Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(LDN) Low-Dose Naltrexone and other health-related comments

Following Linda's comment, as I noted, I decided to pursue the low-dose naltrexone (LDN) option.

I wrote my rheumatologist. He turned me down.

Meanwhile, while my "vitality and longevity" doctor was the one who first suggested I may be dealing with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), he repeatedly stated he wants nothing to do with treating my RA. "It's not my area."

As I bore down on a year under his care--a year in which I made significant progress in my blood lipids and other markers of general health (HDL from 44 to 70; LDL from 134 to 64; number of LDL particles ("more important than total quantity of LDL") went from 1942 to below 1000; LDL particle size went from 20.0 ("too small; too compact") to a "bigger, fluffier" 21.6; insulin went from 6.0 and higher down to less than 2.0; total testosterone went from a low of 441 to a healthier 758; total body fat went from 24.9% to 15.8% . . . and so on and so forth)--Sarita and I were not particularly happy that he has been charging us $200 a month basically just to "be there," ready to answer any questions I may have about the issues he does deal with.

I decided to see if I could find a doctor who would deal with all my issues--not only my lipids and testosterone and cancer risks, but my autoimmune problems as well.

And as I looked for a doctor who might prescribe and have experience with LDN, I found such a doctor in our area.

When I visited Dr. C--an MD but/and with a strong naturopathic orientation--I discovered he had been a rheumatologist.

"You're not a rheumatologist anymore?" I asked. "You mean you don't keep up on the field?"

"Right. I wouldn't want to pretend I was still qualified in the area."

Still, he obviously had experience with people just like me. That was a nice "bonus"!

Several things came out of my appointment with Dr. C:
  • "LDN is a great therapy, but it won't cure your arthritis."
  • "Your greatest threat from rheumatoid arthritis is not the pain and the potential damage to your joints--the things that you're worried about. The greatest threat is heart disease. It dramatically increases your risk of heart attack."
  • "RA is a forest fire. You need to throw everything at it you can."
As a result of that last piece of good news:
  • "Though I am no fan of statin drugs, and normally I would try to have one of my patients use another modality to attack the blood lipid issues, in your case, because of your RA, I would strongly advise you to continue on the statins." 
  • "I know you are afraid of the plaquenil [hydrochloroquine], and I am not going to demand that you get back on; but I would like to appeal to you, in the strongest terms, that you try it again."
So, with his encouragement . . . I am taking my LDN, back on my statin, and, yes, taking plaquenil/hydrochloroquine . . . with no significant side-effects besides much looser bowels than I have had in the past.

I pray the combination of medicines might actually stop the advance of the RA. It has been very painful recently.


While I'm on the subject, I should encourage you to take a look at a report that just came out from leaders in the field of LDN therapy. It's called The Faces of Low-Dose Naltrexone (PDF; 1.5MB). It was produced for the First International Low Dose Naltrexone Awareness Week coming up October 19-25th, 2009.

Amazing results for people with MS (multiple sclerosis), various forms of cancer, and much else.

--If you're seeing this post on Facebook, it is a reprint from my personal blog.
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