Steroids-“when they’re good, they’re very, very good; but when they’re bad, they’re horrid”


I used to be skinny, so skinny, that jokes followed me around. Yep, people said, “she’s like a McDonald’s hamburger; so skinny, she only has one side;” that sort of thing. Then I was diagnosed with lupus and all that changed Why?

Meds commonly used for autoimmune symptoms are often non-steroidal anti-inflammatories drugs or NSAIDs. While they don’t pack on the pounds, if symptoms worsen and other meds which include  prednisone, Decadron™ or Solu-Medrol™ are used, watch the scales for weight gain which can increase the problems one has with ‘carting around’ extra weight.

It is known that steroids cause fluid retention and an increased appetite; both of which will increase weight rapidly. All of a sudden eating that second piece of pie is completely normal behavior! Another way is theorized: interference with fat metabolism and a redistribution of body fat.

But, steroid medications do have a good effect, one so good that having the moon face and other side effects of steroids is sometimes worth the side effects. Steroids are so good at relieving the inflammation which causes the discomfort and some of the life-threatening side effects from autoimmune disease (for example, the joint pain from RA) or the inflammation of the lung lining: pleurisy. Without them there would be more pain and aches.

Steroids also play a huge role in the treatment of asthma. The asthmatic would also have to make the choice to suffer the side effects of steroids or to breathe. Kind of an untenable choice, don’t you think? But there is an increased risk of osteoporosis due to their effects on the bones. 

Also, because there is redistributing of fat, you don’t have to take steroids for autoimmunity. Ashley Judd took high dose of steroids for a sinus infection and as beautiful as she is, you can see the impact of steroids on her face.

But there are ‘new kids on the block’ which don’t have the risk/side effects of steroids; Rituxan™, methotrexate™, Benlysta™ and a host of others.












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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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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 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.


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

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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.


  • 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 . 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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LUPUS, in a nutshell

Every disease, everything that ails us, usually has a descriptor, a very easy way of describing it. and here is a lupus descriptor that is a very basic. Future articles will expound on this video:

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The Bionic Woman?


Replacements of most joints are becoming commonplace, but some are replaced more often than others; and the hip joint is very likely the most frequently replaced joint. The following is an image of a normal hip:

normal hipNotice that the bone marrow has a blood supply, (the blood supply to the bone marrow is represented by the area with the red dots on the graph), ‘ball’ and ‘socket’ created by the ‘head’ or top of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis.

Over the course of years, the cartilage  can wear thin. When the cartilage doesn’t provide the cushion that it used to provide, pain results, and this pain can be quite severe and not always relieved by medication. You may have heard people use the term, ‘bone on bone’ referring to the bone in the ball rubbing against each other of the ball and socket. each. It may now look a bit more like:

Untitled 3

You can see on the patient’s same side that there is an accumulation of dead bone cells. These cells cause much of the pain: how? Bone cells are like any other cell in the body, they must rid themselves of debris and toxic wastes. This is the goal of one procedure commonly used to relieve symptoms: core decompression.

If pain from osteonecrosis still exists despite complete non-weight bearing status, ice, elevation and physical therapy with tylenol and nonsteroidal antinflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxyn, a surgical option is sometimes indicated. One of those surgical options is the total joint replacement, a THR.

anntated_THRIn the diagram to the left are the components of the hip prosthesis which are inserted by the surgeon to create a new joint.

The femoral stem is inserted into the thigh bone and bypasses any osteonecrosis or osteoarthritis which may be present.

The femoral head component has at it’s end a shiny metallic (titanium) piece which inserts into a plastic cup or liner. This liner fits into the acetabular component and doubles as cartilage to further protect the new joint.

This surgery has saved many from a lifetime of pain and if it works on me in a week, I’ll be free of hip pain for the first time in many years and one step closer to THE BIONIC WOMAN!

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What is lupus?

discover your power“Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body (skin, joints, and/or organs inside the body). ” I ‘borrowed’ this definition of lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosous) from the website of the Lupus Foundation of America which deals with every aspect of this disease (lupus) that could be thought possible.

It needs to be said that there are fine organizations which conduct research for, use donated revenues for education of, gather information about and educate about lupu. There is the Lupus Foundation of America, the Lupus Research Initiative and the Alliance for Lupus Research.  and including, but not limited to many educational sites such as Molly’s Fund, The Lupus Chick, Sometimes it is Lupus. this site: The Lupus Guru and Lupus, The Adventurer Between the Lines. Space limits the # of sites I can mention, but suffice it to say that the above blogs and websites frequently update their content and all make attempts to maintain an upbeat, updated presence on the internet.

So, what is lupus? You’ll find more thorough explanations on the sites listed above and as I post more on these pages, but-what follows is a short video presentation s which is accurate and if you need to have an explanation of what lupus is for concerned friends and family members because you’ve just been diagnosed with lupus, YouTube is incredibly accurate with this video!

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