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British Woman Reverses Psoriatic Arthritis With A Plant-Based Diet

British Woman Reverses Psoriatic Arthritis With A Plant-Based Diet

by Agi Kaja

A 40-year-old former teacher from Hunstanton, West Norfolk, who had been suffering from psoriatic arthritis for almost 20 years, has reversed her condition through adopting a whole food plant-based diet. Despite less than 2% of patients with psoriatic arthritis being able to discontinue their medication as a result of disease remission, Kate Dunbar, who is now a patient advocate for Plant-Based Health Professionals, has been able to completely stop taking any medication for the condition after relying on it for 15 years.

In 2003, Kate attended a rheumatology clinic with a two-month history of nonspecific back pain, as well as pain in both knees and the right ankle. A general feeling of malaise and unintentional weight loss were also reported. Her past medical history revealed a previous episode of back pain in 1994, suspected to be a prolapsed intervertebral disc. She had been prescribed Rofecoxib – an anti-inflammatory medication – by her GP prior to the referral, which only partially relieved her symptoms. Her family history revealed a strong link to rheumatoid arthritis, which had affected her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Furthermore, her mother suffered from psoriasis. After further investigations, Kate was initially diagnosed with seronegative inflammatory arthropathy, which was later reclassified as possible psoriatic arthritis.

According to the British Medical Journal, the prevalence of psoriatic arthritis – an inflammatory disease – in the UK is estimated to be around 0.1% to 0.3% of the total population (50,000 to 156,000 people in England and Wales). It affects men and women equally and the frequency of the condition peaks between the ages of 30 and 55 years. Patients with psoriatic arthritis are at risk of disease progression, as well as clinical and radiological damage, while their quality of life can be greatly reduced.

In 2015, she started modifying her diet and saw significant improvements specifically after avoiding dairy and red meat. She further adjusted her diet to eliminate all animal products and adopted an exclusively vegan diet. The results were swift, and allowed for Kate to lower her dosage of methotrexate, which was of particular importance as she had experienced a decrease of white blood cell count while on this level of medication.

In 2017, Kate decided to adopt a healthy whole food plant based diet (WFPBD). This involves eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and eliminating foods with added salt, sugar, or oil, as well as refined or processed foods with added preservatives. Kate quickly noticed a further improvement in her symptoms, and eventually, in February 2018, she stopped taking methotrexate altogether and was discharged from the rheumatology clinic.

She said: I’m thrilled to say that my psoriatic arthritis has remained dormant since February 2018. I am able to enjoy things I never thought possible, including ceramics, art and graphic design, without the fear of my hands seizing or cramping. I also run 10km on a daily basis and have managed to maintain my weight, with no significant weight loss and a normal BMI. It's a real joy to feel like I’m living a fulfilled lifestyle without being limited by my condition, and I really do put it all down to a whole food plant-based diet.”

Dr Shireen Kassam, co-founder of Plant Based Health Online, founder of Plant Based Health Professionals, and a Consultant Haematologist, commented: “Kate Dunbar’s case study is evidence that dietary changes can play a role in sustaining remission from psoriatic arthritis, while aiding the discontinuation of medication. Kate’s whole food plant-based diet is recommended by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine as being optimal for disease prevention and management, while the health benefits are increasingly recognised as having a role to play in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. People following a vegan diet also have a lower BMI on average compared to meat eaters and are more likely to be a healthy weight.”

“The case study will be used to help promote plant-based nutrition as a tool to assist patients in regaining their health, because we recognise that unhealthy diets are one of the top causes of ill health in the UK – and adopting a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest choices one can make. Kate is now a patient advocate for Plant Based Health Professionals and we are hoping to achieve similar results in helping patients on their journey to a healthier, and sometimes pain free lifestyle through the creation of the UK’s first CQC registered lifestyle medicine service, Plant Based Health Online.”

Plant Based Health Online is the UK’s first CQC registered online multidisciplinary lifestyle medicine service. This evidence-based approach to healthcare includes helping patients transition to a more sustainable whole food plant-based diet alongside physical activity, restorative sleep, alleviation of psychological stress and fostering social connections.

Founded by Dr Laura Freeman and Dr Shireen Kassam – certified lifestyle medicine doctors with extensive personal and professional experience in using lifestyle medicine to optimise health and well-being – the multidisciplinary approach offers access to doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, personal trainers and health coaches, and enables patients to access the right expertise and support to make lasting lifestyle changes.

Plant Based Health Professionals UK was founded to promote and educate health professionals and the general public on wholefood plant based nutrition and lifestyle interventions. Through their extensive directory, they connect individuals and patients with certified and fully qualified health practitioners including doctors, dentists, dieticians, nutritionists and affiliated organisations, who provide evidence based advice and treatment.

Agi Kaja

Agi Kaja

Animal Advocate. Environmentalist. News Editor. Vegan Business Promoter. Changing the world of consumption. 

Breaking the news on plant-based food innovation, new vegan products, animal welfare, environment, science, society and conscious shopping.

Contact: [email protected]

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