I had lunch with a new acquaintance, Martha, a couple months ago. Our acquaintance began when all the tables in the restaurant were full and she graciously invited me to join her. She was a lovely and friendly lady and we liked each other right away. Conversations can get interesting when two people like each other and this conversation certainly did. She told me how sick she was of being sick.
For a year or so she had symptoms that just came and went. Her doctor first diagnosed some sort of flu because she had “flu-like” symptoms. The doctor said diagnostic flu tests can’t be trusted and he gave her some medicine to treat the fever and headache. Then the symptoms went away. And then they came back.
So then the doctor decided that she must have a bacterial infection and gave her an antibiotic. That didn’t work either. Over several more months the flu-like symptoms morphed into swelling, pain in her joints, persistent fatigue, and a nasty rash. She showed me the rash – which I didn’t really want to see.
Finally she went to a different doctor who diagnosed her as having lupus, an acute chronic autoimmune disease which attacks any organ of the body in unpredictable ways. She was now taking an immune suppressant (she couldn’t remember the name) and just praying it would work because she was sick, sick, sick of being sick.
Her story reminded me of Margaret, a woman with lupus who was the subject of an autoimmune post I did a while back. Margaret said there was no way that food could be causing her condition but she was wrong. So I told Martha about Margaret, including the book that Margaret used to fix herself. She happily wrote down the book, The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers, and we parted ways.
Of course, as soon as I got home I began doing some digging and here is what I learned.
- Lupus belongs in the family of (autoimmune) diseases that includes rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, and scleroderma.
- Lupus is particularly hard to diagnose because it can target any tissue or organ in the body, including skin, muscles, joints, blood and blood vessels, lungs, heart, kidneys, and the brain.
- There are multiple genetic variations (polymorphisms) that can converge negatively and create the potential for this disease. More variations are likely to be found as genetic research continues..
- And, as Margaret discovered, the environmental triggers that turn lupus potential into actual lupus are frequently food related. In Margaret’s case, the triggers were gluten and dairy.
- Depending on one individual’s genetic variations the triggers could be different.
My research into polymorphisms was posted just days ago. If this has relevance for you or anyone you know, I encourage you to view that post here.
In the meantime, Martha is in my prayers.