Hey, guess what? I’m leaking.
Let me back up a bit. As you probably know if you’ve been following me on this blog or on social media, you know that I have rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and I’ve been in pain since 2001. Well, one component of my health that has been generally unaddressed is that I’m anemic and have been for a very long time. We first found out my junior year of high school (8 years ago), and since then I have tried everything possible to fix it.
But nothing worked and I remained stably anemic since then. With my more serious health concerns and frequent ER trips for pain, it was pretty much ignored. No one was really concerned except for my mother. Would we have been concerned if I hadn’t been dealing with other issues? Absolutely. But that wasn’t the case, and I just didn’t have room in my brain to think about something that had become just a part of my normal life.
Over the past year or two, my mother started talking about the anemia more and more. While I completely understood, I felt that I should focus on other aspects of my health. Then I started seeing a chiropractor. His goal is to help me with my fibromyalgia pain and my joints that tend to float out of their designated spot in my body. So when we first met, we talked about my fibromyalgia treatment.
He suggested that I see a naturopath who he knew. Since the whole point of me not working now is to get my health in order, I was on board.
The appointment was incredible. We talked about my medical history, looked at my blood under a microscope, and just generally had a whole bunch of medical revelations.
1. My body is constant in flight-or-flight mode.
2. I definitely 100% have RA (shocking, I know)
3. I most likely also have leaky gut syndrome
Essentially, my body is just constantly on edge. I’m always moving at least a little bit. My eyes don’t dilate properly. This may have to do with my anxiety or may be due to some medications that I’m on.
I get to wear sunglasses even if it’s mildly bright so that I don’t “damage my eyes” or some nonsense. (Note: actually not nonsense.)
Like I said, we looked at my blood under a microscope when it was fresh and when it was dried. Also, as soon as he pricked my finger it started bleeding significantly. As in he asked if I was on blood thinners. So that’s great.
The red blood cells were stuck together, which is not supposed to happen. That doesn’t allow nutrients to be absorbed. There were brown spots in the dried blood, which means yeast. And there was a white cloud, which means inflammation.
Continue with my RA treatment, but I’m also trying to be better and eat an anti-inflammatory diet, which I’ll talk more about later.
Leaky gut syndrome is also known as increased intestinal permeability. It is something that doctors are recognizing more now, but still don’t know a whole lot about it. The problem is that the gut is the biggest immune system organ (how weird is that?), but it isn’t completely understood. It has been mentioned a couple of times to me over the past few years, but never seriously addressed or considered.
What happens is that the lining of the small intestine doesn’t work properly and it can let substances into the blood stream, hence the name “leaky gut.” So it’s a cycle: there’s intestinal inflammation of the gut lining, which leads to nutrient malabsorption, leading to an immune response. So the immune system responds, causing GI issues and food intolerance, which leads to autoimmune disease, which starts the cycle all over again by causing intestinal inflammation of gut lining.
This means that I could have been dealing with this for a very long time and it could have caused the arthritis. That just blows my mind.