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Autoimmunity took my teeth and mouth hostage!

 

How Autoimmune Disease Impacts Oral Health

Did you know that people who suffer from immune diseases have an increased risk of developing oral health conditions and gum diseases? Numbered below are common immune diseases and how oral health is impacted by them:

  1. LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS

The inflammation caused by lupus affects the mouth and tongue. This inflammation, can cause sores on the lips, palate and inside the cheeks. In extreme cases patients may also experience burning of the mouth and lack of saliva. Since saliva normally washes away food, sugars and bacteria, a lack of it can result in dry mouth and an increase in dental caries. Dry mouth increases the risk of decay and yeast/fungal infections of the mouth. Tooth decay can incrase the need for fillings, the need to extract teeth, dentures to replace missing teeth or ineffective chewing which can result in stomach and digestive problems

     2 RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, and Rheumatoid Arthritis patients can experience inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ patients experience extreme discomfort while performing any activity using their mouths: chewing and talking, opening their mouth at the dentist, eating. They may also experience facial pain, headaches, earaches, locking of the jaw, worn teeth and ringing in the ears. In a few cases, TMJ is caused by misalignment of joint and often expensive orthodontic treatment is needed to lessen or prevent the symptoms.

People suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis can also have Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease of the salivary and tear glands. Sjogren’s causes severe dryness of the mouth; thus creating problems with chewing and swallowing  and dryness. Because of this dryness there can result in heavy plaque deposits on the teeth. This in turn increases the chances of tooth decay and periodontal gum disease. Because of oral dryness and food not being completely digested when it leaves the mouth and difficulty swallowing,Sjogren’s patients also experience pneumonia because they choked on food. .

     3.SCLEORDERMA (Progressive Systemic Sclerosis)

Scleroderma is known for it’s hardening of the skin; often the lips and tongue are involved. As the effects of this increases, the mouth becomes narrower and the lips and tongue grow more rigid. A tightened mouth makes it difficult to open or move the jaw, thus causing difficulties cleaning the mouth. This increases the risk of developing tooth and gum infections, including periodontal disease or tooth caries.

     4.THYMIC HYPOPLASIA 

Thymic hypoplasia, (DiGeorge’s syndrome) causes abnormal growth of the thymus and parathyroid glands, leading to a white blood cell deficiency. Therefore, people with thymic hypoplasia are prone to viral and fungal infections, especially in the mouth. Oral Candidiasis, thrush, and herpes are some of most common fungal infections that affect those suffering from Thymic hypoplasia. In extreme cases, Thymic Hypoplasia affects the mouth and jaw, resulting in improper development of the palate resulting often in a cleft palate, a split uvula, a receding chin, or a shorter-than-normal distance between the nose and the upper lip.

     5 DERMATOMYOSITIS

Dermatomyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes unusual skin rashes. It affects women more than men and can affect people at any age. Muscle weakness in the head and neck are the more common signs of dermatomyositis. This is especially concerning as it can also lead to difficulty in swallowing and chewing, and those suffering from Dermatomyositis may have hard bumps inside their face and tongue.

As you can see, each of the above mentioned diseases can have adverse impacts on the health of your mouth. Since the condition of your mouth directly impacts the functioning of your mouth and digestive system, the above mentioned diseases can drastically affect your overall health. If you have been diagnosed with any of the diseases mentioned above,  I can’t stress enough the necessity of meeting with your dentist, explain the concerns you have about your mouth and find out what you need to do to avoid the chances of complications due to oral dryness.

 

Author Bio:

Emily found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA. She believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily that she solves by researching and writing about. She loves to write about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile – whether is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lupus Clinical Trial

This study is testing a ‘monoclonal antibody’ that may help to control the symptoms of SLE including the skin manifestations of lupus. A what? A monoclonal antibody! What’s that?

Monoclonal Antibodies (mAb) are heard of more often and have more uses, these days. But what are they? Remember, that antibodies are cells in the immune system which fight off invading organisms. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies made by combining B lymphocytes with cancer-causing cells to the same end: to fight off invadng organisms. These cells are usually used to produce antibodies against the cancerous cells. Monoclonal antibodies are used instead of chemotherapy in patients with a form of bone cancer.

It was discovered that mAbs had uses in autoimmune diseases, like lupus, plaque psoriasis, rheumtoid arthritis to name a few. These are a few of the more common mAbs: Humira™, is a mAb, used for plaque psoriasis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rituxan™ is an mAb often used for lupus. Benlysta™ is an mAb often used for the treatment of SLE also. In fact, Benlysta™ was the first medication approved by the FDA for lupus treatment.

Unlike chemotherapy, which targets-well everthing, mAb’s targets specific structures (bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, etc-therefore there are fewer side effects to therapy with mAbs. Fewer side effects, more targeted medication, FDA-approved; what’s not to like?

Click here to be directed to the questionairre to see if you qualify for the clinical trial!

 

 

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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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Lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome and IVig

My doctor called, “We’ve found out why you have such problems with your balance, walking and weird sensations in your legs. ”

She proposed treating me with either high-dose IV steroids or immunoglobulins because the inflammation and viral activity in my blood was so great. She chose IVig instead of steroids, because steroids would suppress my immune system enough, so that fighting infection would be a problem.

The immunoglobulins would be given to me through an intravenous line. Having learned about immunoglobulins years ago in nursing school, there was no time like the present for a brusher upper! Briefly put, immunoglobulins are proteins found in the blood that are used to fight viruses and bacteria.

Because immunoglobulins are heavy, they require much volume for infusion. Because my doctor needed to know if I could tolerate the volume for the infusion, a right heart catheterization was to be done. In this procedure, a catheter would be placed in my neck, threaded through the heart and lungs and measurements taken in various places of the heart and lungs to help determine if I would be able to tolerate the volume of the immunoglobulins.

So, should steroids be used to treat the lupus and its massive inflammation or immunoglobulins to treat the antibody deficiency? I opted for, and the doctors felt the latter stood a better chance of being effective against the known culprit of Sjogren’s Syndrome. Stay tuned to this channel for the effectiveness of IVig.

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Oral dryness in lupus? Sjogren Syndrome

Do you have a dry mouth or difficulty swallowing? Does your mouth feel like it’s been stuffed with cotton balls and you can barely speak?  Or, if you can speak are you understood? If so, I’ll guess that you don’t stray far from home without a water bottle.

Not always found in lupus, this condition of dry mouth-or xerostomia- is a hallmark of Sjogren’s Syndrome, another autoimmune disease that often is found in lupus sufferers.  This time, the cells of the immune system have set their sights on and mount their attack on the mucous-producing, or exocrine glands, thinking they are foreign invaders, when, in fact they are ‘self.’

The exocrine glands we speak of here (there are others) are the salivary glands,  abundant around the mouth and jaw. Very often, a dry mouth can be caused by medications, but this dry mouth is worse-Wait a minute, is a contest! A chronic dry mouth is HORRIBLE-whatever the cause. Continue reading

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Basic Lupus Treatment and Steroids

Many of us would be surprised at the amount we already know about lupus that the average consumer does not. For example, often we know what our ANAs and ESRs are. We know to compare them with previous ones and we might understand why they might be elevated. For example, often we follow our ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) as a measure of inflammation in our bodies. Well, if it is elevated, it means that there is inflammation SOME WHERE IN THE BODY. More specifically, we might compare our ANAs.

We’ve learned over the years, that treatment for the symptoms of lupus involves treating the inflammation that causes those symptoms. That’s the reason doctors often suggest NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like “Aleve” or ibuprofen.

Oftentimes, NSAIDs are adequate to control pain as they decrease inflammation which causes the pain. But, sometimes NSAIDs are not adequate. So, pain is managed temporarily with the steroid, prednisone. Sometimes, a dosepak is prescribed, a burst of an oral steroid followed by decreasing doses of that same steroid for 5 or 6 days.

Steroids should always be withdrawn slowly; we all know that. But do you know why? We might experience symptoms of the withdrawal (weakness, fatigue, body aches, joint pain).

The main reason for weaning from steroids slowly is because the adrenal glands already produce a steroid, cortisol. When you started taking oral exogenous (from an outside source) steroids, the body began to slow down it’s production of them over 2-3 weeks. As time passed, your body became completely dependent on oral steroids as endogenous  (produced from within the body) stops.

When the exogenous steroids are to be stopped and steroid therapy reintroduced, it is important to slowly taper the amount of steroids that you take because it ‘time’ for the adrenals to ‘kick back in’ with their production of cortisol, so exogenous steroids have to be slowly withdrawn. Why? Because cortisol is the steroid responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response that our body mounts to stress, so something called adrenal insufficiency or adrenal crisis can result. We must be able to engage the fight or flight response, so it is important, very important that steroid tapers be followed exactly as your doctor orders.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/prednisone-withdrawal/expert-answers/faq-20057923 retrieved from the www: 9/19/2016

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The unknown

Surgery to replace my hip was called off. Was it because I was chicken? No. I was advised against surgery at the time because of a risk to my lungs and heart. Does that mean that I am forever at high risk for any surgery?

High risk. I don’t like the sound. You mean, one of these times, I might not ‘wake up?’ Now, there’s a humbling thought and a reason to examine my own mortality. I have Shrinking Lung Syndrome (sometimes known as Vanishing Lung Syndrome) from lupus or from Sjogren’s Syndrome (it is a rare pulmonary effect of either) and I experience severe shortness of breath with next to no exertion. However, upon measuring my oxygen saturation at the time, the result is usually normal, @ 98%-99%.

That’s why supplemental oxygen didn’t help. However, that was the past and I just wonder about the present.  A recent sleep study monitored oxygen all night long. We’ve tried inhalers: So far, none have worked.  So the next step/treatment.

The shortness of breath is now much more involved as it takes on a life of it’s own. Walking is limited to 10-20 yards before it becomes so severe that I need to rest. The shortness and breath, along with weakness, makes it next to impossible to walk without use of a cane.  My balance, issues are getting worse everyday. Hardly the way I wanted to spend the ‘golden years!’

Having not much more than time on my hands, I write here or at my other blog, annies analysis, frequently. My rheumatologist has prescribed several medications, and a diary of my journey with these can be found in TREATMENT CHRONICLES. Come, join me on my journey!

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