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    New to RA and wondering about diet
    Toyon32 posted:
    Hi. I was just diagnosed with RA and just started prednisone yesterday and as soon as all my lab work is back I'll have to start methotrexate and I'm terrified. My rheumatologist made it sound so great, that I'd be pain free in a few months. I'm not so sure after reading all these posts. Before I went in I did some research on the RA diet. Can anyone give me feedback on it? The rheumatologist said not to bother but I wonder. Is RA a western disease brought on by the western diet or at least made worse by it? I have a small farm and my daily routine consists of a lot of manual labor and the need to use tools and stuff, constant pain during walking and in my hands has made life. Tremely hard for me and now I find myself just sinking into a depression. Not somewhere I want to be. Scared of what the future is going to bring and how it will effect my family.
    Djruss responded:

    I don't know anything about the RA diet. I can feel for you because at times this disease can be hard. Research, be your own advocate, and finally listen to your doctor or get a doctor that you will listen to. Not every doctor is right for every person. I was diagosed 15-20 years ago. I can tell you that meds can get you to a spot where you can do the things you want to do. I hope they do it for you. Keep thinking positive (I know sometimes that is hard!) but it will help you.
    xperky responded:
    Hi Toyon, I know someone who is treating a different disease and she includes an anti-inflammatory diet. You can do research about this and try to include those foods and exclude high inflammatory foods. I imagine a good diet like that could only help your other medicines work more efficiently.

    I believe the anti-inflammatory diet is full of green leafy vegies, fish, poultry, legumes, whole grains, and olive oil. Sounds good!

    I'm glad you have a doctor who will be helping you. Hopefully you and he will be finding a good medicine combo soon. Be patient during this stressful time, and I hope you get back to enjoying your farming as it can be such a satisfying job.
    mike201 responded:
    Hi Toyon32
    The first year with RA can be hard and Prednisone and Metho will help but both have significant side effects. I went immediately on to a full and strict anti-inflamation diet. It helps a lot and also counters some of the negative aspects of the drugs but you need to de-stress and exercise regularly as well. There is lots of research out there on diet, a few good books about Prednisone and lots of us willing to help. I started my diet when on 50 mg of Prednisone and the diet:
    - no oil which has been heated....nothing fried or roasted
    - no added salt or sugar
    - only raw or whole foods......absolutely nothing processed
    - three servings of fruit per day
    - fish and very rarely fatless meat
    - lots of veg
    - very dark chocolate OK
    - indian spices are good
    Overall, a mediterranean diet!! Take care. I remain on big drugs but things are better but unstable. Cheers, Mike
    marzipana responded:
    Two comments:
    1) Don't be terrified by what you read. Every case is individual, and often it's people with more challenging cases who participate in forums. You may indeed have a great response to the methotrexate, and early intervention has been shown to slow down or stop the progression of the disease. I have had satisfactory results with the MTX myself and haven't had to add any other treatments, etc. Be patient; there is a fair amount of trial and error in finding the right medication, but you can get help.

    2) I find an anti-inflammatory diet helpful. There are several versions out there, but the main features are plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy (unsaturated) oils. Foods to avoid include refined sugars, highly processed foods and foods high in sodium. I also take fish oil daily. Dr. Andrew Weill has an anti-inflammatory food guide, and there are many books and other resources.

    Good luck to you. It sounds like you are taking the right steps...working with a rheumatologist, doing research and looking for answers. Just take it one day at a time, and make time for activities you enjoy to keep your stress levels manageable!
    uneedgreens responded:
    Look into changing your diet. Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as pineapple. Eat more green vegetables. Research alkaline diets on the internet. Eliminate beef from your diet -- in doesn't help your inflammation. Sugar is very inflammatory -- cut out all sweets. Eliminate all fried foods. Become a vegetarian. Most people cannot take methotrexate for more than 2 months because of the side effects. Good Luck!
    col0080 responded:
    Hi, I was also just diagnosed with RA after a bout of something for over 12 years. The pain was unbarable and my mobility was nearly non existant. I was in and out of scooters and wheel chairs as I fought for some doctor to figure out what was going on and tell me that I wasn't crazy. The last straw was with the near loss of the use of my hands. That would have taken the last of my independance away from me. After going to the hospital and getting no satisfaction, we travelled to a bigger city hospital where after a battery of tests and a great specialist, I was finally diagnosed!

    Due to the length of time that it took to figure out what was going on, my Rheumatoid Factor was over 19 times higher than it should have been and my Autoimmune factor was so high they can't see an end to it.

    I was immediately put on prednisone (hated it) but it helped big time. I was also put on Plaquinil, which also helped; a few others that did a great job too, and then on the Methotrexate and folic acid. I am petrified of needles and was now faced with having to give myself one. I discovered that with Emla, you don't feel the needle at all. After a couple months, I was also put on Rotuxin Therapy. It has been a year and a half on these meds. I am now feeling great, pain free and am working out and actually getting out there and running short distances with my husband. What was once a scary existance for me is now one that I can look forward to and enjoy. Yes there are side effects and downsides to everything; but I wouldn't trade the results and relief that these meds have given me.

    You my not need to start with all the meds I had to, but the results I have had from them have been amazing! As well as using all these meds, I also try to stick to the RA diet. It just helps the meds do a better job.

    My family has been very supportive over the last 12 years. They have pushed me to do as much as I can for myself as long as I could do it. My husband has always been there to kick me in the butt if my self pity party lasted too long. It was always a big help. RA is not the sentence it used to be. You can live a relatively normal life with it compared to what it used to be. I am much happier, my kids are much happier, my husband is much happier.These medications have been a Godsend.

    Good luck and hope to hear that you are feeling fantastic soon!
    AB_9812 responded:
    Hi Toyon32,
    I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis, I know how it feels. I was diagnosed with RA this time last year (3 weeks after my 25th birthday, happy birthday right?) I was terrified and overwhelmed and in a world of pain. I was started on prednisone and Plaquenil. Plaquenil is the slowest acting drug used for RA so it was a full 7 months before I was 100% pain free but I got there. But my pain was greatly improved in the first 1-2 months, as was the fatigue and morning stiffness. So hang in there, IT GETS SO MUCH BETTER!

    As far as the diet, I was very interested in that too, I wanted to feel like I was doing something to fight back against the RA. I don't know that it helped, honestly it just added to my sense of being overwhelmed and that RA was taking my life completely away from me. I do eat pretty healthy any way (no red meat, no fried foods, lots of fruit and vegetables) but I also have a pretty horrid sweet tooth and giving up ice cream and chocolate was just not going to happen, lol. So if you really want to try the diet I say go for it. There's a book out there called "Foods That Fight Pain" and it has a good chapter on the anti-inflammatory diet.

    Hang in there, keep your chin up, allow yourself to have bad days and to be upset about it but know that it does get better!
    dinothewog responded:
    Hi Toyon32, I remember when I was diagnosed with RA, at the ripe old age of 32. No one else in my family has it. Fortunately, I'm a nurse, so I did alot of research to find out more about the disease and treatment options. I really don't know about any kind of RA diet, I even asked my Rheumatologist if there were certain foods to avoid and he said no. At one point, I was on 9 different medications for my RA, of course at various times, not all at once. But I'll tell you a few of my secrets. I am currently on Orencia, and that's it. Orencia is a wonder drug to me. It helped reduce ALL of my pain, stiffness and even fatigue to some extent. I was on Prednisone at the same time and I gained about 60 pounds, was on the border of becoming diabetic and other icky side effects associated with Prednisone. But I found one treatment, that made everything incredibly better, and that was exercise. I exercise everyday of the week, 3x/wk at a gym with a trainer, and I feel great. I've lost 38 pounds so far, I've gotten off the Prenisone, Methotrexate and alot of my other RA drugs. Of course all of this was done under the supervision of my Rheumatologist, but it works!

    You should talk to your Rheumatologist about exercising. Of course you need to start slow and easy, and than work your way up to more complex activities. But it has done wonders for me. Also I have an incredibly understanding husband and parents that helped me accomplish all of this. I'm still losing weight, and I'm feeling better and better by the minute. Even my Rheumatologist was surprised. In fact all of my doctors are surprised. I was told I would never be able to get off Predinisone and the other drugs I was taking. But I got tough and did it anyway.

    Yes, RA is quite a shocking diagnosis to have. I was in denial for a very long time. But I asked alot of questions, discussed treatment options and always kept my Rheumatologist informed of how I was feeling and if I had any changes or problems with medications. It's a balancing act, everyone is different. Good luck to you, and God bless.
    Toyon32 responded:
    Thank you to everyone who has written me such thoughtful and helpful responses. It's encouraging to read how you have all battled through the RA. I feel less alone after reading all these posts! I've just taken my fourth dose of the methotrexate and so far it's not as bad as I feared, just a headache the night I take it and upset bowels the next day. I was only on prednisone for three weeks and now the pain in my joints is returning but manageable. I'm taking fish oil and haven't changed my diet too much but I'm definitely being more mindful. It's not hard for me to cut out red meat and include more veggies so that's what I've done. Working on our farm has taken adjustment, I find I can do things that use larger muscles like shoveling and raking but anything that requires strength in my hands is difficult like using wire cutters or controlling a stubborn horse. I'm hoping the methotrexate will start working soon!
    Toyon32 replied to dinothewog's response:
    Thank you, I walk for 45 minutes a day unless my feet are really bad, my dogs make sure I go even if I'm a little gimpy! I hope it gets easier as the methotrexate start working, my rheumatologist said it might be three or four months. Is Orencia an infusion?
    Toyon32 replied to col0080's response:
    Wow! Your battle has been a long one! I'm so glad the meds worked for you, I hope to get there soon too.
    Toyon32 replied to marzipana's response:
    Thank you for your reassurance. I feel better about it now and am not as frightened. Another hurdle to overcome! I have a book on the anti inflammatory diet and although I'm not vegetarian(yet) I am following it pretty closely.
    Toyon32 replied to mike201's response:
    Thank you, I'm getting there on the diet. Do you still have flares even on the drugs?

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