Archive by Author | Annie

The bleeding won’t stop!

Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura. Say what? Forget that it’s difficult to pronounce; what the heck does it mean? You’ve heard of red cells and white cells in the blood. There is another kind of cell; that cell is the platelet.

Technically speaking, platelets aren’t cells because they lack DNA. (To be considered ‘real’ cells, ‘cells’ need a nucleus with DNA). Platelets lack DNA, so technically they are not cells). But they, platelets (thrombocytes) cause the blood to clot.

People who have lupus can have low numbers of platelets for several reasons. In lupus and in all autoimmune diseases, cells of the immune system attack other cells. When platelets are attacked and killed, their numbers are decreased resulting in thrombocytopenia (low platelets in the blood); blood may or may not clot. That is one of the many reasons they check your platelet count before surgery. Can you see the headlines now? ‘The operation was a success, but the patient bled to death!’ It has happened.

Another reason that people with lupus might have low platelets is APS or antiphospholipid syndrome; another clotting disorder, often caused by lupus which increases the likelihood of blood-clotting. How could this be so? An increased likelihood of clotting at the same time there is a decreased likelihood? Platelets are so busy causing blood to clot in in all parts of the body, that in some areas, there are not adequate numbers of them to cause blood to clot. So much for the thrombocyte (thrombocytic) part. So much for the thrombocytic part and on to the idiopathic part!

‘Idiopathic’ simply means docs don’t know what causes something to happen. 

Purpura is a simple reference to what can happen when blood fails to clot. Blood may pool close to the skin surface, eventually clot and there is a resulting purplish discoloration; purpura or in it’s very technical term: bruising!

There you have it, ITP or Idiopathic Thrombocytic Purpura, sometimes not hazardous, but it can be serious and depending upon the severity, ITP may or may not be treated,. If it is treated, Plaquenil,™ steroids, Benlysta,™ CellCept™ or mycophenolate are among many meds of choice Other treatments can be Rituxan™ or in more severe cases, the surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy). New treatments are in clinical trials, now.

 

 

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Join me in a lupus clinical trial

There is a lupus clinical trial that is recruiting applicants now. We all know that lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.

Many people think of the inconvenient and bothersome side effects of lupus. Like sore joints and dry mouth. No, lupus affects the skin in many ways, too (makes it tighten and sometimes causes the formation of painful sores). Internally, it can wreak havoc on the heart, lungs as said before, causing inflammation; yes, lupus can and does KILL.

Approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will observe some type of effect on their skin. In fact, 40-70 percent of people with lupus will find that their disease is made worse by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight or artificial light. This study will take place in 30 areas of the US and will involve the use of  monoclonal  antibody to treat lupus.

As always, information here is not intended to take the place of the materials given to you by the clinical trial, but I know of the safety and efficacy of these trials.

 

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The 4 Best Exercises for a Healthier Heart

Ida Jones

There are many exercises that contribute to the health of the heart.  Following are four of the best exercises that will keep your heart healthy. Have a look at them:

Circuit training

Circuit training is all about movements, and there is no better way of improving the health of the heart other than circuit training. Start working out and add circuit training to your daily ritual. It is that one exercise which involves very high-intensity workout, and it helps the heart to pump the blood better and fast. That ‘cardio’ workout can keep the heart AND the lungs a bit more elastic and increase the contractility of the heart muscle. Circuit training is well-known for increasing the elasticity of the heart especially the arterial wall. It will help the arteries to stretch themselves which results in better blood supply. 

Weight training

weight training

Weight training is another amazing exercise for the health of your heart. For everyone who is suffering from cardiac issues or immune system issues, weight training is meant for them. Other than the heart, weight training is great for your bones as well.

In considering the bones which are made less porous by the steroids often necessary in autoimmune diseases, strengthening the muscles around he joints can percent the need for premature joint replacements caused by osteonecrosis.

Don’t feel like going to the gym every day? Buy a weight bench and a set of dumbbells, creating a mini gym of your own at home. You can check your body’s weight bearing capacity and set the weights according to that. Another little suggestion here might be to try modified push ups with your knees bent to prevent pressure on your shoulder joints. Tendon tears and osteonecrosis of the shoulder are known side effects of steroids used to treat many autoimmune diseases. Otherwise, regular push-ups could be added to your regimen.   

Running

Running is again one of the best exercises for the heart. It will improve the health of your heart by improving the circulation of blood in the body. By improving the circulation it also improves the pathways of blood circulating through the lungs and strengthens the muscles supporting the whole thorax.

Running also lowers blood pressure, a known causes of heart disease. In addition to helping your heart by working to lower your blood pressure, running strengthens the muscles of your legs, your entire abdominal region; speaking in generalities, it helps your body and has a positive effect  Again, muscle strength improves the support the muscles give to the bones.Try running daily for at least half hour and then gradually increase the time once you develop the required stamina.

Swimming

The last but not the least, swimming is also very beneficial for the heart. For a one exercise that ‘does it all’ many turn to swimming. Swimming involves intense workout, and this is how it keeps the heart healthy. It increases physical stamina and also contributes to the body shaping and weight loss. Swimming is good for people of all ages even for the pregnant woman. It is all safe and healthy so if you don’t know how to swim, learn it and you are good to go. Muscles are developed through the ever so gentle resistance offered by the water.

I hope this guide helps you out. Stay safe and stay healthy!

 

About the Author:

Ida Jones is a mother of two little ones. She enjoys home-based workouts, cardio exercises, and long runs. She loves spending her vacations outdoors with her kids around nature. She believes in clean and healthy eating. She regularly writes about fitness tips and much more at FitnessGrit.com

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Recruitment for Rheumatoid Arthritis Study

Rheumatoid arthritis is an uncommon form of arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your immune system attacks the lining of your joints. This causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and redness that can move to any joint, at any time. You may also have other symptoms like feeling tired or having a fever. Better treatment options are needed for PEOPLE WHO SUFFER WITH RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. Right now, local doctors are looking for people who have Rheumatoid Arthritis to participate in local research studies.

To find out more about this study, visit http://curec.lk/2mYV5A5

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What is Factor V Leiden mutation?

Factor V Leiden-guest post and reposted with permission of the author, Cassandra Schnupps

 

BASIC FACTS about Factor V

  • Factor V Leiden is an inherited blood clotting disorder. It is a specific gene mutation that can result in thrombophilia (an abnormality of blood coagulation that increases the risks of blood clots forming in blood vessels).
  • People who are heterozygous (carry one gene mutation) or homozygous (carry two gene mutations) are at higher risk of developing a DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
  • Factor V Leiden is the most common clotting disorder. 3-8% of Caucasians in North America carry the gene mutation.
  • Factor V Leiden can cause miscarriages. Pregnant women with Factor V are considered high risk and need to be on a course of low molecular heparin or it’s derivative, Enoxaparin Sodium (generic name is Lovenox), during pregnancy.

WHAT ISN’T WIDELY DISCUSSED/KNOWN

  • Factor V Leiden along with other blood clotting disorders has been DIRECTLY linked to Osteonecrosis/Avascular Necrosis.  There are several clinical papers I have included on this blog concerning this fact.
  • If you have Factor V you should NEVER take steroids. Even a 20 day use of high dose Prednisone can cause ON/AVN.
  • If you have Factor V NEVER take drugs with estrogen, ie, the Pill.

Much of this information has been obtained from Dr. Charles Gleck who has worked consistently in the area of metabolic disorders. Dr. Glueck is an endocrinologist in Cincinatti, OH and is recognized internationally as an expert in treating and preventing osteonecrosis.[

Ms. Schnupps has a blog at osteonecrosis.me . Her blog is solely devoted to osteonecrosis/avascular necrosis. But, why do I place a post about Factor V in this the musculoskeletal category? Factor V increases the body’s likelihood of developing a clot and clot formation greatly increases the chance that a blood clot will form, obstruct circulation to the bone and depriving it of life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. When deprived of oxygen or nutrients for a long-enough period of time, the bone dies: osteonecrosis (bone death) or avascular (without blood) necrosis.

Also of note, for obstetric patients who have lupus or another autoimmune disease, they may be considered ‘high risk’ because if there is likelihood of increasing clotting ability, the placenta may be blocked with a clot and oxygen and life-sustaining nutrients don’t get to the baby. Thus there is a high degree of miscarriages among patients with Factor V.

 

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Benlysta for subcutaneous (SC) injection?

Until now, Benlysta™ was only available for IV (intravenous infusion) in a clinic, hospital setting, or cancer setting. However, just several days ago, the FDA approved it for subcutaneous injection-a 200 mg weekly dose. So, after a patient has been trained by his/her doctor’s medical staff, the patient may self-inject Benlysta™ at home.

First developed as a monthly infusion in 2011, Benlysta™ is now a weekly subcutaneous  (beneath the fatty tissue of skin layers  but not as deep as the muscle) injection.  We’ll leave the ‘how to give a subcutaneous injection’ for another post.

People who don’t have lupus may think that giving shots for lupus is overkill, since lupus only gives you sore joints. Au contraire, lupus or another autoimmune disorder can affect the heart, lungs or intestines-any organ in the body a tremendous inconvenience, causing pain and suffering-these side effect can be fatal.

So, what is Benlysta™ ? It is a human monoclonal antibody, as opposed to Rituxan™ which is a murine (mouse) monclonal antibody-more about that later. Suffice it to say that because Rituxan™ is murine (from a mouse)  and Benlysta™ is from human monoclonal antib odies, there is less chance or a reaction to Benlysta™       .

It needs to be noted that Benlysta™ has not been approved for other forms of lupus: discoid, drug-induced or neonatal lupus. This formulation has only been approved for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus,

Benlysta™ hasn’t been used long-term to study it’s effectiveness in lupus nephritis  (when lupus has affected kidney function) and CNS lupus (when lupus affects the central nervous system).

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To sleep: with cats or dogs?!

Many western societies have a taboo on non-romantically involved people sleeping together. This forces singles to sleep alone even if they do not want to. Feeling anxious sleeping alone is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. But there are cultures in which  it is acceptable for people to look for partners just for sleep company, even if there is no serious relationship.

Pets can be a great help for the single person who has night time anxiety or just does not enjoy sleeping alone. Pets can help improve your sleep by laying by your side at night and enriching your life by giving you genuine companionship during the day.

Since there are reasons which help the functioning of your immune system, I felt that a post about sleeping with pets had a place here. A friend finds comfort when her dog curls up on the bed and takes her half out of the middle; but the dog eventually finds his space in the crook behind my friends’ knees. But, your preference might be with cats.

CATS AND THE PURR FACTOR:

For space-saving reasons, cats make better sleeping mates. A person sleeping alone is more likely to own a single bed. So, space is an issue and cats take less of it than most dogs. Cats are soft  balls of fur that can either fit in between that crook between your arm and chest, lie on top of you or slide in between your shins without disturbing your sleep at all. Add to that the seemingly magical relaxing powers of the cat’s purr and you will see why they are the most popular pets to take to bed. Studies have shown that a cat’s purr helps reduce stress and can reduce the risk of heart disease. To put the cherry on top of the cake, cats can also serve as excellent feet warmers!

On the other hand, cats will come and go as they please and won’t lie there unconditionally to give you warmth and company. Another drawback is that their smaller size won’t allow you to hug them while you sleep if that is something that helps you. Finally, cats cannot give you the same sense of security as a dog, as you cannot really count on a cat to fight off an armed robber unless it is a large cat with claws!

DOGS

The larger size of dogs allows you to hold on to them which helps some people sleep better; in fact they may enter REM sleep sooner. Dogs, being loyal as they are to their owners, are more likely keep lying next to you, even if they wake up, giving you a sense of security and comfort throughout your sleep.

Of course, size may become a factor if they take up most of the space. All that love in those hearts of gold may become a problem for they will want to lie on top of you which isn’t real comfortable especially if your dog is a  huge Irish Wolf Hound or Bullmastiff.

And the winner is……Both of these pets are excellent sleep aids, if you are suffering from anxiety and stress caused by sleeping alone and we all know that that stress can trigger a flare. In my view, cats win this battle because of their smaller size and purring. Maybe you have a different winner of this battle. So, take a look at both the pros and cons of each and decide who wins!

Author bio: Eugene Gabriel has his BSc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology. He has always been fascinated by the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it on human productivity and overall well-being. He has helped thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully. Read his post on perfect sleep quantity. You can also follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj

 

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