Tag Archive | Inflammation

Just a few symptoms

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These are common to many autoimmune diseases: joint pain,  anemia caused by disruption of the bone marrow which produces red blood cells, chest pain, fevers and  debilitating fatigue. What causes these symptoms? First, it needs to be known that not every rash is a tell-tale sign of lupus, nor is every instance of chest pain caused by lupus.

Here are some symptoms you may see, however:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Purple or cold fingertips and toes
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Hair loss, mainly on the scalp
  • Low blood count
  • Red rash or color change on the face, across the cheek or bridge of nose
  • Unexplained fever for several days
  • Chest pain
  • Protein in the urine
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Oral or nose sores
  • Depression, trouble thinking, and/or memory problems or other cognitive problems

In the same token, not every symptom named above is noted in every one of us. We each have a case of lupus that is individual, unique-but somehow, I don’t feel lucky!

What follows, is a partial list of symptoms and some of the reasons that you might develop them. Keep in mind that lupus is a disease of the immune system and inflammatory in nature.

Many people with lupus also have Sjogren’s syndrome, and the two conditions together can cause a dry mouth that can become so severe that the delicate tissue in the mouth ulcerate> mouth sores.  Medications to treat lupus can also be quite drying.

Anemia might be caused by a folic acid deficiency or a vitamin B-12 deficiency and there is discussion that anemia results from antibodies against components of the blood.

Hair loss, or alopecia, may be caused in part from exposure to the sun.

Vasculitis literally really refers to an inflammation of the blood vessels. This inflammation causes  leaking of blood from the vessels (which happens often near the ankles) to the tissues. Often what we see are discolorations in the skin, called petechiae.

These are just a few of the symptoms that present with lupus, but during the course of their disease,  not every symptom is present and some not mentioned ARE present.

The debilitating fatigue which can be from lupus is often caused by coexisting anemia. This isn’t always the case, but sometime a partial explanation.

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What is lupus?

Lupus. What is it? I could say that it is an autoimmune disease, but you don’t answer a question with part of it’s definition! Rather, lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease, characterized by it’s fatigue. But anyone can get fatigued; so how do you differentiate between lupus and being tired due to lack of sleep or a host of other conditions? There are laboratory tests referred to in: lab tests helpful in differentiating lupus from other illnesses and they help predict symptoms which your doctor will order to rule in or rule out a diagnosis.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Lupus is a disease, afflicting @1.5 million Americans, can be fatal and one in which the immune system of the sufferer goes haywire. Normally, cells of the immune system, detect foreign invaders, ‘mark them as foreign’ and other cells engulf them and destroy them.

However, in lupus, the immune system sees the body’s own cells as foreign, and mounts an attack on them: on SELF. That is why lupus is considered an autoimmune (immunity against oneself: auto). In lupus, any organ can be the victim of an attack. The lungs can be attacked in pleuritis, or the heart in pericarditis or the kidneys in nephritis.

The blood vessels themselves can be attacked in vascultis or the brain in lupus cerebritis. This short video, briefly explains autommunity, it you wanted to give friends or family members a brief tutorial, I’ve found this video to be very short and helpful:

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Diagnosing Lupus

Common signs and symptoms of systemic lupus er...

Image via Wikipedia

We spoke of lupus being an inflammatory disease in which your immune system malfunctions and doesn’t distinguish ‘self’ from ‘non-self. Just how this happens, scientists don’t know how or why; making diagnosis of this disease difficult, too.

Why is diagnosis difficult? Many symptoms of lupus are similar to those of other illnesses, like anemia. There are more than 400 causes of anemia: Lupus is only one cause.

A diagnosis of lupus is usually made after a careful evaluation of symptoms; including extreme fatigue, chills, rashes, sun sensitivity, anemia, joint pains, blood clotting disorders, or ulcers in the mouth and nose.

Because those symptoms can mimic other diseases, diagnosis is not easy, but the diagnostic process must be accompanied by evaluation of laboratory tests, medical history and physical exam.

Laboratory tests include but aren’t limited to urinalysis, complete blood count, a test called and anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA), an marker of inflammation, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) a protein in the blood that can be low in lupus.

There are other tests that your doctor may feel are in your best interests and may help him diagnose your condition. I’m not a physician and only your healthcare practitioner can make the diagnosis.

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A Lifelong Battle with Lupus

[repostus hash=94887e9a4e19386c126e373eddd4311b title=A+Lifelong+Battle+with+Lupus host=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sayno2arthritis.com short=1nkSf snip=A+Lifelong+Battle+with+Lupus+This+young+person%27s+ongoing+lupus+treatment%2C+gives+a+frightening+insight+into+what+lies+ahead+for+lupus+sufferers+who+choose+to+be+treated+with+prescription+drugs.+She+has+managed+to+achieve+outstanding+academic+success%2C+even+with+the+odds+stacked+against+her.+One+can+only%26hellip%3B thumb=2893238]

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Medications for lupus, part 1

First order of business: were you my 11,500 hit??

Today we’ll start a brief overview in a series of medications that are used to treat lupus. The first line of medications are usually medications that you can buy without a prescription (over-the-counter: OTC). OTC meds for lupus are:

  • Acetaminophen or Tylenol is a good pain reliever and fever-reducer that has few side effects. However, acetaminophen has been known to do liver damage in large doses. Because lupus is an inflammatory disease and acetaminophen does not decrease inflammation, the use of acetaminophen is limited to its pain relief (analgesic) and fever-reducing qualities.
  • Aspirin decreases inflammation and reduces fevers, something that you want in lupus, right? But, aspirin can irritate your stomach, so it’s best to take it with food or milk. If you have an ulcer, only take aspirin on the ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN, because it can cause bleeding. Or, if you take Coumadin, aspirin, again, is a ‘no-no.’ (Aspirin is an anti-coagulant and taking it with Coumadin can affect your blood work
  • The third and most powerful group of OVER-THE-COUNTER  are in a class called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs. These medications work by decreasing inflammation and the pain of stiff joints.
  1. Ibuprofen
  2. Naproxyn
  3. Relafen
  4. Indomethacin
  5. Celecoxib

People tend to ‘respond’ better to one NSAID than another, so some time, finding the NSAID that works best for you can be frustrating. Because NSAIDs can easily irritate your stomach, they are also best taken with food or milk and occasionally antacids or another medication, called Cytotec.

Professional Further Education in Clinical Pha...

Professional Further Education in Clinical Pharmacy and Public Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Lupus is the diagnosis; can you explain autoimmunity?

Finally, a diagnosis of lupus, a reason for years of unexplained aches and pains. This is not the time to get out the party hats: but you have suffered for years. Before telling people that you have an abnormal immune system, why not understand what’s normal?

Our immune systems defend our bodies from disease and one of the immune system’s major players is a protein, called an antibody. Antibodies wait in constant surveillance for foreign invaders, or antigens. Antibodies attach to antigens and destroy them like
pac-men.

Occasionally,  the antibodies attack the body’s own tissues, not foreign tissues. This is called autoimmunity; in short, a failure of our bodies to differentiate self from ‘non-self.’ If the attack is on the heart, you may experience lupus pericarditis, if the attack is on the lungs, you may have lupus pleuritis (the largest pulmonary complication of lupus) or pulmonary hypertension. Attacks like these, against the body cause massive inflammation and tissue or cell injury, which we call lupus.

There are a lot of symptoms of lupus, but most are the result of these: inflammation and injury to tissue and cells. Inflammation of lupus is often measured by blood tests and is noticed by the massive inflammation that accompanies lupus and tissue cell injury also accompanies this inflammation.

Approximately 70% of lupus cases are neither drug-induced, neonatal nor discoid. They are systemic (meaning they involve the whole body) and are represented by the name systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Discoid lupus, or cutaneous lupus, is noted to have heavy skin involvement. But eventually, 40-70 % of discoid lupus sufferers develop SLE.

It used to be thought that women with lupus could not and should not conceive. Now, it is possible to conceive and give birth; though the pregnancy is thought to be high-risk.

When pregnant women have lupus, on occasion their autoantibodies travel through across the placenta and through the fetal circulation; attacking the cells of the fetus. This is called neonatal lupus and children with neonatal lupus are at risk for premature birth and heart block.

Drug-induced lupus, as the name suggests, is often caused by certain medications. Example of medications that might cause drug-induced lupus are, dilantin  (epilepsy). Surprisingly enough, some of the medications used to treat lupus, cause drug-induced lupus. Medications used to treat other chronic illnesses can cause drug-induced lupus.

The video below is the best explanation of what lupus is, but a reputable organization. So, if you have only a few minutes to to explain to your family why you have the symptoms you do, this ia a must, not-withstanding the commercials.

What is Lupus?

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“We’ve just been introduced…”

Finally, a diagnosis, a reason for years of unexplained aches and pains. It’s not time to get out the party hats, but now that you have a diagnosis, there are more treatment options. However, before telling people that you have an abnormal immune system, shouldn’t you understand what’s normal?

Our immune systems defend our bodies from disease and one of the immune system’s major players is a protein called an antibody. Antibodies rest in constant surveillance for foreign invaders, or antigens. Antibodies attach to antigens and destroy them like
pac-men.

Occasionally, this destruction occurs when antigens aren’t present, so the antibodies attack the body’s own tissues, it’s own cells. This is called autoimmunity; in short, a failure of our bodies to recognize itself as ‘friendly.’ If the attack is on the heart, you may experience lupus pericarditis, if the attack is on the lungs, you may have lupus pleuritis (the largest pulmonary complication of lupus) or pulmonary hypertension. Attacks like these, against the body cause massive inflammation and tissue or cell injury, which we call lupus.

There are a lot of symptoms of lupus, but most are the result of these: inflammation and injury to tissue and cells. The inflammation of lupus is often measured by blood tests and is noticed by the massive inflammation that accompanies lupus and tissue cell injury also accompanies this inflammation.

Approximately 70% of lupus cases are neither drug-induced, neonatal nor discoid. They are systemic (meaning they involve the whole body) and are represented by the name systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Discoid lupus, or cutaneous lupus, is noted to have heavy skin involvement. But eventually, 40-70 % of discoid lupus sufferers develop SLE.

It used to be thought that women with lupus could not and should not conceive. Now, it is possible to conceive and give birth; though the pregnancy is thought to be high-risk.

When pregnant women have lupus, on occasion their autoantibodies travel through across the placenta and through the fetal circulation; attacking the cells of the fetus. This is called neonatal lupus and children with neonatal lupus are at risk for premature birth and heart block.

Drug-induced lupus, as the name suggests, is often caused by certain medications. Example of medications that might cause drug-induced lupus are, dilantin  (epilepsy). Surprisingly enough, some of the medications used to treat lupus, cause drug-induced lupus. Medications used to treat other chronic illnesses can cause drug-induced lupus.

The video below is the best explanation of what lupus is, by a reputable organization. So, if you have only a few minutes to to explain to your family why you have the symptoms you do, this ia a must, not-withstanding the commercials.

What is Lupus?

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