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Tag: Multiple Sclerosis

Are MS Drugs Effective?

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, there were three “disease-modifying therapies” (DMTs) available to treat multiple sclerosis. Now there are more than ten pharmaceutical drug options on the market for people diagnosed with MS to try in the hopes of slowing down the progression and minimizing the severity of the course of the disease. Taking a DMT has become the “standard of care” in Western medicine, and most MS patients experience significant pressure from neurologists to choose one as their main treatment for the disease.

Expensive Medicine

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, as of February 2022, the median annual price of a brand-name disease-modifying therapy was close to $94,000. Even with insurance covering part of the bill, out-of pocket costs can still be thousands each month.

Back when I was diagnosed, I had private health insurance as an independent contractor. My health insurance covered some of the expense of the DMT, but in exchange they continually raised my rates so that soon I was paying more than five times the monthly fee as when I had signed up with the insurer. When I got married, my husband’s insurance (through his employer) deemed my MS diagnosis was a “pre-existing condition” and refused to cover it, effectively holding me hostage to my original insurer and their ever-more costly bills. It was years before the Affordable Heathcare Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, ruled that insurance companies couldn’t discriminate against pre-existing conditions, but by then I had paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket to simply be insured and not have to pay the full price of my medicine. At that time, the DMT I was on cost around $120,00 year without insurance.

Side Effects

Side effects vary from drug to drug, but can include flu-like symptoms of malaise and body aches, injection-site swelling, rashes, heart issues, brain damage, and even death. The side effects that I personally experienced during the years that I injected an MS disease-modifying therapy included three years of daily hives covering my entire body and regular injection-induced seizures.

Are the Drug Therapies Effective?

During the years I injected the disease-modifying therapy every day as prescribed by MS doctors, I continued to experience significant MS exacerbations at the rate of about one every ten months. Each exacerbation lasted around six to eight weeks. To me, this seemed to be pretty much the same disease course as I was experiencing before I started taking the drug.

This impression may not have been wrong as a new study out of Germany suggests that only three out of the ten MS disease-modifying drugs analyzed showed any benefit to the patient.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) report analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of ten drugs for adults with highly active Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), which is my official diagnosis, and found the benefit to patient outcomes to be inconclusive.

That’s a big deal when the side effects of a medicine are debilitating with no proof that the drug is helping to either slow the progression or the severity of the disease course. For me, after a few years of dealing with awful side effects, it felt like the treatment was worse than the disease. I needed to find another way to deal with this disease in order to save myself not only from the effects of MS, but from the effects of the disease-modifying therapy.

It was amazing how much better I felt when I stopped taking the DMT. No more hives, no more seizures, more energy, happier. I worked hard to clean up my body and my life so that I wouldn’t incite another MS exacerbation, and it worked! My last major MS flare-up was in 2002, more than twenty years ago, and I am drug-free.

While I believe that once you have MS or another autoimmune disease you will always be a hypersensitive person, I have learned how to successfully manage my body with targeted diet and lifestyle changes so that I live symptom-free.

How to Treat MS without a DMT

Whether or not you choose to take a DMT, you deserve to know what is within your power to control the effects of MS! There is so much more that you can do to help yourself survive and thrive despite an MS diagnosis, but you won’t learn it at your doctor’s office.

When you are ready to take charge of your body and your life, reach out to me and I will tell you everything I have learned about taming multiple sclerosis (or any other chronic autoimmune condition)!

Could you have parasites and not know it?

Oh yes. Absolutely. In fact, if you’re even asking this question the odds are high that you already sense that you may be infected with parasites. The Centers for Disease Control suspect millions of people are infected with parasites… and probably most have no idea.

It’s really easy to pick up parasites just while going about our daily lives, and you might not realize what happened,

3 Signs You Might Have Parasites

1. Diarrhea or loose stools for longer than 24 hours.

2. If you’re not having diarrhea, you’re constipated.

3. You are a restless sleeper.

Curious to know more? Come to the “Everything you’ve wondered about parasites but didn’t know who to ask” webinar! If you have any burning questions about parasites that you would like me to address simply submit a question on the registration page.

Be sure to register to have access to the replay!

How Parasites Contribute to Autoimmunity

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or experience chronic aches and pains, it is worthwhile to consider that you may also have an underlying parasitic infection.

In my 12 years of clinical experience, I have found that most people suffering from autoimmune or chronic conditions — including but not limited to multiple sclerosis, migraines, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, obesity, and irritable bowels — are carrying unseen invaders that are wreaking havoc with their immune system. Unfortunately, there is only so much better one can get without clearing out the parasites.

Christa Beigler and I spoke in depth about how parasites can contribute to autoimmune and other chronic conditions on The Less Stressed Life podcast

Click here to listen: 
Did it make you wonder if parasites could be contributing to your personal health issues? Book a free Naturopathic Assessment with me to see if a parasite protocol could change your life!

What do Celine Dion, Selma Blair, and Christina Applegate have in common?

Rampant inflammation.

While Selma Blair and Christina Applegate have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Celine Dion received a rare diagnosis of something called stiff-person syndrome. Both MS and stiff-person syndrome are considered autoimmune diseases, which means that an overactive immune system releases damaging inflammation that affects the nervous system. When making a specific diagnosis, doctors often look for evidence of immune system activity in how the patient presents, i.e., what are their symptoms, as well as the form of antibodies.

Even though both diseases often come with similar symptoms of balance, muscle stiffness, and muscle spasms, I believe that it matters less how the inflammation is manifesting and more that there is inflammation behind the symptoms.

Since most, if not all, symptoms are due to inflammation, a natural, functional medicine approach is to address the root cause of the inflammation rather than be distracted by whatever the symptoms may be.

The good news about this is that we can absolutely reduce the level of inflammation in our bodies simply by applying targeted dietary and lifestyle changes! If we get rid of the inflammation and the triggers that may be keeping you inflamed, then your symptoms will decrease or even disappear altogether.

Find the personalized solutions that will work to reduce inflammation for you in my virtual clinic — schedule a risk-free complimentary naturopathic health assessment today to see if I can help you get to the root cause of your chronic inflammation so that you can feel better tomorrow!

Do you follow me on Instagram? Recently I have been doing short reels and lives all about inflammation. Follow me on my newsletter in the pop-up box or by subscribing to this blog to learn about the many free opportunities that arise to talk about inflammation with me. See you there!

Multiple Sclerosis 101 and Lifestyle Tips for Reducing Inflammation

Listen in as host Rachel Smith of Natural Health Rising and I dig into the nitty gritty of what is multiple sclerosis, the connection to inflammation, and steps that you can take immediately to help yourself fare better with this disease.

We talk about how inflammation is the common root of most, if not all, symptoms, so whether you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or with another autoimmune condition, or have been suffering from chronic symptoms without an official diagnosis, you’ll want to tune it to this interview.

If you have a family member, friend, or colleague who is chronically suffering, please pass this along to them and help them understand how much control they have over their own health!