. It is one of my favorite books ever, and I highly recommend it.

Sandra - June 5, 2011 9:30 PM

I know this post is old, but wondering if you can help me out. I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis about four months ago. I have been pesco-vegetarian for many years. I am now doing a dairy-free, gluten-free diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables and small amounts of fish. Any other suggestions? I have yet to meet anyone with Autoimmune Hepatitis who has been able to stop taking medications by changing their diet. I am currently taking Imuran and Prednisone and would do ANYTHING to stop this. Thanks so much!

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