What causes arthritis? It is an auto-immune disease which is caused by inflammation. If you want to treat inflammation you need to put out the fire and not treat the smoke. Functional Medicine always looks for the root cause. We don’t treat symptoms, we treat the fire behind the smoke. We always ask:-
Why do you have inflammation?
We need to look at what is going on in your immune system. Why is your body attacking parts of itself? What is causing this over-reaction?
Arthritis isn’t only a joint or cartilage problem. This is only where we see the smoke. It is a systemic health issue, like all auto-immune issues, being expressed in your joints.
If you have arthritis then you are also likely to be suffering from toxicity.
What causes arthritis? Toxicity comes in various forms…
- Pathological Bacteria
- Metal toxicity (e.g. mercury toxicity from your amalgam fillings)
- Fungi or Candida systemically
- Infections, either bacterial or viral
- Food / Chemical / Airborne allergies or intolerances
This is where your health history takes centre stage.
Did you ever take repeated or prolonged antibiotics? If so, these will have destroyed your gut microbiome. With no beneficial gut bacteria to defend you parasites, pathological bacteria and fungi are free to grow. This may lead to leaky gut, with the allergies and intolerances that inevitably follow.
Or were you exposed to heavy metal toxicity at any time in your life? Did you work in a laboratory with chemicals? Were you a hairdresser or a fireman/woman? Did you or do you have multiple amalgam fillings?
Did you suffer shock or trauma at any time in your life? Prolonged stress destroys our gut and our immune system. Prolonged stress compromises your health
Is your diet high in sugar and refined carbs, which are pro-inflammatory foods?
How do you locate your fire?
You run lab tests.
- A stool test will reveal the state of your gut and the presence of:
- Pathological bacteria
- HCL deficiency (hydrochloric acid in the stomach – our first line of defence against pathogens)
- Pancreatic insufficiency (no digestive enzymes)
- Your body pH – are you too acidic? An acidic internal environment encourages the proliferation of all the bad guys
- The presence or absence of upper gut and lower gut flora i.e. lactobacillus and bifidobacterium
- Leaky gut
- Inflammation indicating IBD / Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Crohn’s
- Metal toxicity test
- Food allergies and intolerances. Consuming foods you cannot tolerate causes inflammation every time you eat them
The fire might be fed from several different sources. Once you have identified what is feeding it, you know where to find the sources of the fire. Then you can put it out and start rebuilding your internal home.