Sunday, June 05, 2005

I was pleased to see this basically upbeat article on autoimmune diseases in the women's health supplement of the New York Times. There's lots of good news there, especially for people like me who have rare autoimmune diseases. According to the article, there's a trend towards treating autoimmune diseases as a category, rather than looking at each condition separately. Eventually, there may be a speciality in "autoimmunity," like there's now a specialty in oncology to cover all kinds of cancer. And there are several promising treatments that are being tested or that will soon be tested. The article suggests that, after a long period of neglect, these diseases are finally getting significant research attention.

One of the things I liked the most about the article is that they used pictures of black women, and a story about a Latina woman, to illustrate their points. Most articles about autoimmune diseases acknowledge that they are more common in women of color than in white women, but the overwhelming majority still seem to focus on white women. Considering how difficult these diseases often are to diagnose, and what an important role patients often play in making sure that their doctors reach an accurate diagnosis, that seems like a problem. Not to mention that it's just another annoying instance of journalists assuming that white people are the default.

Comments:
Yup. I can't tell you how good it was for me to go to my first rheumatologist. Eye doctors tend to make you feel like a freak when your body casually rejects your eyeballs, but seeing a doctor who treats all autoimmune diseases can help put it into perspective. The thing is that these diseases are relatively common - there's got to be some pretty good research going on. I hope.
 
It's not so much that my eye doctor considers me a freak as that she's convinced it's really syphilis or a brain tumor.

Apparently there hasn't been much research on autoimmune diseases, even though they're really common. It's partly that it's really hard to tell if medication is working or not, since everyone has different symptoms and since most people's symptoms get better and worse on their own, even with no medication.
 
There's a school of thought that believes that autoimmune diseases (the ones I've tended to get are sinus problems and asthma, but there are others, maybe including your problem) are all caused by acidosis--by a diet that leaves the body with too low a pH. But standard Western medical doctors get little or no training in nutrition, and studies that would prove such theories tend not to get funded; the drug companies and other corporations don't stand to gain from people abstaining from their drugs and goodies and just changing their diets instead.

Recently, after reading some stuff, I switched from coffee to green tea, quit smoking and started eating a lot of almonds, melons and other "alkalizing" foods. Also, I cut down drastically on meat and cheese. It's too early for me to say if I'm cured--in fact I just had a second sinus surgery to treat polyps that were growing back--but my asthma is virtually nonexistent, I'm off prednisone and I've greatly reduced my use of steroid inhalers (just one puff of flovent a day now, which I exhale it through my sinuses in lieu of also using a nasal inhaler). I feel better than I have in a long time, which is saying something.

I don't know if this would work for everybody, but it's something worth checking out, anyway.
 
Looking at asthma drug info online today while my son coughs I came across this post. Does anyone know a good asthma drug site to help?

Thanks
 
You keep a nice blog. I just started one myself, about Diseases. If you know of anyone who'd benefit from Diseases information, then please refer them to my Diseases information site. I'll return the favor.

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You keep a very nice blog. I'm new to the whole blog thingy, but I enjoy reading through other people's blogs.
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