Chronic Diseases Can’t Be Cured?

I was just doing a little side-digging on rheumatoid arthritis — an autoimmune, inflammatory condition — and came across this line on the Arthritis Foundation website

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, meaning it can’t be cured.”

Who decided that the definition of a chronic disease is one that can’t be cured? Why?

The “incurableness” of chronic diseases is a pervasive and, in my opinion, pernicious belief. It’s the foundation and subtle undertone for any conversation about treating and dealing with chronic disease. But there’s nothing about chronicity, per se, that lends itself to the inability to cure it. Chronicity can end. A sentence is a chronic series of letters that eventually ends. Like that one right there.

By the way, guess who tells me that eczema can’t be cured? The National Eczema Association. Feel free to check them out so you can learn all about how to “live with eczema.” (This is how I decided to live with eczema.)

Maybe it’s a bad idea to set up and devote precious resources to organizations that would have to shut down if a disease was cured?

Our health care system treats chronic disease like it’s a club membership.

Animals get cures. We get organizations and welcome pamphlets.

I know, I’m so cynical. But I can’t help it. It’s chronic.

— Heisenbug

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27 thoughts on “Chronic Diseases Can’t Be Cured?

  1. Indeed. I’ve got psoriasis and have discovered that I can sometimes clear up patches with topical treatments using iodine, tea-tree oil, bleach baths, and bio-film breakers like xylitol. I’m adding in Tatertot Tim’s starch protocol to see if I can’t get better results by fixing up my insides as well.
    If I can create a reliable method I’ll be sure to post it.

  2. Even most of the doctors say that autoimmune diseases are of an unknown origin and that what we eat has no effect on a particular disease. I am no expert but how can someone that spend so much time in medical school say something like that? I mean we know how much of our immune system is in our gut and that we push a few pound a day of food in ourselves so how come that they don’t see the connection.

    On topic of RA. How would you go about on trying to cure RA. I am certain that it has a lot to do with microbiotia (and probably lack of some fat soluble vitamins D,K2,…)

    • Considering how little I know about RA, I wouldn’t dare prescribe any sort of specific regimen. But if RA can be helped by restoring gut/microbiome health (a link that’s been well-documented), then everything prescribed on this blog so far would probably apply, minus any personal intolerances or sensitivities. I have heard that potato starch might aggravate joint pain in those with RA, but that’s purely anecdotal at this point and still being looked into. Just something to be aware of.

      • I have a friend with RA and she is intolerant to nightshades so potato starch might not work for her – I don’t know if the intolerance is part of the RA or a completely separate issue. However other methods for restoring gut health would probably be good.

      • I wasn’t expecting a detailed plan, just some guidelines as I am interested in the topic (not for myself). It is hard getting past the conventional wisdom of metrotrexat and other ‘poisons’. As far as I did a little research going Paleo or even AIP Paleo (waiting for the book from Sarah Ballantyne to arrive) should help, but being careful not to go VLC for a prolonged period of time. Also adding food for microbiota FOS,PS,…, adding SBO, probiotics and as I mentioned before fat soluble vitamins as they can help modulate the immune system (high dosages of vitamin D seam to be very helpful in many autoimmune diseases (RA,Psoaris,MS,…), but one should also get co-factors K2,Mg).

        The other thing that is interesting for the future are faecal transplants if one is not capable of ‘repairing’ his 90% of cells. Your thoughts?

      • FMT is definitely a very promising avenue. But so far, it’s only been shown to be definitively effective in cases of infection (C. difficile, specifically). Over 90% effective, I believe. But it’s really only a matter of time until it’s applied to other conditions, I think.

  3. Come on Shant what the heck do you think the Diabetes Association is all about? The Cancer Society? The Heart and Stroke? My wife canvassed for the Cancer Society for years. Until she found out. Labeling something a disease is an act with commercial intent. Of course I am saying nothing new and nothing original and when stating the world of health care is an alternate universe where you live or die by the grace of the white coated priests, who operate within the secure walls of cascaded knowledge. Of the wrong kind. Where nobody would dream of treating skin conditions with castor oil. Too cheap and too simple and of course also because those ignorant Indians have done it for ages. What good can that be? But now that we are beginning to enter the wondrous world of molecular and cell biology things may not be so simple or straightforward anymore. What we see happen concurrently may have a seemingly unrelated vector which may be influenced by something yet to be uncovered.

    • @ James
      Recalling my anger when we found an easy intervention to stop or even prevent epileptic seizures, after more than thirty years that is, only a year ago. Trying to share with doctors proved frustrating. Well, then on to good ones in the system, the Societies, Foundations, etc.. This truly sent me overboard, it’s business all over the place. Fighting the old has proven (even self-) destructive. Finding ways to establish the new, (new- lol, the procedure here has been known to science more than 80 – eighty! years) is my aim now.
      Pacem.

  4. I know, I’m so cynical. But I can’t help it. It’s chronic.
    HA!!
    I’m 72 yoa and have CHRONIC kidney disease. It’s gone from (GFR) 9% to now 55% – which is average for 72 year old’s. So I guess the time you depart from 100% you’re in the chronic stage since kidney’s age and will never reach previous highs. Or so I’m told.

    • Wow, Tom. What did you do to improve it that much! My husband has somewhat reduced kidney function due to an incident about two years ago – I just assumed it would stay the same and probably get worse with age and we just had to be careful not to stress them too much with any drugs or medical procedures. He has managed to bounce back in other areas way more than doctor’s expected – because we researched and actively went beyond just prescribed drugs.

  5. JV. Just prior to going to Taiwan and Cambodia (Sep 19, 2013) my GFR was 55. Upon return in Nov my GFR was 9. The Dr’s suggested an “event” caused this & migh make it possible to recover. They immediately took me off several meds (thinking a reaction to them) and in a week my GFR was 19 and I was released. The meds they took away were primarily Niacin, Omeprazole, and a blood pressure medicine. The also reduced my Crestor from 20 mg to 10 mg. At home I searched for any renal diet info I could find. There is not much on renal diets (unlike diabetes) but this book from Amazon is pretty good. “Kidney Health Gourmet” by Nina Kolby. Also the Davita site has renal/diabetes recipes. (http://www.davita.com/recipes/) Look for charts in the nephrologists offices about potassium, salt, and phosphorous contents. They usually show low, medium & high mineral contents. This is also a source (http://www.kidneys.co.nz/resources/file/ckd_&_nutrition.pdf) and if you scroll down to about page 6 there are a bunch of charts that I printed out.
    So, was my recovery due to an “event” I was removed from? Removal of drugs which caused a reaction? (this is a possibility. After release some drugs were resumed and the next evening I was in the ER) Or has strict control of diet and nutrition the primary contributor. Even my doctors won’t say.
    Mr Heisenbug, I hope this wasn’t a hijack of your topic. If it was, I apologize.

    • Tom, thanks so much for the info. It seems to be like many things they call chronic in that there is really no protocol for actually healing the body. And yes, sorry to Mr. Heisenbug if we hijacked your topic – but the principles of healing rather than just treating symptoms seems to span many areas of medicine, including the gut.

  6. One question (I will post it here as I’ve been active in this thread).

    I have just been informed that I have a H.plyori Infection and should do a course of antibiotics. Any suggestions how to do it without compromising my gut flora to much?

    I will be taking ginger,turmeric,cinnamon,coconut oil, zinc-carnisone to help with eradication and probiotics, a lot of FOS,PS to help feed my little friends 🙂

    Anything else?

    • Hi AT. The treatment of H. pylori is a controversial topic. Over half of the global population harbors H. pylori, and in most people it causes no issues. Some consider it a normal commensal bacterium, and its been associated with some protective health effects. But others say that if you are experiencing stomach-related health problems, it is worth eliminating. Definitely worth doing your homework on it.

      Your regiment looks pretty complete to me. If I were doing a course of antibiotics, I would focus on a continuous intake of high dose probiotics in order to minimize the opportunistic growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I’d eat plenty of fermented food, but would also take a probiotic, focusing on potency ( > 100 billion CFU) and diversity of bacterial strains. I would also of course continue high fermentable fiber intake to support commensal gut bacteria growth.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. Yes I am having stomach related issues for the past year (gerd), and I cannot do anything to stop it. I tried all the natural remedies and even PPI for 3 weeks but nothing seems to help( I eat paleo, with lots of vegetables). If that would not be the case I would certainly not take any antibiotics. Probably the presence of H.plyori in the stomach is not the problem, but maybe an overgrowth?

        So I am pretty well prepared. I have some 30 billion probiotic pills have my PS ready, so hopefully this 10 days or so will not be so much of a problem. I will also up my vit-D intake.

  7. I have had RA for about 5 1/2 years. Started out with the typical drugs and then changed to the Antibiotic Protocol (Dr. Brown theory). I have been off of minocycline for a month+, started with RS 6 tablespoons morning noon and night(1 month and counting), my own fermented kimchi, coconut milk kefir(2+ years) and Prescript-Assist. I stay away from grains with the exception of a cheat day now and then with pizza or Indian bread. I also use coconut milk (w/o preservatives) vs milk. I don’t experience food intolerance or at least non that I have noticed. I exercise -spinning,tabata and TRX and some yoga. So far so good, except for one little hiccup. I had a breast biopsy and they found ductal carcinoma in situ. Not the worst but nonetheless not what I wanted to hear. Tamoxifen – ugh. Haven’t started it yet.

  8. I haven’t had any flares (knock on wood 😉 ). I know a couple of people locally that had RA and would now be considered cured. For myself right now, I would have to say I am in remission. A lot of what I have read on RA say cure is not associated with RA only remission…

  9. Obsession!:) Can I point to one particular theory, no. I read many blogs,etc. Saw a naturopathic who supplied me with a lot of supplements. I have now scaled down on those. My diet to begin with was pretty clean with the exception of sugar,milk and grains and a bit of canola oil. I cleaned up all of that about 2 years ago. Added juicing vegetables, lately homemade grassfed bone broth and fermented foods. Exercise, I would say was one key. I might be leaving something else out but that is a condensed summary.;)

    • there was some mention of a cure/remedy for arthritis on Amazon in the reviewer section of a liqud pectin. They said of combination of that pectin plus grape juice was very effective.

  10. i cant see an email address to send this to so I am doing a dump here! It might be worth a watching brief- is colon cancer and ammonia levels and bacteria ecology connected?. The subject is of interest as both father and grandfather died from its associated complications.

    Something on RN’s site triggered a memory cell about the reduction of ammonia levels by reaction with products inside the organism or in its gut. As fish show a few ppm in the water can kill .

    I think it comes down to this, if the environment of the gut is optimal, then ammonia liberated by the fermentation of proteins in the gut can be converted to NH4+ and taken up by bacteria as a nitrate food source to grow more bacteria, ie fecal non fibre mass increase. This paper by the csiro boys here in Australia expresses it well

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742201/
    The current models for colorectal cancer (CRC) are essentially linear in nature with a sequential progression from adenoma through to carcinoma. However, these views of CRC development do not explain the full body of published knowledge and tend to discount environmental influences. This paper proposes that CRC is a cellular response to prolonged exposure to cytotoxic agents (e.g., free ammonia) as key events within a sustained high-risk colonic luminal environment. This environment is low in substrate for the colonocytes (short chain fatty acids, SCFA) and consequently of higher pH with higher levels of free ammonia and decreased mucosal oxygen supply as a result of lower visceral blood flow. All of these lead to greater and prolonged exposure of the colonic epithelium to a cytotoxic agent with diminished aerobic energy availability. Normal colonocytes faced with this unfavourable environment can transform into CRC cells for survival through epigenetic reprogramming to express genes which increase mobility to allow migration and proliferation. Recent data with high protein diets confirm that genetic damage can be increased, consistent with greater CRC risk. However, this damage can be reversed by increasing SCFA supply by feeding fermentable fibre as resistant starch or arabinoxylan. High protein, low carbohydrate diets have been shown to alter the colonic environment with lower butyrate levels and apparently greater mucosal exposure to ammonia, consistent with our hypothesis. Evidence is drawn from in vivo and in vitro genomic and biochemical studies to frame experiments to test this proposition.

  11. If anyone has any experience with FMT (Faecal Microbial Transplant) for the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions then please share your experience. I have gut issues but I am also particularly interested in whether FMT has helped to improve or cure other conditions such as Eczema & Psoriasis.

    I understand the link between gut/immune and other inflammatory conditions but I am interested in hearing any personal experience or even if you have read about people having improvements with FMT for other inflammatory conditions (such as Eczema, Psoriasis & other conditions beyond the gut)…. then please share.

    Many Thanks

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