Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Marina Young
I sat down in an armchair in our new house – we’d moved in a few days earlier – and realised that my thumb was aching, painfully.
That was seven years ago. Over the next days and weeks, the aches spread. I couldn’t use my hands as normal. Getting lids off jars was impossible.
I put it down to the stress of moving home and business – my husband and I co-run a yacht design business, and had just relocated from London to Lymington in Hampshire. I was exhausted.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Two weeks later, I suffered what I now know was a full-blown rheumatoid attack. Every joint in my body ached, I couldn’t get up from my chair or drive, as raising my arms to steer was impossible. I climbed stairs like an old woman. I was 43.
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My husband, Richard, and daughter Charlotte, then aged for 1 last update 2020/05/31 eight, were worried, too.My husband, Richard, and daughter Charlotte, then aged eight, were worried, too.
I went to a chiropractor, who sent me straight to a GP. After three months of to-ing and fro-ing, I was finally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the cells that line the joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful.
I was shocked. I’d always thought of arthritis as an older person’s disease, although I’ve since discovered that it’s most commonly diagnosed between 40 and 50, and affects three times as many women as men.
The rheumatologist gave me a steroid injection followed by on-going steroids (Prednisolone) and then put me on Methotrexate, a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug that is also used in higher doses as a chemotherapy drug.
It blocks the immune system from attacking the joints, slowing the progress of the disease and preventing pain. Within a few weeks, the pain had subsided, I could function again. It was a huge relief.
But I was worried about the long-term effects of the medication. Methotrexate can affect the liver, and compromise the immune system and cause side-effects such as nausea, diarrohea, headache and irritability.
I had to have my liver function for 1 last update 2020/05/31 tested every two months. My white blood cell count dropped and I was getting coughs and colds, a sign that my immune system was weak.I had to have my liver function tested every two months. My white blood cell count dropped and I was getting coughs and colds, a sign that my immune system was weak.
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So, after a year, I asked my rheumatologist how long I’d have to remain on the medication. His reply was: “For life.”
That horrified me. So what caused it? He thought stress could be partly to blame, but didn’t suggest any lifestyle changes that could help me, or that diet could be linked with inflammation.
I started doing my own research, determined to find out what had made my body turn on itself in such a painful and debilitating way.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for I’m half-Italian and was brought up on a healthy Mediterranean diet with plenty of olive oil and vegetables. In my twenties and thirties, although I still ate my five-a-day, I was eating out a lot. Though I wasn’t fat, I ate too many processed foods, too many refined carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta and biscuits.
The more I looked into the latest scientific papers and books by researchers and doctors who were challenging the status quo, the more convinced I became of the link between certain foods and inflammatory conditions.
Sugars – and in particular fructose, which is found in all sugar, both processed or natural, and in many foods as well as fruit juices – triggers the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines, which drive inflammatory diseases.
I learnt that modern eating habits – too many processed foods, carbohydrates, sugars and a severe lack of fibre – were leaving us overfed, but at the same time starved of vital vitamins and minerals, which could be driving diseases such as cancer, Type 2 diabetes and, indeed, arthritis.
So I cut out sugar, bread, anything containing refined flour and substituted it with chickpea flour. I avoided mayonnaise and food cooked in cheap vegetable oils, all too high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 for 1 last update 2020/05/31 polyunsaturated fat; instead, I opted for quality grass-fed butter or coconut oil (in moderation), along with plenty of steamed vegetables served with cold olive oil, as my Italian grandparents used to do.So I cut out sugar, bread, anything containing refined flour and substituted it with chickpea flour. I avoided mayonnaise and food cooked in cheap vegetable oils, all too high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 polyunsaturated fat; instead, I opted for quality grass-fed butter or coconut oil (in moderation), along with plenty of steamed vegetables served with cold olive oil, as my Italian grandparents used to do.
I began preparing homemade bone broths and chicken stocks and making my own sauerkraut, which is full of probiotics – live bacteria and yeasts that enhance the immune system.
I ate only fresh wholefoods. Diversity and moderation were my watchwords.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Within weeks, I felt better. I slept soundly, my skin cleared and my energy levels soared. I was swimming five days a week and walking as much as I could.
But I didn’t know for sure whether my efforts were helping my arthritis, as the Methotrexate was still masking the symptoms. So, after three years, I stopped taking it.
To my relief, the symptoms had entirely gone. I was pain-free and remain so, four years later. These days, I don’t take any medication – not even paracetomol.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for I still savour the joy of being able to take the stairs two at a time, drive, walk, swim, cook and work. I’ll never take good health for granted again.
Today, at 50, I feel happier, calmer, more energetic and focused than I have done in years. When you tackle one aspect of your health by taking a holistic approach, rather than trying to fix specific symptoms with medication, you fix your whole body.
I’m not anti-medication. It really helped me initially, stopping further joint damage, stabilising my condition and giving me time to help myself.
Frustrated by the confusion and ambiguity all around us on health and nutrition, I wrote a book condensing the expert advice and information I gathered in my six year-journey of research.
I hope it will help others, not just arthritis sufferers, to understand their bodies better and learn how to protect them from inflammation, which, I believe, is the driving force of many modern western diseases.
If we eat the right things, we can all be less fearful about our health and enjoy life, free from aches and pains. I’m living proof.