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.
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Eat For Health: Autoimmune Disease and Arthritis



This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

Working with patients who have autoimmune diseases is one of the most rewarding aspects of my medical practice. Autoimmune and immune-mediated illnesses include diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, connective tissue disease, and the inflammatory bowel diseases called ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, but there are also more than 100 clinical syndromes considered autoimmune diseases. Obviously, not every patient with these diseases can make a complete, drug-free recovery; however, the amazing thing is that so many patients can, and do, recover. The recoveries are not limited to recognized autoimmune diseases. I see many patients with pain syndromes without laboratory documentation of autoimmune disease. The ability to achieve substantial improvement, and in many cases complete remission of these supposedly incurable illnesses, is exciting. I have been writing about these success stories for many years, including submissions to medical publications.1 For the last 20 years, multiple studies have been published in medical journals documenting the effectiveness of high vegetable diets on autoimmune illnesses.2 These have been largely ignored by the medical profession and most doctors still deny the effectiveness of nutrition on autoimmune and inflammatory conditions; however these pages describe the critical features of the eating-style most effective in aiding people suffering with these conditions. Although it is not clear why these studies are quickly forgotten or ignored after their publication, one factor may be that there is no financial incentive for anyone to promote the power of dietary intervention as a medical therapy like pharmaceutical companies do when studies show some efficacy for their products.

And here’s Jodi’s success story:

“I was desperate when I traveled to New Jersey to see Dr. Fuhrman. I had been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and had suffered from open skin lesions and full body itchiness for years. I followed his advice to the letter. He put me on a special eating plan, and, after about three months, I started to get better. My legs and arms cleared up first. My body healed from the extremities inward, and six months later my psoriasis was totally gone. My doctors are amazed. Today my skin is completely clear with no itchiness or blotches, and I have no more arthritic pain. Recent blood tests show I no longer have the blood test markers that show inflammation. I cannot fully express what this recovery means to me. I am so grateful that Dr. Fuhrman insisted I could be helped and then guided me to wellness.”
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Nutritional Wisdom: Nutrition Can Defeat Autoimmune Disease

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Here’s a peek at this week’s episode:

Nutritional excellence beats autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and psoriasis. Sounds hard to believe, but once you understand Dr. Fuhrman’s plan you will find that nutrition may be more powerful than drugs. Plus, hear stories from patients who conquered their autoimmune diseases thanks to Dr. Fuhrman. Instead of facing a lifetime of pain, suffering, and toxic medications, these patients chose to get completely well.

Check out the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

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Jill's Dramatic Journey to Recovery

Here is Jill's lupus recovery story from the November 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Times:
My lupus story began in 1992, when I was 32 years old. I started to experience severe joint pains, fatigue, and a red facial rash. The blood tests came back specific for lupus. At first, I thought this was good news—a diagnosis; now we can do something about it. Well, I was then told there is no cure, and I would have to “live with it” and take medication for the rest of my life. I even was told by the rheumatologist I might die from it. Even with the medications, I had a constant low-grade fever, low energy, a bright red face, stiffness, and joint pain.


I could not accept this death sentence and a life dependent on toxic drugs. I researched everything I could find about this disease and tried changing to a vegetarian diet and alternative medicine, with some degree of success.

After hearing about Dr. Fuhrman, I took the train to New Jersey to meet him. He convinced me to take steps to regain my health. I decided to adopt a healthier diet and to do some fasting. Soon I felt like a teenager again. My face was cool and white for the first time in years, my joints felt great, and I had lots of energy. I lost a little weight and looked great.

I went back to see my rheumatologist, who was on staff at a teaching hospital. I thought he’d be interested in my recovery. But when I started to tell him about my experience and my newfound health, he practically walked out of the room. He was not the least bit interested in hearing the details of my recovery, and he simply wrote “spontaneous recovery” on my chart.

Nine years later, I remain symptom-free, and lupus is no longer part of my life. I play tennis and compete on a local team. No one who knows me today would ever guess that I used to be in such pain I couldn’t even shake someone’s hand.
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Diet vs. Autoimmune Diseases

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

Working with patients with autoimmune diseases such as connective tissue diseases, myositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus is very rewarding. These patients had been convinced they could never get well and are usually eternally grateful to be healthy again and not require medication.

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. Modern drugs often contribute to the disability and misery of patients with an autoimmune illness and increase cancer risk. Studies show that the long-term outcome is poor after twenty years of taking such medication.1 A recent study in the British Journal of Rheumatology showed the major drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and methotrexate, increase ethe likelihood that the person will die of cancer.2 

Patients who use drugs that suppress the immune system forgo some protection that the immune system offers against infection and cancer. These individuals need a superior diet, even if they can’t stop all medication.

So many of the patients I see, especially the ones who have made recoveries, are angry at their former physicians who did not even suggest nutrition before starting them on medication. These individuals are usually so “sick of being sick,” they will do anything to get well. They don’t find the diet restrictive and show enthusiasm and determination to recover their health. It is terrifically exciting to see such patients make recoveries and eliminate the need for medication.

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Glucosamine and Chondroitin in the News

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study claiming that two popular arthritis supplements don't work. Gina Kolata of The New York Times reports that despite the $734 million Americans spent on glucosamine and chondroitin in 2004, trials revealed few results.

In the member section of his website, Dr. Fuhrman has said "I think glucosamine and chondroitin are safe and have some clinical evidence to show they are mildly helpful. So if they are helping you, great."

He is more interested in looking at the bigger picture. He says that poor diets can cause rheumatoid arthritis and similar conditions. Adopting a nutrient rich vegetable based diet offers you the chance to eradicate it. This is from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Some people, especially other physicians, may be skeptical. There are so many exaggerated and false claims made in health field, especially by those selling so-called natural remedies. Nevertheless, it is wrong to underestimate the results obtainable through appropriate nutritional intervention. Even many of my patients with autoimmune illnesses (such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hyperthyrodism) are able to recover and throw away their medications.


When one of my patients who had a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis went back to her previous physician, a rheumatologist, and told him she was now well and did not require any medication, he replied, "It must just be that you are resting more." She said, "I'm not resting more. In fact, I am more active than ever because my pain is gone, and I stopped the drugs." He replied, "It's just a temporary remission; you'll be back soon with another crisis." She never went back.

He also includes this table of diseases that can be caused by poor diet.

Dietary-Caused Illnesses with High Prevalence
acneallergiesangina
appendicitisasthmaarthritis
atherosclerosisconstipationcolonic polyps
diabetes(adult)diverticulosisesophagitis
fibromyalgiagallstonesgastritis
goutheadacheshemorrhoids
high blood pressurehypoglycemic symptomsindigestion
irritable bowel syndromekidney stoneslumbar spine syndromes
macular degenerationmusculoskeletal painosteoperosis
sexual dysfunctionstrokeuterine fibroids

Julisa's Excellent Diet Defeats Lupus

The following story was written by Rosario P. who lives in Clifton, New Jersey.

In March 2004, Julisa developed a rash and after consulting several doctors, it was treated as poison ivy with topical medications. When the problem persisted, we took Julisa to St. Joseph's Hospital in Patterson, NJ. Following many tests, including kidney DNA, she was diagnosed with stage-four lupus (end stage), and placed on immunosuppressive drugs and steroids, including prednisone, creating very difficult side effects for a teenage girl. Desperate for alternative treatments, Julisa's mother and I searched the Internet for lupus information and found Jill Harrington's book, The Lupus Recovery Diet. The book credits included Joel Fuhrman, M.D. and we made the first appointment in August 2004.

Dr. Fuhrman explained the benefits of natural, balanced nutrition and prescribed a completely plant-based diet to cleanse Julisa's system. Of course, we were very skeptical that a diet could have such a drastic impact on her condition.

About the same time we took Julisa to a kidney specialist at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, who told us that she was facing kidney dialysis and placed Julisa on the national kidney transplant list. We struggled with the options facing her and the family. On one hand, Julisa would endure a weekly routine of dialysis sessions and eventual kidney failure, if a transplant wasn't found. On the other hand, she (and the family) would have to completely change eating habits -- no more pizza or cheeseburgers -- to comply with Dr. Fuhrman's program, and we weren't sure it was going to work.

Under Dr. Fuhrman's care, we finally decided to stop all Julisa's medications and treat her lupus with a plant-based diet. April 2005 testing revealed absolutely no trace of lupus in Julisa's system. Her kidney function has improved dramatically and continues to return to full function. Julisa recently celebrated her "Sweet Sixteen," with a healthy future and junior year in high school ahead of her. We all take every opportunity to tell other lupus patients and anyone we know about the miraculous results obtained from Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional approach. We are so very grateful to Dr. Fuhrman.