I love tennis. I love to watch it and I love to play it.
Being a tennis fan for many years, I’ve enjoyed watching Venus Williams and her sister Serena dominate Women’s Tennis over the past decade or so. They are truly a force to be reckoned with and I’ve cheered them on every step of the way.
It was with great sadness, then, that I learned the news a few days ago that Venus had withdrawn from the 2011 US Open currently being played in New York City due to a relatively unknown autoimmune illness.
Ms. Williams condition, called Sjogren’s Syndrome, affects about 4 million Americans and over 90% of these are women. It is an affliction of the sweat glands. Typical symptoms are dry mouth, dry eyes, joint pain and fatigue. The possibility exists for the lungs or liver to be affected as well. Even central nervous system symptoms can manifest.
Sjogren’s is autoimmune in nature meaning that the immune system is attacking its own tissues, in this particular case, primarily the sweat glands.
Like many autoimmune conditions, symptoms of Sjogren’s can overlap with other ailments causing misdiagnosis and sometimes a delay of several years before appropriate identification of the disorder is made. Venus herself has said that she thought for a long time that her problem was allergies or even asthma.
Whether or not Ms. Williams returns to tennis is uncertain. The progression of Sjogren’s can be slow or rapid and the future of her health remains highly speculative. The saddest news of all to me was reading that doctors are telling her that this affliction will be with her for the rest of her life and that the cause is likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Is AutoImmune Illness a Lifelong Sentence?
Heard that one before? An autoimmune disease epidemic of avalanche proportions is sweeping our nation and the world (I just read today that 38% of Europeans have mental illness – I’ll bet it’s similarly shocking in America), and it is highly misleading to hear these ailments frequently blamed on genetics because it is impossible to have a genetic epidemic.
I absolutely don’t buy the “rest of your life” argument when it comes to autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease is rooted in the gut (that’s where most of the immune system resides, after all) and there is a very good chance that conditions such as Sjogren’s can be put into remission with appropriate, temporary diet changes so the gut is able to heal and seal.
Of course, there are no guarantees with any treatment but the GAPS Diet is the best one I’ve come across to address issues like this. Many people suffering from a wide variety of autoimmune issues are reporting nothing short of astounding results on this program.
Since Ms. Williams is only 31 years old and certainly has a few years of her career left in tennis if she can regain her health, it seems the GAPS Diet would be well worth a shot – or at least a volley?
Interested in GAPS?
If going on GAPS is of interest to you and you want to find out more, check out my posts on The Five Most Common GAPS Diet Mistakes and OverWhelmed by GAPS? Help Has Arrived! for tips and resources to get you started on the right track.
Very interesting post. Are you familiar with Dr. Cate Shanahan, MD? She has the blog drcate.com.
She is so interesting and talks about how we can change our epigenome – for better or worse – based on what we eat. She discusses a wonderful concept called the Four Pillars of Health in her book Deep Nutrition. So I agree with you – and her – that nothing has to be “for life”. Thanks so much for bringing all these great topics to the forefront.
Oh – and on the raw milk – I agree…we are consuming so much these days. I have a son going through puberty too. He drinks two gallons of whole raw milk per week (sometimes more), about 1 1/2 quarts of cream, and eats so much butter – I’ve lost count! LOL!!! Plus lots of grass-fed meat – fat and all – on the bone. Yet he is not fat at all. He is quite tall and trim with great muscle tone. He’s rarely sick and when he sees the doc once a year for a check-up, the doc always asks him, “What do you eat??? So few of my patients (kids) look so fit like you.” (Sadly, as he has shared – most of them are obese.)
Lauren Weinmeister via Facebook
i know this kangen water helps with auto immune diseases, alkaline antioxidant water with a fresh negative charge, it flushed out the inflammation in my knees, and i feel more hydrated something i wasnt from reverse osmosis water. http://kangendemo.com/
I didn’t know about GAPS when I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease a year ago. I didn’t want to take drugs as recommended by the doctor (despite her being sure that nothing natural would work), so I searched online for alternatives and decided to try homeopathy for the first time. It was exciting to see my thyroid function back in the normal range when I got my latest test results! I always get excited when something natural/alternative works, whether it’s the herbal tonic that quickly cleared up my bronchitis, or the DMSO and aloe vera that killed a malignant squamous cell carcinoma on my hand!
I would imagine she can’t afford NOT to try GAPS at this point in the game (pun intended)! If you recall, Ann Marie Michaels (of cheeseslave.com) used a diet very similar to GAPS years ago to put her Rheumatoid Arthritis into remission. I’ve been following the WAPF and adopted a whole foods diet (less most grains, vegetable oils and sugar), as well as went off of ALL Rx meds almost two and a half years ago. My RA (which I’ve had since age 3 – I’m late 30’s now) is well under control and has definitely subsided significantly. It’s certainly been a journey, but one I’m most thankful for God starting me on 🙂
I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s in 2003. Doc tried to put me on Neurontin (for some related neuropathy) and several other drugs; I said no. I eat healthy (have been eating WAPF style most of my life) and I figured there had to be a better way than drugs to trreat this. In the ensueing 8 years, I’ve managed to control the rheumatic aspects very well by just walking 2 miles every day and my other ordinary daily exercise from cleaning house and running an infant day care business for almost 22 years. I do suffer from dry eyes and dry mouth. I’ve tried all the guru products on the market for these and there is nothing to really help the dry mouth except to drink lots of water and some types of tea. Chrysanthemum is a good one for a cooling of the entire body (yin or yang or whatever in TCM) which helps to control the sweating/drying. Heat is my enemy. I suffer greatly whenever the temperature goes above 75 or 80 degrees. It is a disease which basically dries out your body from the inside, and will eventually effect all the glands and organs if you let it. I have no intention of letting it! I have certain supplements I take, and some I’m still experimenting with, for now. An ongoing, chronic process of elimination.
I am still, after 10 years, suffering with menopausal symptoms, which doesn’t help matters at all, since hot flashes were one of my worst symptoms. I still have the hormonal stuff going on daily, which may be a factor of the Sjogren’s in some way, no one is really sure about that yet. They do seem to feed off each other, though.
Ambre Sautter via Facebook
So funny! That’s exactly what I asked myself when I saw the headline this morning! 🙂 Great minds think alike!
Hi, I wanted to know if there was a good canadian site to purchase kombucha starter from? Its $70 on the laurelfarms site if you’re outside the states. Can you use the stuff from the bottom of the GT Kombucha to make your own?
Yes, I started my own last March using the Raw GT to get the Scoby started. Since then I’ve made it every week, using several different glass containers. I like the taste best using a large glass Pyrex bowl.
Ok, so do I follow the video but use the GT instead?
Pamela Frank, BSc,ND (@PamelaTorontoND)
Autoimmune disorders are becoming more and more prevalent. Through diet, herbs, probiotics, beta sitosterols and… http://t.co/U13jNxv
Chris Kurtz Young via Facebook
I do an “anti-fungal” eating plan to control my lupus & sjogrens syndrome. http://www.knowthecause.com
Stephanie Sorensen via Facebook
Due to the fact that I see and hear about so many maladies being helped by a species appropriate diet in dogs and cats, it makes sense that humans can be helped by a species appropriate human diet!