Presented by Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and Yiu Tak Leung, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the section of rheumatology at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Patients with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases are often interested in combining more traditional medications and therapy (such as DMARDs and biologics) with complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, diet changes or supplements, and other integrative approaches to healing. In this webinar, Drs. Fraenkel and Leung discuss how to work with your health care providers to navigate decision making when combining approaches to achieve a more holistic treatment plan.
Fast Facts from the Webinar
1. The longer you wait to start treatment, the harder it will be to treat your disease
The duration of disease is inversely proportional to how well patients respond to treatment. This means the longer you wait to start treatment after being diagnosed, the more likely it is that your disease will advance, and the more it advances, the more difficult it becomes to treat. Starting treatment as soon as possible is crucial.
2. Autoimmune disease does not mean you have a weak immune system
It means your immune system response is not functioning like it should. In an autoimmune condition, the immune system goes haywire and attacks your own body or specific organs, so it must be re-set through treatment. That is why there is no contradiction between taking DMARDs and biologics to reset or suppress aspects of your immune system and taking certain natural supplements or altering your diet to bolster your immune system. Both can be done at the same time because each has a different role. Always check with your doctors before making any treatment changes or adding any medications to your existing treatment regimen.
The Patient Perspective
Here’s what patient participants said they learned from this webinar:
- “Early and aggressive treatment with biologic drugs has demonstrated benefits in long-term studies. Nutrition focused upon foods that provide inflammatory and pain relief benefits can be important adjuncts to pharmaceutical therapy, in addition to providing overall health benefits.” — Jim M., patient participant
- “Non-traditional treatments may be helpful; they do not replace medication.” — J. Doerr, patient participant
- “I had not heard that a hepatitis B shot was suggested for RA patients before the webinar. I also got a clearer understanding about the disease.” — Ande H., patient participant
Get Involved in Arthritis Research
If you are diagnosed with arthritis or another musculoskeletal condition, we encourage you to participate in future studies by joining CreakyJoints’ patient research registry, ArthritisPower. ArthritisPower is the first-ever patient-led, patient-centered research registry for joint, bone, and inflammatory skin conditions. Learn more and sign up here.
This webinar was produced with the Autoimmune and Systemic Inflammatory Syndromes Collaborative Research Group (ASIS CRG). As part of the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, this research group collaborates with stakeholders including patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, providers, and funders early on to move research forward more quickly and more efficiently. Learn more about our work here.