I have known that inflammation can cause diseases, but I didn’t realize that it also affects cold agglutinin disease (CAD). CAD is a form of autoimmune hemolytic anemia and mine happens to be primary.  Since there is no known cause, I always feel that I need to do more to help myself but sometimes I accidentally do the exact opposite.

Recently, I noticed I have gained some weight and started an exercise routine but obviously it would much more beneficial to add a healthier diet. I have struggled with which program would be best. Low-calorie diets tend to make me feel sick. I don’t know why, but for the past couple of years, I have needed to have several small meals instead of three big ones. 

Months ago, the big trend was intermittent fasting. As I researched it, I had found that if you go a few steps further with fasting you could achieve cellular rejuvenation. According to Cell Stem Cell, “cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage . . . but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.”

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I decided I was going to see if I could do this and reset my system. Sounds perfect? Unfortunately, it was a bad idea. I did fast for 24 hours and felt fine but then I went to my hematologist for my regular appointment just 3 days later. 

Read more about the diagnosis of CAD

I really felt this was going to be what I needed to heal and start over. I saw my hematologist and was shocked when he asked what I was doing differently. The telltale signs were there, my eyes were yellow, my skin was jaundiced and unfortunately, my HGB dropped down to the low 9s. I was very disappointed. I told him what I did and why. He wasn’t familiar with fasting for cellular rejuvenation and we both agreed that this is not something I can do.

I think that sometimes I feel so desperate to fix my CAD that even outlandish ideas seem like good ones at that moment. I do know regular safe diets work well if the caloric intake is reasonable, but will they lessen inflammation? I am not entirely sure. 

I recently discovered that inflammation can be caused by environmental factors, or from what we consume, or underlying conditions. Perhaps I can at least battle one of these by taking back control over what I eat but in a healthy way.

There has been a lot of research on diets for gluten-free living, weight loss, and diabetes, but how about specifically for combating inflammation? I found an article that discusses inflammation and diet specifically related to autoimmune diseases. These studies are still underway, but those running them feel as though they have benefits. 

So now instead of depriving myself, I have taken a new outlook when it comes to diet and there are a lot of recipes and information on anti-inflammatory diets that have been helpful. 

Through this experience, I learned it’s time to make smart choices that are right for me and for my CAD. Of course, like with any change it was tough at first, as I do like my weekend takeout, but I refrain. However, the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet really do make a difference. And I have accepted that I have this disease and all the things beyond my control are just that.  All I can do is continue to live a healthy lifestyle and stay warm enough to keep my HGB in a safe zone.