It’s one step down from “it’s all in your head” but it’s definitely on the same track.
How often has someone told you that your arthritis is the result of bad lifestyle choices? Seems to me to be similar to type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. Children can get it. The cause is uncertain. The disease can be managed, but there is no cure.
Type 2 is a largely a ‘lifestyle’ disease. It can often be controlled with dietary changes and exercise.
It is essentially a completely different disease, but people with Type 1 diabetes are often blamed for their disease, and told if they would just exercise more, or change their diet, all their problems would be resolved.
Does any of this sound familiar?
It’s a bit like the osteoarthritis vs inflammatory arthritis situation.
Now, osteoarthritis is painful. Absolutely!
But its not a *systemic* disease. Osteoarthritis does not affect the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, eyes…so many other organ systems. And you don’t take heavy duty medications for osteoarthritis. People do not die from complications of osteoarthritis. Their marriages don’t end over it. Their careers aren’t typically destroyed because of it. It is NOT a life-altering, life-limiting disease.
But when you say ‘arthritis’ this, osteoarthritis is what most people think of. And instantly start giving you helpful advice.
About diet. About exercise. About supplements.
Of course some of these will help some people some of the time. But the general consensus out there in healthy-land is that *all* you need to do is to is exercise more, eat better food and take some fish oil and you’ll be just fine. And if you don’t do that, you obviously WANT to be sick. You are CHOOSING to be sick.
Its. All. Your. Own. Fault.
I also want to make it clear that there’s a big difference between effective treatments, and causation. Changing your diet may help your RA. It helps lots of people. It’s worth a try.
That does NOT mean that a bad diet CAUSED your RA.
Exercising may help your RA. It helps a lot of people. It’s worth a try.
That does NOT mean that a lack of exercise CAUSED your RA.
Taking supplement or vitamin whatever may help your RA…you get the picture.
I could even say methotrexate may help your RA. It helps a lot of people. Its worth a try.
But none of us think that a lack of methotrexate caused our RA!
Effective treatment does NOT equal causation.
I tend to try anything that has a bit of evidence behind it. That’s me. But one of the problems with inflammatory arthritis is that it’s a heterogenous disease. Which basically means differing causes, and differing levels of severity for different people.
Put simply, there is mild RA and severe RA and everything in between. What works for one, does not work for another. One size does NOT fit all.
And what caused my Rheumatoid Arthritis is, as far as the best science can tell us, a combination of my genetics and my environment. And possibly an emotional trigger (RA often manifests after an emotional upheaval).
Was it my fault? No. Definately not.