The missing piece of the rheumatoid puzzle

I'm a doctor, not a magician.

Sure, some conditions will clear up in a flash with just the right blend of natural therapies -- and sometimes, it works so quickly it just might seem like magic.

But when it comes to beating a major disease, there's not much I or any other doctor can do for you if you're not ready to take some action on your own, too.

Yes, friend, sometimes getting better means doing a little work -- and the latest research shows how that's especially true when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis.

Whether you take your chances with risky new rheumatoid meds or stick with proven natural therapies, you won't get very far if you don't take one simple but important step of your own: lose some weight.

If you're obese, your odds of achieving any kind of remission from rheumatoid arthritis plunge by 40 percent.

And if you do get to enjoy some remission, it's likely to be short-lived. Remaining obese will cut your odds of long-term success in half, according to the new study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Rheumatoid, of course, is an immune system disorder. Your own immune system attacks the joints, damaging cartilage and even bone.

It's not caused by obesity, so weight loss alone won't cure it.

But all that extra weight pressing down on your long-suffering joints can take a heavy toll... leading to more pain, more damage, and a quicker progression of the disease.

Rheumatoid is already bad enough on its own. Why help it out like that?

Make weight loss part of your attack plan to help ensure that whatever approach you take to fight rheumatoid has the best chance of success.

And for even better odds of beating the disease and remaining healthy, I recommend avoiding drugs, especially the new generation of biologics, because they work by shutting down part of the immune system.

That can stop it from attacking your joints, but it can also keep your immune system from doing its job and attacking bacteria and other germs. As a result, those meds will boost your risk of infections, especially pneumonia and food poisoning.

There's a much better way to tackle this disease, and that's to find out why your immune system is working in overdrive in the first place.

There's no single cure because there's no single cause, but I've found most people will see big improvements with some combination of dietary changes, proper nutrition, and natural hormones.

Work closely with a holistic medical doctor who can find the treatment that's best for you.

If you're in Southern California, I can help. Contact my clinic for more information or to make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the area? I can also offer advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.