The All-Natural Way to REVERSE Rheumatoid Arthritis Doctors Are in Complete Denial About

If you or someone you know has rheumatoid arthritis (Rheumatoid Arthritis), you’ll want to watch this video. In it, Sarah Allen, who is a former patient of mine, shares how she put rheumatoid arthritis into remission, and it’s a remarkable success story.

Rheumatoid arthritis was a passion of mine while I was still in active practice. I treated over 3,000 patients with this disease. I estimate 80 to 85 percent of them experienced significant recovery, if not remission, like Sarah did.

I ran into Sarah after giving a presentation recently in Orlando, where she happened to be in attendance. After talking to her, I decided we needed to share her important story as it would provide hope for so many who struggle with this disease.

She first came to see me in August of 2003. Even though she was only 28 years old at the time, she’d been experiencing symptoms of RA for about three or four years.
“I thought I was very healthy,’ she says. ‘I was young. I was a competitive triathlete. I believed I had a pretty good diet. So, I didn’t really understand why I was experiencing so much pain in my fingers and in my feet.

I had migrating pain, and a lot of tendonitis issues all throughout my body. It took the Western doctors a long time to diagnose me. It took about three years going to different doctors before they knew what was wrong.

It didn’t show in my blood; I didn’t have the RA factor, and my C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were normal. But it showed up on an X-ray.’”

Hallmark Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

One of the hallmark symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is pain in your hands and/or feet. It tends to affect the proximal joints more so than the distal ones, i.e. the joints closest to your palm, for example, opposed to the joints further out in the fingers.

5 Things a Rheumatologist Wants You to Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Newly diagnosed with RA? A Cleveland Clinic rheumatologist explains some basics for you.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you probably have a lot of questions about the condition and what it may mean for your future health and quality of life.

This inflammatory autoimmune disease affects many people: 1.5 million U.S. adults (or 1 percent of the adult population), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The severity of RA varies from person to person and can be mild, moderate, or severe.

When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system mistakenly attacks the linings of your joints (called synovium), causing them to become inflamed and painful.

RA can begin at any age — most commonly in the twenties and thirties — and typically causes joint pain, fatigue, and prolonged stiffness after rest, says the CDC.

As with any condition, a number of important questions arise among the newly diagnosed, ranging from the nature of RA itself to treatment options.

Elaine Husni, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Treatment Center there, answers some of those questions and addresses queries she and other rheumatologists hear most often.

Here’s what she had to say.

1. It’s Not Your Fault That You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

There’s a tendency among newly diagnosed patients to blame themselves, says Dr. Husni.

“One of the most common misconceptions about RA is that you did this to yourself,” she says. “We don’t really know the cause of autoimmune diseases, but many times patients will ask, ‘What did I do to get this?’”

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis itself also remains unclear, but like other autoimmune diseases, it’s triggered when the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy tissues and cells, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

Autoimmune diseases, which range from RA to multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, are fairly common; in fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that autoimmune disorders affect more than 23.5 million Americans.

2. You’ll Want to Educate Yourself About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Another important step when you’ve been diagnosed with RA is to become informed about the condition, says Husni.

The fears and ideas that newly diagnosed patients often have about RA usually come from the internet or somebody they know, says Husni, “so patients sometimes get misinformation. Also, I think autoimmune disease is a harder concept to grasp.

Patients often ask me, ‘What does autoimmune mean? I’ve never had this before. I was healthy my whole life.’”

Understanding RA can be a bit difficult, she adds, and patient knowledge about the condition tends to fall along a spectrum. “The first phase upon diagnosis is giving patients the correct information that they need,” Husni emphasizes.

3. Ask Your Doctor How Active Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Is

Before you can make treatment choices, you have to determine how active your RA is.

“The three things rheumatologists normally do are an exam, some blood tests, and look for any X-ray changes in the affected joint,” says Husni. “Those are the three pillars that we look at, and based on whatever they show, we can usually categorize you as having mild disease, mild to moderate disease, or moderate to advanced disease.”

How active the disease is will affect your RA treatment plan. “One of the first things we do is try to figure out where you are on that spectrum, because treatment and advice will change for somebody with mild RA versus somebody with severe RA,” she adds.

4. Other Health Conditions May Affect Your RA Treatment

The CDC reports that about 47 percent of U.S. adults with arthritis also have at least one other condition, referred to by doctors as a comorbid condition.

So another crucial step in treating RA is to find out if you have any comorbidities. “It’s very important to see if you have any associated diseases or disorders that your rheumatologist needs to take into account,”says Husni.

If you have depression, for example, your rheumatologist may not want to prescribe certain RA medications, because they could make your depression worse.

“Another example is if you have a family history of multiple sclerosis. In that case, there are some other medications that can’t be prescribed [for RA],” Husni notes.

It’s also important to have a primary care physician who oversees all aspects of your health, and who can help treat any comorbid conditions you may have.

5. Eat Well, Stop Smoking, and Do What You Can to Stay Healthy 

Adopting healthier habits may make living with RA easier, says Husni, adding that you’ll want to keep up with and even improve the healthy habits you already do have.

“For instance, now is not a good time to increase your smoking,” she says, and if you do smoke, you should really make an effort to quit smoking. Smoking is the strongest modifiable risk factor for RA, according to the CDC, increasing your risk by 1.3 to 2.4 times; the habit also interferes with the effectiveness of some RA medications.

“If you are overweight, this might be the time to lose some weight, because it’s stressing your joints on top of the RA,” she notes.

Diet is another modifiable risk factor. “Healthy eating can’t necessarily stop or cure RA,” but it can help you live better with it, says Husni.

Although there’s not a lot of evidence right now that diet specifically helps RA symptoms, she says, “I think there will probably be a lot more information about nutrition in the years to come. I think it’s already happening, and I do believe that it will probably play a role in treating RA.”

8 Things I Didn’t Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis Until It Happened To Me

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can come out of the blue or be diagnosed years after it’s first suspected.

Either way, when you or a loved one is diagnosed, it can be confusing and overwhelming to realize how much there is to learn about the disease and its treatments.

Here, people living with RA share what they learned soon after diagnosis.

1. You’re Not Too Young to Have RA

That’s what Shelley Fritz, 46, of Tampa, Florida, learned when she found out she had rheumatoid arthritis at age 43. Her initial reaction that she was too young to get RA is typical, says rheumatologist Rebecca Manno, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

RELATED: 9 Secrets Only People Living With Arthritis Pain Know

Many people think of RA as an older person’s disease, perhaps confusing it with osteoarthritis. The reality is that it can strike much younger, even in young children and teens. Juvenile arthritis, the most common type of arthritis in kids under age 17, occurs in about 50,000 kids in America. In women, RA is most commonly – but not always – diagnosed between ages 30 and 60.

10 Must Know Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions in recent times. It affects more than one million individuals in US alone, of which, three-quarters are women. What makes RA or Rheumatoid Arthritis a problem is that it causes an inflammation of the joints, making engaging in normal daily activities a laborious and painful task for those who have the condition.

Today, I am going to talk to you all about what you should know about Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’m sure that almost all of you reading this either knows someone who has RA or may have a risk of having it, if not already diagnosed with the condition. So here are the 10 facts you should know about Rheumatoid Arthritis:

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1. Stress Causes RA to Flare Up
Not only that, but leading a worrisome and anxious life may also be one of the factors that lead to its development. Engaging in meditation, relaxation and visualization exercises may help prevent the development of RA or can work along with conventional treatment.

2. RA is Linked to Smoking

Yes, smoking is not only bad for respiratory health but it can also be linked to severe cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis. A new study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases says that a third of severe cases of RA is related to smoking. Knowing that smoking also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, this just means that ditching the habit makes more sense than ever.

Love and Marriage With Rheumatoid Arthritis

A chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis can bring marital stress, if you let it. Learn about some common challenges and how to deal with them.

The stress of living with rheumatoid arthritis can take its toll on all aspects of life — including marriage and partnerships. But while the reported divorce rate is high for unions affected by RA, studies also show that having a good marriage can improve the quality of life and even reduce pain for people with this condition. That’s no surprise for Stephanie and Waide Yokom of Wichita, Kan., who have kept their relationship going strong while dealing with Stephanie’s rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. Here they share what’s worked for them.Image result for Love and Marriage With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Relationship Challenges

While the challenges of the person living with the disease may be obvious, partners without rheumatoid arthritis face obstacles, too.

  • When your partner is in pain. “It is difficult to watch her, with all the pain and the frustration that she goes through,” Waide says.
  • When rheumatoid arthritis slows your partner down. “Initially I was frustrated for her,” Waide says. “Stephanie is so full of life, and wants to get things done. And this changed all that. She can’t seem to get as much done.”
  • Shifting household responsibilities. Rheumatoid arthritis often puts limits on what you can and can’t do and this unfortunately means more work for your partner. “There are just some days where he has to be dad and mom for our kids because I am just too tired to deal with any of it,” Stephanie says.

The Best Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Reviewing the Evidence

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in America.

Many more women than men are diagnosed under 50 years of age. However, this statistic somewhat flips by the time we reach 60.

New research indicates that diet may influence traditional treatments for rheumatoid arthritis. This article summarizes the current science and recommendations.

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What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis affects the structure and function of the joints. A membrane called the synovium lines the joints, creating space and fluid for lubrication and movement. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints. The exact cause is unknown.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Common signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Joint pain or tenderness
  • Redness or swelling in the joints
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Low-grade fever
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Firm lumps under the skin
  • Poor joint mobility.

7 Bad Habits to Drop With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Adjusting to Life With RA

1 / 8   Adjusting to Life With RA

It’s easy to fall prey to bad health habits, especially when you’re busy with work and family demands. And you feel so tired at the end of most days that all you want to do is grab a fast-food meal, sit on the couch, and veg out. Beyond being generally unhealthy, that battle plan can increase your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or can make managing RA more difficult, if you already have it.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed with RA or have been dealing with the joint pain from RA for a while, here are seven bad health habits to kick to the curb once and for all. And because RA is a progressive disease, there’s no time like the present to make these changes.

Smoking

2 / 8   Smoking

Quitting smoking can go a long way toward rheumatoid arthritis prevention. If you’re at risk for developing RA, you don’t want to light up, and if you’re already smoking, you want to quit. This goes double if you already have RA.

A study done in Sweden and published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases shows that more than a third of cases of the most common form of RA can be attributed at least in part to smoking. For people who have a genetic risk, the link is 50 percent. Smoking also can reduce the effectiveness of methotrexate, one of the most commonly prescribed and effective drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis and its joint pain, says Houston rheumatologist Alan Friedman, MD.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

3 / 8   Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much is not good for anyone’s health, Dr. Friedman says. That’s especially true for people who are on medications to reduce the joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and to slow its progression. The problem is that alcohol taxes your liver, and so can RA medications, including methotrexate, “so heavy drinking can be a double whammy,” Friedman says.

Drinking also can reduce your bone density, and a lower bone density puts you at greater risk for complications from arthritis, including fractures. Love your merlot? Drink in moderation, and ask your doctor if the general health rule of one drink a day for women, two for men, is the right one to follow.

 

6 Unusual Ways to Lower Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Not the Usual Suspects

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1 / 7   Not the Usual Suspects

Rheumatoid arthritis may seem out of your control when you consider that risk factors for the disease include gender, age and genetics. Even so, researchers are uncovering some surprising lifestyle habits that may help with RA prevention — from drinking beer to sun exposure.

Prevention is an area that’s still being studied, says Nathan Wei, MD, a clinical researcher and director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, Md. But, the studies are helping doctors get a better understanding of how to reduce RA risk.

Breastfeeding

Yuko Hirao/Stocksy

2 / 7   Breastfeeding

Looking at data from more than 7,000 women from South China, researchers discovered that those who had breastfed their babies cut their RA risk in half, compared with women who had never breastfed.

Results were published in May 2014 in the journal Rheumatology. The longer the women nursed, the lower their risk. “There’s definitely a link between hormones and rheumatoid arthritis,” Dr. Wei says, but he adds that the reason for the connection is still unclear.

Soaking Up the Sun

Verity E. Milligan/Getty Images

3 / 7   Soaking Up the Sun

Ultraviolet-B rays from the sun stimulate the synthesis of vitamin D and may lead to immune responses that help fight RA. A study, published in 2013 in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, found that the highest sun exposure among 106,368 women was linked to a 21 percent lower RA risk compared to women with the lowest levels of sun exposure. However, this is an instance when you have to weigh the risk of possible skin cancer from unprotected sun exposure against RA risk, Wei says.

Also, doctors know that women with RA are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency, but they don’t know if low levels predispose them to the disease. Wei suggests having your vitamin D levels checked if you have a strong family history of RA and taking vitamin D supplements if necessary.

Quitting Smoking Now

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4 / 7   Quitting Smoking Now

Smoking raises RA risk and may even damage cartilage, says Shreyasee Amin, MD, a rheumatologist and associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Smokers also tend to have more musculoskeletal pain symptoms,” she says.

While it’s never too late to quit for a variety of health reasons, stubbing out your last cigarette sooner rather than later seems to offer some RA protection. A study published in 2013 in Arthritis Research & Therapy found that, among 34,101 Swedish women who participated in a longitudinal study called the Swedish Mammography Cohort, smokers who had quit 15 years earlier were 30 percent less likely to develop RA than were those who’d quit just a year before.

Drinking Beer

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5 / 7   Drinking Beer

Information culled from the 121,701 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the 116,430 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II revealed that women who had two to four beers a week lowered their chances of developing RA by 31 percent, compared with women who were not beer drinkers. The takeaway, Wei says, is to drink in moderation — don’t take the findings as license to go overboard.

Choosing Wine or Liquor

Tetra/Getty Images

6 / 7   Choosing Wine or Liquor

If beer isn’t your drink of choice, regularly drinking moderate amounts of wine and liquor might lower your RA risk. According to a study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal and based on information from the same women in the Swedish Mammography Cohort, those who drank more than four glasses a week over the long-term lowered their risk of RA by 37 percent, compared with women who drank fewer than four glasses a week.

Putting Fish on the Menu

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7 / 7   Putting Fish on the Menu

When looking at the eating habits of the same Swedish women, a study published in August 2013 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that those who consistently ate fish at least once a week lowered their RA risk by 29 percent relative to women who ate fish less often.  Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that have been shown to lower inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis remedies: Diet and exercise

Rheumatoid arthritis remedies: Diet and exercise Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning, the body’s own immune system attacks itself, mistaking parts of the body for a virus. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the synovium, the soft tissue lining the surface of the joints, which results in symptoms like pain and swelling.

Rheumatoid arthritis increases one’s risk for a number of other conditions, including osteoporosis, rheumatoid nodules, dry eyes and dry mouth, infections, abnormal body composition, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems, lung problems, and lymphoma. If rheumatoid arthritis is not well managed, the risk of these complications rises dramatically.

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis should begin early in order to prevent future complications. The objectives of rheumatoid arthritis treatment include reducing inflammation, relieving symptoms, preventing joint and organ damage, improving physical function and well-being, and reducing long-term complications.

Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with medications to ease symptoms like pain and stiffness. This may involve anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Other medications can be prescribed to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, including corticosteroids, biologics, and JAK inhibitors. Surgery may be required if damage is severe, and the joint must be replaced in order to improve function.

Aside from medical treatments, following a healthy diet and getting in exercise are other means of improving rheumatoid arthritis outcomes.

What to add to your rheumatoid arthritis diet?

The Mediterranean diet has grown in popularity as it has been shown to help improve brain and heart health. The basis of the Mediterranean diet is poultry and fish, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and seeds, as well as reduced intake of processed food and sugars.

Research has shown that patients who stuck with the Mediterranean diet experienced a reduction in symptoms.

To adhere to the Mediterranean diet, aim for at least four servings of vegetables and two or more servings of fruit, and use olive oil more often as it helps to reduce inflammation, which can worsen symptoms.

If you’re unsure as to what types of foods you should be consuming with rheumatoid arthritis, here are some guidelines that can aid in treatment.

Change the type of fat in your diet: RA patients are at a higher risk for heart disease, so choosing the right fats can help keep your risk at bay. Olive oil, for instance, is a good example of a healthy fat. Read labels carefully to spot saturated or trans fats.

Eat more oily fish: Oily fish contain essential fatty acids that can work to reduce inflammation.

Eat iron-rich foods: Iron-rich foods can help combat fatigue resulting from anemia, which is quite common in RA. Iron-rich foods are eggs, green leafy vegetables, beans, and red meat. For higher iron absorption, consume iron foods with vitamin C.

Eat calcium-rich foods: Calcium helps keep bones strong which is important in rheumatoid arthritis in order to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis foods to avoid

Just as some foods can help reduce rheumatoid arthritis inflammation, other foods can actually promote inflammation, which can worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Foods to avoid in order to prevent rheumatoid arthritis inflammation include fried and processed items, foods that have been charred or heated at high temperature, pasteurized products, sugars and refined carbohydrates, dairy products (get your calcium from leafy greens), alcohol and tobacco, salt and preservatives, and corn oil.

Avoiding gluten has also been recommended for rheumatoid arthritis patients as there may be a connection between celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis are both autoimmune conditions. In the case of celiac disease, the immune system attacks gluten, and in rheumatoid arthritis, it attacks the joints. Along with gastrointestinal symptoms experienced in celiac disease, patients can also experience symptoms elsewhere in the body, including the joints.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, it may be worth to get checked for celiac disease. Having one autoimmune disease increases the risk of another, so you may very well have also developed celiac disease and a sensitivity to gluten. If the tests come back positive, then eliminating gluten from your diet may not only aid in celiac disease, but offer relief for joint pain as well.

 

Some exercise tips for rheumatoid arthritis patients

Although exercise may be painful and the last thing you are thinking about if you have rheumatoid arthritis, it is actually quite beneficial, so you should try and get in regular activity to help manage your condition. Here are some tips to consider when exercising with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Give your heart a workout: Choose exercises that promote a higher heart rate and boost circulation.
  • Don’t stress your joints: Running on pavement is painful, so opt for activities that don’t put extra stress on your joints, such as aqua aerobics.
  • Strengthen your muscles
  • Don’t give up on exercise: Even if you don’t feel like you are progressing, don’t give up, change happens over time.
  • Work with your rheumatologist: They can help recommend appropriate exercises and monitor your condition.
  • Don’t opt for a one-size-fits-all workout: Trying to merely copy another workout may not be the best thing for you and your needs, so rather work with a physiotherapist to devise together a specialized plan.
  • Wear proper gear: Wearing the right props can help reduce aches and pains.
  • Don’t overdo it: Although exercise is important, know when it’s too much and don’t push yourself too hard.

These diet and exercise tips are just some of the helpful ways to help you better manage your rheumatoid arthritis.

Maternal rheumatoid arthritis linked to childhood epilepsy

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease whereby the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. New research suggests there may be a link between mothers with the autoimmune disorder and their children who develop epilepsy.
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Rheumatoid arthritis in the mother may lead to childhood epilepsy, study suggests.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition characterized by inflammation of the joints. It is different from osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear in the joints.

RA affects up to 1.3 percent of the worldwide population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the United States in 2005, 1.5 million adults over 18 years old were diagnosed with RA, and the CDC report that the numbers may currently be on the rise.

While there is no known cure for RA, one studyfound that 75 percent of people with RA experienced remission within the first 5 years of being diagnosed.

Epilepsy is a neurologic disorder consisting of recurrent epileptic seizures that are sometimes of unknown origin. According to the CDC, about 5.1 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with epilepsy or have had a seizure disorder. Of these, 2.9 million adults have active epilepsy.

Previous research has connected the presence of an autoimmune disorder in mothers with the risk that the child develops epilepsy. New research looks at the link between RA and epilepsy.

Mothers with RA linked to children with epilepsy

A new study led by Ane Lilleore Rom, Ph.D., of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, examines the link between mothers with RA and the incidence of epilepsy in their children.

Researchers looked at the clinical records of almost 2 million children born in Denmark between 1977-2008. The children were then followed up for an average of 16 years. Diagnoses of RA and epilepsy were obtained from the Danish National Hospital Registry.

A total of 13,511 children from the studied cohort had mothers with RA. The number included mothers who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis after their child was born, as they were considered to have “preclinical” PA.

Of these, 31,491 children, or 1.6 percent, developed epilepsy over the 16-year period.

Children whose mothers had RA at the time they were born were 90 percent more likely to develop epilepsy than children whose mothers were healthy, while children whose mothers had preclinical RA also had a 30 percent higher risk of developing epilepsy than mothers without the condition.

The study did not find any effect on whether the child would have epilepsy if the father had RA.

The researchers say the association between preclinical RA and increased epilepsy risk in offspring suggests it is likely RA itself that is to blame, rather than treatments for epilepsy.

The results also remained unchanged after adjusting for other factors, such as the baby’s birth weight, the mother’s age at birth, and if the mother also had epilepsy.

The results are published in Neurology – the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Significance of results and further research

According to Rom, previous research has already found an increased risk of epilepsy in people with autoimmune diseases that involve the brain directly, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or autoimmune encephalitis.

“But it is new knowledge that also offspring of mothers with rheumatoid arthritis seem to have an increased risk of developing epilepsy,” Rom says.

Recently, other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders have been associated with seizures and epilepsy, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, ulcerative colitis, and type 1 diabetes.

“These results suggest that changes in the environment for the fetus may play a role in the development of epilepsy. We don’t know yet how this may work, but it could involve the production of maternal antibodies that could affect the unborn child.”

Ane Lilleore Rom, Ph.D.

However, researchers point out that more research is needed to look into the consequences of RA treatment.

Also, the study only showed an association between the RA and epilepsy, so further research is needed to confirm causality and explain exactly how RA in the mother might affect the chances of offspring having epilepsy.