You've been given a lot of great advice, and knowledge is
your best friend. It's also important to find a doctor who will listen to you and answer your questions, although I understand your circumstances of being somewhat isolated in a small town.
You should be aware that autoimmune diseases can be very complicated and may have different root causes. I have multiple autoimmune diseases and I know that part of the reason why is that I am genetically predisposed to develop them; more than half of my relatives have at least one AI disease.
However, as part of my own research I discovered that if you have celiac disease (and many people have CD without knowing that they do), it can literally "
open the door" for other AI diseases to develop if you continue to eat gluten. In fact, gluten is known to increase inflammation and many people who have RA go gluten free and see improvement in their symptoms. I have a friend whose RA went into remission when she went gluten free.
The other suggestion I would like to give you is to be tested for Lyme disease, if you haven't already been tested. I never thought in a million years that I could possibly have Lyme disease....boy, was I wrong!!! Lyme disease can both mimic AND trigger AI diseases and fibromyalgia, and it is becoming epidemic in this country, so if you are diagnosed with an AI disease (especially if you are diagnosed with MULTIPLE AI diseases) it is a good idea to be tested for Lyme, just to be safe.
I apparently contracted Lyme disease perhaps as many as 6 or 7 years ago, and I believe that it triggered my lupus, RA, autoimmune hepatitis and fibromyalgia. I've had celiac disease, psoriasis, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis since childhood though.
I truly hope that you DON'T have anything "extra" like celiac or Lyme disease! And I also pray you don't have lupus on top of the RA! But I wanted to make you aware of the complicated nature of things, and also of the fact that the more AI diseases you have, the more likely it is that you will develop more of them in the future.
You're in my thoughts and prayers as you begin this journey.....
Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, AIH, Hashimoto's, lupus, fibro, RA, celiac disease, asthma, psoriasis, Raynaud's, hypertension, osteopenia, sleep apnea, RLS, GERD, DDD, L3-4 and L4-5 radiculopathy -> severe lower back pain, cubital tunnel, tarsal tunnel, IV Rocephin, Alinia, Zithromax, Prednisone, Imuran, Plaquenil, Lyrica, Cymbalta, Levothyroxine, Atenolol, Cozaar, Zyrtec, Fosamax, Albuterol, Prilosec, CPAPautoimmunediseasesgfliving.blogspot.com
Post Edited (nasalady) : 6/25/2010 3:00:07 PM (GMT-6)