Sarcoidosis – Do You Have This Mystery Disease?
First, what’s a mystery disease? Well, it’s a health problem with a name, but not much more. Nobody knows the cause. Treatment, while often presented as “evidence based,” is a guess. You may or may not get rid of it. As I said, it’s a mystery disease.
If you have a whole flock of symptoms that seem to have set up house in your body and you’re not getting any better, no matter what you do, consider the possibility of a mystery disease. Some are well-known diseases; most aren’t.
As one example, today let’s talk about little-known sarcoidosis (sahr coy DOSE iss).
Nobody knows exactly why sarcoidosis shows up. More than one member of the family may be diagnosed with it, but research says it’s not genetic or contagious.
The symptoms are all over the place. Shortness of breath, frequent coughing, and pain, often in the lungs, but pretty much anywhere, including the chest. You may also have blocked lymph nodes-painful-as-a-boil and pretty much anywhere in your body. And then there are skin rashes, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats, fever, etc. The symptom list is long.
Obviously, your health isn’t all it should be. And while you might be able to ignore a rash, chest pain grabs anyone’s full attention. And those lymph nodes are pretty concerning, too. So it’s a relief when the doc gives it a name.
A sarcoidosis diagnosis means your body is chock-a-block full of inflammation. And inflammation is the beginning of all dread diseases. You can’t ignore inflammation.
But you don’t want to take the medications that are typically prescribed: Corticosteroids, immune system suppressants and antimalarial drugs.
1. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are the most common treatment. These drugs cause a world of side-effects, but offer little help. What they’re really good at is whacking the endocrine system into major imbalances; since your endocrine system controls all of health, this is a no good, very bad thing.
While you may get some relief from your symptoms, you’re buying long term trouble.
2. Next in line are immune system suppressants. Are you kidding me? The immune system is part of the endocrine system, and these meds, like corticosteroids, throw everything out of balance.
Your immune system is what keeps you going along, singing a song, but for some reason, medicine is very fond of stomping on it. Trying to keep your body from doing what it was born to do is never a good idea.
3. Antimalarial drugs are what you get when nothing else is working. The phrase, “a real shot in the dark” comes to mind. Even sarcoidosis support sites roll their eyes.
4. When nothing works, and you get sicker and sicker, you may hear talk about transplants. Yikes! Of course, if all that inflammation leads to cancer, heart disease, or some other dread disease, your treatment will go in a different direction. In any case, you lose.
An alternative plan
The real answer to inflammation comes through nutrition, not medicine. But not the money-raising nutrition ideas you read about in ads, magazines and such. It has to be the nutrition your body needs, as suggested via your symptoms.
Since the huge symptom, common in all cases of sarcoidosis, is inflammation, let’s talk about that.
Vegetable oils cause inflammation. Big time inflammation. So, to start, ditch all the polyunsaturated oils, such as corn oil, soy oil, cottonseed oil, etc. And canola oil. And also margarine, which is made from vegetable oils, whether they say it tastes like butter or not.
Read labels. For instance, almost all mayonnaise is made with soy oil, which is double trouble. First, it is an inflammatory vegetable oil, and soy, in any form, is murder on the endocrine system, amongst other body parts.
For salad dressings, you might switch to olive oil. Finding pure olive oil is a problem, but I’m told that the Costco brand is fine.
For cooking, switch to butter. I recommend KerryGold butter because it’s made from the milk of 100% grass-fed cows; the butter from grain-fed cows is inflammatory.
Since inflammation comes at you from many directions, there’s more to do, but getting rid of the oils that do so much harm would be a very good start. A giant step, in fact.
Finally, you can check progress in lowering your inflammation levels with a homocysteine blood test. (I explain it in Understanding Blood Tests if this is new to you.)
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.