RA and GI Problems?

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi there, 

I don't even know where to begin..

So recently my half brother was diagnosed with RA and it just got me thinking about it. I understand it's an autoimmune disorder but still have questions about that and my own GI issues and if it could possibly run in the family. I have been seeing a GI specialist for 5 years now and he has never really given me any clear answers. He would dilate my esophugus and I have had ulcers and swelling in my intestines. I read an article where there as been a correlation between RA and GI issues such as. 

Long story short...has anyone out there had the same problem? I just need something to help me out. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Taylor,

    At age 11 my journey with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis began. Back in those days, treating JRA was unsophisticated. Fast forward to the mid nineties and Enbrel entered the pictute...Humira was next...both of these drugs are in the classification od DMARD...Disrase Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug...they change the way a disease behaves unlike NSAIDS, Non Steriodal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, which just treat the symptoms of the disease.

    Both Enbrel and Humira are also in another classification, TNF, Tumor Necrosis Factor. You see, rheumatoid morphs. That is why Enbrel works today but will not work forever. After 54 yeats of this disease, I now take Rituximab which has nothing to do with TNF.,

    Yes, rheumatoid is an autoimmune disease...the body does not recognize itself and therefore thinks the body is an enemy and attacks itself.

    Rheumatoid is also classified as a Systemic disease...a disease with the capability to effect every body system...skeletal, cardio-vascular, gastrointestinal, cutaneous,...I will leave the other four systems for you to look up. Just becausr a disease is Systemic does not mean it will definitely attack all eight systems. It just means the disease is capable.

    Many medications taken by people with rheumatoid cause gastrointestinal distress...medication like aspirin, Feldene, Naproxin, Orudis, etc. When a person has rheumatoid and is taking drugs, that line between rheumatoid caused gastrointestinal issues (secondary illness to rheumatoid which is primary) versus primary gastrointestinal illness becomes blurred.

    The hugh take away here, now, is that no one, including your brother, will suffer with rheumatoid the way I do.

    Let me explain. I have many total joint replacements, several tendons have ruptuted because they were sawed through by bones made rough by rheumatoid, breathing can be difficult because my rheumatoid is in my lungs, deformity of my hands are so pronounced thay they scream "rheumatoid" to everyone. AND because of Rituximab my decline has been dramatically slowed. That means that my greatest challenge is living despite damage done before the advent of Rituximab.

    Because of biologics living with rheumatoid is now a piece of cake. I am doing so well that I just had my right elbow replaced, will replace the lefy also, and both shouldets, both habds, and the right DRUJ will also receive an imant come January. Wow, when I was born all of this was impossible!

    kind regards


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  • Posted

    Hi Taylor

        I have GI disease--crohn's -diagnosed maybe 12 yrs ago and approx 6 months ago diagnosed with inflammatory Arthritis.  (RA without the positive blood test).   So GI and RA are found together in some people.  I also have vitilgo which is another autoimmune.    I have  a good book called the Autoimmune connection and it goes into detail on all the various diseases.   Crohns and iIBS are failry straightforward to diagnose so I would be surprised that your doc didnt see any evidence if it was there.  

       Neither of my siblings have autoimmune conditions /  I also have an inherited eye cornea disease---not autoimmune so you don't always get a disease even if same genes as siblings.      

       Maybe find a new GI specialist if not happy with your current MD 

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  • Posted

    Hi - I don't have RA but have Ankylosing Spondylitis and have read a lot about both diseases.

    There are very strong links between gut health and autoimmunity - with many hundreds of medical studies showing the connections.

    RA like AS is failure of the immune system to differentiate foreign proteins from self proteins - and that failure often starts with gut dysbiosis (or infection).

    Intestinal permeability in the presence of gut bacterial imbalance leads to the gut immune system to incorrectly "present" proteins (these can be other gut bacteria or food proteins) to the immune system.  This incorrect presentation causes a cascade of recognition of similar DNA sequences to the protein that is presented - hence setting up antibodies against self as well as the intended foreign protein.

    Further cascade of protein mis-recognition occur once our own tissues are damaged and circulating in the blood - the sheer number of damaged "self" protein overwhelm the ability of the immune system even more - leading to a phenomenon called "epitope spread" with the endgame in RA being the recognition of our antibodies themselves as foreign.

    I believe that resolving GI issues can improve symptoms in AI disease - and dietary choice can reduce intestinal permeability that fuels the initial reaction.

    Allesio Fasano - a world respected Gastroenterologist has led studies in to the above and has good talks on YouTube on the subject.

    AI diseases like RA and AS are also genetic - so certain proteins usually need to exist in our own make up for the immune system to get "confused".


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    • Posted

      studies have now shown that the granddaughter of a man with RA have the severe fotm of the disease. I am that granddaughter. My mom and her sister both developed RA in their 60s....I was 11, mine is severe
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