Richard G. Petty, MD

Lupus Question

I had a very nice letter from a gentleman who posed the following question, which I have slightly edited in order to maintain confidentiality:

"A friend of mine, a 36 year old female has been diagnosed with Lupus.Healing by her doctors is not an option. Treatment yes. That’s not good enough. Any recommendations on how to heal it, who to see, what to read?"

It is always difficult for a health care practitioner to make precise recommendations about an individual whom they have not seen. That’s why we get so frustrated by some of the people who sell “cure alls” on their websites or infomercials. And when they are challenged say “but I’m not a doctor.” In which case, why are you giving advice??

Let me first say something about lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is one of the so-called non-organ specific autoimmune diseases. What that means is that it can attack virtually any organ that has a DNA “command center.” And immune complexes can attack the skin, joints, kidneys, lymph nodes and so on. The autoimmune diseases show us how unwise it is for folk to advise us to “boost” our immune systems. SLE is an example of an overly boosted immune system. We should aim to balance our immune systems.

There is a lot of evidence that SLE has been becoming more common in recent years. Though we always have to be careful when we are told that an illness is becoming more common. That apparent increase may also be accounted for by other factors:

  1. More physicians may be becoming familiar with the illness: I saw this happen some years ago after I published an account of the first British case of a very rare type of headache. Within months, several other cases had been found. In each case doctors wrote to me saying that they had been treating the sufferer without success for many years, but after my report, understood what the problem had been, and, following my rules, had cured their patients.
  2. Diagnostic tests are becoming more sensitive, so more cases are turning up.
  3. Specialists are very good at changing the diagnostic criteria for an illness, or the level at which treatment is required: the “when is a difference a disease?” issue. Skeptics are forever saying that the only reason for doing so is so that drug companies can sell more drugs. But that’s a real misunderstanding: it’s actually the other way round. We change criteria once we have evidence that treatment may do some good. A good example is blood pressure. The levels at which we recommend treatment have been falling in recent years, because we now know that even minor hypertension can increase the risk of heart disease. Or diabetes mellitus, where the diagnostic blood sugar levels have been reduced for this reason: even small elevations of blood glucose increase the chance of damage to some blood vessels. It’s not the glucose itself that’s the problem, but the consequences of an elevated glucose level.

The reason for this preamble is this: if SLE is becoming more common, it is difficult to explain using conventional medical models. Some years ago, there was a report that more than half of all sufferers carried an organism called mycoplasma, and that this might be the cause of the illness. Nobody was ever able to replicate that finding, so the idea of an infectious cause is firmly on the back burner.

So let’s look at the illness from the perspective of physical, psychological, social, subtle and spiritual factors, for all come into play in someone dealing with SLE. The key to treatment is to have a healing synergy between all of the interlinked aspects of our lives.

On the physical front, conventional medicines have a great deal to offer, but as you said, for treatment rather than cure. They are also used to help protect organs against damage. One potential reason for the increase in the prevalence of SLE, is that there is a close link between the amount of fat in the abdomen and the production of some classes of inflammatory mediators. So question one: does the sufferer have an excess of intra-abdominal fat? If yes, diet and much gentle exercise as the illness will allow. What kind of a diet? Balanced, and following the principles which I outlined in the final part of the Healing, Meaning and Purpose.

There have been countless reports of people with SLE and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, especially rheumatoid, having food sensitivities particularly to dairy or to alfalfa. The research base is weak, but it is always worth exploring. There has been growing interest in the use of DHEA and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Some people have also reported some benefit from Vitamins C and E, and selenium. The treating physician can help with doses. There are also some herbal and homeopathic remedies that may be helpful. I quite like The Arthritis Bible by Craig Weatherby and Leonid Gordin as an overview of some of these approaches.

Next is psychological. Sunlight, stress, fatigue and lack of sleep can all make the condition worse, and I would urge the person to follow some of the plans that I outline on the CDs and in the book. An awful lot of people suffer from illnesses like this as a consequence of psychological factors. So it is a really good idea to use the approaches to see if there are any emotional, cognitive or relationship problems which have triggered or are perpetuating the autoimmune process.

Next is the subtle systems that underlie the physical and psychological. These may need to be re-programmed using acupuncture, or Reiki, or Thought Field therapy, or even high potency homeopathic remedies.

Finally the spiritual. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this in all our lives. Again, I have made some suggestions in the program. It would not be right for me to tell others what or how to practice, but keeping in touch with, and strengthening the contact with your spiritual essence provides a wellspring of healing energy and support.

There is a final point that I would like to make. Not all illnesses can be made to disappear, and sometimes our focus has to change to one of helping the individual understand, learn from and coexist with the illness.

Who to see? Any health care professional that will respect all five domains, and help the individual to help themselves.

Now, back to you: does that help?

+ Are there others out there who would like to share their experiences?

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.


One Response to “Lupus Question”
  1. Regi Dawes says:

    On your page at

    … see this typo in the fourth paragraph:

    Another problem is vocabulary. It is calculated that a medical studnet has to learn

    STUDNET = student, right?

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