Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic multisystem disease of unknown cause. The typical physical findings include persistent inflammatory synovitis, which are symmetric in distribution. This synovitis causes cartilage damage and bony erosions. This leads to symptoms of pain and inflammation. The clinical picture of rheumatoid arthritis may be mild to severe or debilitating. The degree of disability is influenced by several factors, i.e. genetic factors, environmental factors, and the health of the immune system.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (Information)
It is thought that Rheumatoid Arthritis may be related to an infectious agent in a genetically predisposed patient. Several agents have been suggested such as Mycoplasma and other bacteria (Chlamydia, coxiella, Brucella, Borellia, etc.), Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, Parvovirus, and Rubella virus.
Dr. Garth Nicolson found that 50% of patients with RA carry one of the four species of Mycoplasma blood infections. The process whereby an infectious agent can cause chronic inflammation and eventually lead to changes of rheumatoid arthritis is still unclear. One possibility involves a chronic infection around the articular joint, which stimulates a chronic immune response and therefore destruction of the joint.
Another explanation is that the infectious agent alters the cell wall presentation to the immune system and leads to an autoimmune (self-destructive) response by the body against the articular joints. This explains many of the chronic signs and symptoms of this disease.
The articular manifestations include symmetric joint pain, tenderness, and swelling of affected joints usually in the PIP and MCP joints of the hands and feet. Morning stiffness is common.
The predominant infiltrating cell around the synovium is the T lymphocyte. The major population of T cells in the rheumatoid synovium is composed of CD4+ memory T cells that accumulate around post capillary blood vessels. In advanced diseases, both polyclonal globulin and autoantibody rheumatoid factors are produced within the joint tissue, which leads to immune complexes. These findings have suggested the propagation of RA is mediated by the immune system.
Major therapies are directed at suppressing the immune system or blocking the effects of an over active immune system. Aspirin or NSAIDS (including COX-2 inhibitors), intrarticular glucocorticoids, systemic glucocorticoids, or DMARDS (Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs)- methotrexate, gold, hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine, or D-penicillamine have been used to stop the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
These therapies do have an impact on the acute and chronic stages of rheumatoid arthritis, but they also have a negative impact on the immune system.
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One such new product is Total Process Aloe, which is a glyconutrient. Total Process Aloe is a specially processed aloe vera that contains very long chains of mucopolysaccharides (simple sugars). The combination of simple sugars like glucose, mannose, rhabdose and other single sugars make up this very large molecule. This is the active ingredient in TotAloe.
Total Process Aloe has been found to contain the largest combination of sugars, which measure upwards of 16,000 linkages. Most other aloe vera products only measure up to 5,000 linkages. The larger the molecule of mucopolysaccharides, the greater benefit to the immune system. This is especially important in Rheumatoid Arthritis where the immune system is out of control and causing such damage to the synovium and joints.
The prognosis for Rheumatoid Arthritis is variable and difficult to predict. Studies show that after 10-12 years that 80% of patients will have evidence of disability or significant joint deformity. Within ten years, 50% of those affected will also have some form of work disability. Persistent elevation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate, disability, and pain over a prolonged time period will predict a high probability of work disability.
It is therefore imperative that treatment be aggressive to control the overactive immune system, without causing any undue side effects that will affect overall health in the future. Natural immune modulators have the ability to help the immune system without hurting the body. There may be a place for combined therapies. This will allow benefit from low dose chemical therapy and natural supplements.
Glyconutritional supplements are not intended to treat a specific disease process, nor are they intended to replace a prescription medication. They are intended to augment or assist the immune system in returning to better function.
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