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In America Survey Results

We recently released our results from the 9th In America survey (https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/?p=38362). What surprised you most about the results shared?

  1. I've never thought that nightshades exacerbated RA - and have never read any credible studies that prove they do. I was surprised that it was even mentioned in the survey. Guess it demonstrates the power of opinions posted over time.


    1. An article appeared in The Rheumatoliogst, the magazine published by ACR in 2013, which addresses this issue a little more. I do not think it sheds much light on the matter, but it was the best I could find on a quick search.


      https://www.the-rheumatologist.org/article/the-dietitians-role-in-managing-rheumatology-patients/?singlepage=1&theme=print-friendly


      Perhaps this will be interesting............................ rick.

    2. Thanks so much, Rick. The article states: "Although there is no evidence to support most of the dietary claims out there, such as avoiding nightshade vegetables or following elimination diets........."
      Having visited nearly all the RA forums over the last 20+ years, I recall one poster claiming that nightshades was the answer. I researched it years ago because I found it hard to be true.....but would have welcomed it if it was. I found nothing then. And through the years, nothing more than anecdotal claims have appeared. No controlled studies.
      My problem with anecdotal claims with no scientific basis is that people, especially those newly diagnosed, often look for a quick and easy treatment. And in doing so, delay the appropriate treatment that, had it been started earlier, might well have arrested the damage.
      MD Jeffrey Dach wrote a number of books - one of them about nightshades.....but again, nothing was ever proved.
      https://jeffreydachmd.com/arthritis-and-nightshade-vegetables/



      Dach claims that a couple patients claim they were "cured" by using nightshades and were able to go off their drugs. I notice there were never any followups with these patients. My own experience is that discontinuing DMARDS produces a honeymoon period.......and then the pain comes back.



  2. I never realized the high percentage of people (90+%) who use steroids during a flare.

    1. Hi and . The percentage using steroids for flares is interesting. From a social science survey perspective (note: I've done social science statistics professionally) I can think of a number things that could skew the number towards the high end. A primary one could be that survey participants are self-selecting and drawn largely from our community. This selection may lead to a preponderance of those with more severe RA, and thus maybe more likely to utilize steroids, participating. Cutting the other direction would be the argument that those with less severe RA don't use the more advanced treatments, such as biologics and JAKs, but may use a steroid burst for the occasional flare. I found information on an older survey (done through a different organization) which found up to 75% used steroids at some point. One thing for certain, a really large percentage of respondents for this survey rely on the quick relief that steroids offer. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    2. Thanks.....like you, statistics is something ingrained in my professional life. I've learned not to give credence to any study or survey instrument unless I know the demographics and inner workings of the study.

  3. Appreciated confirmation of many symptoms. Really struggling since mid October with multi flares which ruin me for days. Had to accept this New Normal and acknowledge pain recovery demands extra rest. Good meditation/breathing practices help but still are time consuming too. Choosing to be positive and move forward everyday.

    1. , I am sorry you have been caught in a flare cycle since this fall. I know that must be very frustrating! I think you have a very pragmatic and healthy outlook on how to take care of yourself during this challenging time. keep hanging in there and I sincerely hope this flare cycle ends very soon! Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

  4. I'm surprised no one mentioned breathing issues. My lungs struggle when I flare. I took a break from Methotrexate at one time and within 10 days from last injection, I was having breathing issues. Lung issues were one of my medical symptoms prior to diagnosis, which were not associated with the possibility of RA. I was diagnosed with pleurisy twice prior to being diagnosed with seropositive RA.

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