>> Following a recent blood check, my 60-year-old friend was found to have extremely high ESR levels.
Her GP thinks it is rheumatoid arthritis. She has no symptoms but is being referred to a rheumatology clinic and is due to get an x-ray of her hands and feet. She would appreciate advice on diet and any alternative natural therapy. Appointments for clinics can take a long time.
>>The erythrocyte sedimentation rate test (ESR) can be used to detect inflammation within the body — and with your friend having an extremely high level it is far more likely that there is inflammation present somewhere.
It is worth bearing in mind that ESR does tend to rise with age, regardless of the presence of inflammation, and that it is beneficial to do a repeat test after about a month and see if the level has changed.
The scheduled x-ray will check for (or rule out) rheumatoid arthritis.
The ESR test itself is not infallible, however, it can detect acute inflammation which could indicate the presence of a specific disease. It can also be a useful indication of what type of treatment response is appropriate once the cause of the elevated levels of ESR has been pinpointed.
It’s best to respond to rheumatoid arthritis in the early stages — and since your friend has no symptoms, this is an ideal time to act preventatively.
Left unchecked, the synovial lining becomes inflamed, then it thickens due to a rapid proliferation of cells, which eventually release enzymes that break down and digest bone and cartilage, leading to misalignment within joints and inhibiting smooth movement.
Gamma linoleic acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid derivative which has been shown to work particularly well with rheumatoid arthritis in managing inflammation and improving joint function. The best sources of GLA are plant oils, such as evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, and borage oil (also known as starflower oil).
It would be wise for your friend to eliminate inflammatory foods from her diet — which means avoiding processed foods, fried foods, red meat, carbonated beverages, processed sugars, and in some cases where there is a specific intolerance to grains or dairy, these should also be ruled out.
Fruit and vegetables and pure water should be consumed in abundance. At least 30 minutes of brisk cardio exercise a day is recommended. !
>>My mother read an article you wrote some time ago on the parathyroid gland. Would it be possible to get the name of a doctor based in Dublin who is a specialist in this area? Also, is there any food you could recommend to help with malfunction of the parathyroid?
>> The doctor you are looking for is Dr Patrick Magovern, He specialises in the thyroid and I’ve had very positive feedback from readers about his work.
Dr Magorvern uses a combination of conventional and alternative therapies, including nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, and testing for food intolerances.
I am hesitant to recommend specific foods for the malfunction, since the requirements are different depending on whether or not it is overactive or underactive. Please feel free to write in to me again with some more details and I will be happy to pass on any information I can.
Dr Magovern’s clinic is at 3 Drummartin Road, Goatstown, Dublin, 01-2965993.
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