Ankylosing Spondylitis: Suseptibility to Other Conditions Due to Medication Side Effects

An autoimmune disease & chronic inflammatory condition such as Ankylosing Spondylitis has its fair share of symptoms, so it’s incredibly discouraging to discover that AS sufferers are also susceptible to a multitude of other conditions. When you add incredibly strong medications to this equation, the potential for developing other chronic conditions increases considerably.  These are some of the other chronic conditions that Ankylosing Spondylitis patients who are taking Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, Fenofibrate, Polaramine, Oxycontin, Novorapid, Percocet, Levemir and Naprosyn most often developed while on the above meds:

Acute Pancreatitis (Inflammation of Pancreas)
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (NIDDM/Adult Onset Diabetes)
Diabetes mellitus (DM Covers many forms of Diabetes)
Peripheral vascular disorder (PVD)
Gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Autoimmune thyroiditis (Inflammation of the Thyroid)
Gastritis prophylaxis (Disease of the Stomach/Inflammation of Mucus Membrane)

When you open the informational packet which is usually enclosed with your meds, you read of the many potential side effects and most often discount the risks for experiencing them (or) side effects such as these aren’t included because many who develop these additional conditions feel that they are unique and independent of their meds, disease or condition, so connections aren’t made and often not reported.  These connections are also not made frequently by doctors. However, many AS patients who are on these medications have these conditions. This should be enough to point your doctor in the right direction, if you are experiencing related symptoms.

There really is no win/win when it comes to medications there are either numerous side effects or after becoming quite dependent upon them they simply cease to work, because as the body metabolizes these substances, it also builds up a tolerance.  However, knowing of these additional risks prior to taking medications is incredibly helpful, because it arms patients with the knowledge they need to better care for themselves. For example knowing that you are at a higher risk for diabetes might motivate you to exercise daily and eat healthier foods. Such as eliminating simple carbs, sugars and starches. This knowledge might also motivate others who are in the position do so, to manage their disease without the use of  the harsh medications, while also embracing the importance of a “whole body” approach. I was fortunate enough to have several years of experience with natural, more healthier options to manage my AS and my exposure to Naprosyn was limited, but that does not mean that I’ve come away completely unscathed, because often the side effects from these medications are irreversible. I discontinued Diclofenac (a form of Naprosyn) after experiencing Gastritis prophylaxis, as a result of H. Phylori, a stomach infection.  Accompanied by my frustration with dropping 30 lbs, a year with severe stomach pain, no diagnoses and the fact that several specialists had no clue as to why I was so sick. Well, it was quite easy for me to connect my new, debilitating symptoms to the medication.  I also have additional symptoms to manage now, that I did not have prior to taking this medicine for several years.

I respect the extensive knowledge and medical training of my Rheumatologist, and completely understand that his recommendations were “medically” based and as a result I was convinced like perhaps many AS sufferers, that it was impossible to manage this disease without meds.  However, I’m living proof that this is in fact not true at all. If we’re willing to step outside the “medicine box” we can find many natural solutions. Of course needs & results will vary from person to person, but I’ve done quite well with a healthy eating regimen (low-carb, low-starch, no-dairy, no-gluten), regular exercise and by controlling both my pain and inflammation with natural Cox 2 Inhibitors. Patients need to know that they have options, prior to subjecting their bodies to these numerous side effects, and this is precisely what motivated me to launch The Positive Pear.

A Little Exercise Motivation

EXERCISE MOTIVATION:

Exercise offers amazing healing benefits. A good workout improves our mental attitude, strengthens our cardiovascular systems, reduces stress, improves our overall quality of life and helps to slow down the effects of aging. Sometimes the last thing we want to do when we’re in pain pain, tired or overwhelmed is to MOVE, but we have to keep going! On non-flare, non-pain days be sure to MOVE & keep moving!!!

More on Exercise & the types of exercise that work well for Spondys & Spoonies

The Healing Power of Ginger

Zingiber Officinale also known as Ginger Root, has been used as medicine in parts of world such as Asia, India, and Arabia as herbal traditions since ancient times. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years.

Ginger is an incredible herb with powerful anti inflammatory properties.  I can attest to this, as I use this herb regularly to manage inflammation associated with an autoimmune disease that I have known as Ankylosing Spondilitis.  It’s also good for approximately 100 other arthritic conditions including Osteoarthritis.   Because Ginger is a natural and very powerful (cyclooxygenase) Cox-2 inhibitor, just as NSAIDs and aspirin are, it is also quiet effective for pain. I find it incredibly helpful for the pain associated with AS, as well as the widespread musculoskeletal pain associated with having Fibromyalgia.

There have been studies on ginger comparing its efficacy to that of aspirin and not only did it take smaller dosages to accomplish pain relief, there were also no known side effects.  In further comparison to aspirin, it is common knowledge that doctor’s recommend daily usage of aspirin to inhibit the blood thickening enzyme which can lead to clogged arteries.  The only issue with taking aspirin daily are the potential side effects, such as stomach upset, bleeding ulcers, joint discomfort and a potentially compromised immune system.  Other studies show that regular aspirin consumption increases the rate of mortality, and this would include the use NSAIDs.  One way to successfully accomplish the effects of aspirin without the harmful side effects, is to substitute with the use of Ginger Root.  A  cardiology clinic in an Israeli hospital now recommends that all of its patients take 1/2 teaspoon of ginger daily in place of aspirin.  Ginger is quickly becoming the “wonder herb” because of its incredible healing effects on the circulatory system, even transcending the potential of many modern cardiovascular drugs.  Heart disease is the #1 killer in United States, and individuals are becoming more “heart health” aware, wanting positive results without the harmful side effects, so its no wonder that ginger is growing by leaps and bounds in its popularity.

A group of researchers from Cornell Medical School published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 confirming that ginger did in fact inhibit the life-threatening process of platelet aggregation.  Because of ginger’s many physical healing properties, it offers synergistic cardiovascular effects, such as antioxidant, strengthening of the heart muscle and lowering serum cholesterol. Ginger is known to actually prevent cholesterol biosynthesis.

Because of Ginger’s stimulation of immunity and inhibition of platelet aggregation, it has a positive influence on cancer patients. Ginger also soothes the stomach and aids in digestion, so for this reason its great for symptoms relating to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flu, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, even chemotherapy related nausea.  It also eases cold symptoms, and works as a catalyst for other herbs making their effects stronger, so for this reason you’ll want to be mindful of other herbs and medications that you decide to use with Ginger. Because of Ginger’s effects on the circulatory system and its ability to regulate blood sugar it is great for diabetics and for those looking to give a boost to their reproductive system.  Researchers have concluded there is a significant increase in the sperm swimming ability and sperm content associated with ginger consumption, so with this being said Ginger has the ability to increase fertility.

Ginger is good for:

1) Inflammation

2) Pain

3) Stomach upset/Digestion

4) Nausea

5) Morning Sickness

6) Chemotherapy Related Nausea

7) Heart Health

8) Circulation

9) Immunity

10) Blood Sugar

11) Fertility

12) Cold & Flu

Ginger Root is great in many forms, Tea, Herbal Supplements, Liquid drops, Herbal Powder and Fresh Ginger.  Do not exceed 4g of ginger per day. Recommended dosage: 2 ginger capsules, or 90 liquid drops, 1/4 Fresh Ginger, 1 pre-packaged tea bag or 1/2 tsp of Ginger Root Powder. Take 3x times daily or every four hours as needed for many of the symptoms mentioned above.

Contraindications and Precautions Ginger Root:

If you have any of the following, please consult with your doctor before taking:  Food Allergies, Medical problems associated with your Heart , Gall Bladder (gall stones), Brain or Nervous System. Do not take Ginger if you have a bleeding disorder, taking heart medications, on a blood thinning medications such as Warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin or NSAIDs.

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.  Side effects from ginger are rare, but if taken in high doses the herb may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation of the mouth. Many of these side effects are avoidable if Ginger is take in capsule form, but remember it is highly recommended that you not exceed 4g of Ginger Root Daily.

Natural Pain Management

Fresh Raw Ginger-Cranberry Relish

The Kellogg Report: The Impact of Nutrition, Environment & Lifestyle on the Health of Americans, Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Medicinal Qualities of GINGER: Common Spice & Wonder Drug 3rd edition, Chart page 64, The Aspirin Myocardial Infarction Study Research Group. “The aspirin myocardial infarction study: Final results.” Circulation 62 (6, Pt 2.)  (Dec. 1980): V79-84, Dorso, C., et al. “Chinese food and platelets.” New England Journal of Medicine 303, no. 13 (1980): 756-57, Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan ginger 2005 byYakugaku Zasshi, A Literature Review Of Ginger, The joy of ginger.” American Health, Bioscience Biotechnology biochemistry: Induction of  neutrophil accumulation by vegetable juice by Yamazaki M, Nishimura T, Ethnopharmacologic investigation of ginger (Zingiber Officinale) 1989, Biomedical Reviews (Bulgaria)-Pharmacological effects of spices