Autoimmune Disease

The video following this is a 15 minute video, VERY informative, about how the immune system works in lupus and other autoimmune diseases. 



There are other other videos or explanations you can use to explain autoimmunity to family and friends.  Here is one which is only 3 minutes, but contains a lot of information aboutautoimmunity :



So, here are ways to explain autoimmunity to others; I bet the 2nd video will be used more often to explain autoimmunity to others because it is brief, but the first one ought to be reserved for YOU to explain in more detail for you.


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While writing another post, I came across this video, which, in 3 or so minutes speaks volumes about a lot about this disease:

 Support those who know no relief from this disease that can strike any place in their bodies:

You can help those ‘who don’t look sick’ and click the blue button below to be taken to the website of the

Lupus Foundation of America

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Lupus Nephritis, One Symptom of Lupus Disease That Can Pressurize Your Life

Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE or lupus). SLE is autoimmune disease that refers to a disorder in which the immune system of the body attacks the cells and organs of one’s own body. Statistics say that up to 60% of people with SLE are diagnosed with lupus nephritis. This disease can cause significant illness and even death. Nephritis makes protein leak from the kidneys that is then removed from the body through urine. A person with lupus nephritis may experience the following symptoms:

1.Weight gain

  1. High blood pressure

3.Foamy urine

4.Swelling (edema) around the feet, ankles and legs

5.Fluid retention.

This disease is found in around 1/3rd-1/2 of lupus patients. In some cases the patient may not feel any symptom for long periods of time. Many times it is not associated with pain in the abdomen or back.However, iIf this condition is not treated properly it will lead to kidney failure.

A urine test is the most common test for lupus nephritis. It is normally conducted over a 24-hour period to see if the kidneys are functioning properly. This test of urine looks for proteins and blood cells that are not commonly found in urine. The presence of proteins and blood cells in urine indicates kidney damage. Besides urine test, blood tests can also be done to check if kidneys are properly removing wastes from the body. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) study and the serum creatinine study are generally conducted for this purpose. Serum albumin study and the serum sodium study look for lower blood protein levels and salt or water imbalances respectively. If lupus nephritis is present, a kidney biopsy confirms the disease and it measures the extent of kidney damage too. Treatment of lupus nephritis differs from patient to patient. It may include any of the following:

1. Diuretic drugs to reduce excess fluid that is retained in the body

2. Anti-hypertensive drugs to control high blood pressure

3. Anticoagulation drugs to prevent problems from blood clots

4. Dietary changes to control the levels of salt, water and proteins

5. Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation

6. Immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the activity of the immune system

Treatment may fail in severe cases of lupus. Dialysis or kidney transplant is the last resort in such cases. Latest developments in the treatment procedures have brought in slight relief for lupus patients. Diet is not playing an important role in preventing this disease. The possible precaution will be to reduce the intake of sodium and salt. Researchers have learned a lot about kidney disease in the recent years. Clinical trials are research studies involving people. Researchers include clinical trials to look at various aspects of kidney disease.  The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) sponsors several programs to better understand kidney diseases with special reference to lupus nephritis. The National Institutes of Health conducts clinical trials and they are available at this NIH site.

Author Bio: I am Ronnie Custer from Manchester in the UK, and I concentrate on writing both academic and non-academic cases for the past several years which in actual fact assisted me to gain knowledge a great deal in writing grading assignments for all sorts of students. So far, as a result of my vast experience in writing industry, I have worked with different professionals and at custom essay writing service. As most of the academic students prefer on buying academic papers, I did my best help. And, I currently work more for non-academic works like article writing for blogs and word press.



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A book for every library, “The Lupus Encyclopedia”

The Lupus EncyclopediaI received “The Lupus Encyclopedia” for review and was initially a bit overwhelmed by it’s length. But as I turned page after page, I was pleased to read a very well-written and comprehensive book about a very complex topic and any preconceived notion that this was the lupus version of “War and Peace” because of it’s 800-page length, was set aside. “The Lupus Encyclopedia” is carefully-researched, easily-understood and comprehensive book. It is as it claims, an ENCYLCOPEDIA.

In very logical fashion and always with assertions and explanations backed up with facts, Dr. Thomas addresses the very complex topic of lupus and autoimmunity and succeeds, in stellar fashion, in making it understandable. There have been other books written that focus on lupus, but this was more thorough coverage of lupus and discussion of several other major autoimmune diseases. Because autoimmunity is so complex and Dr. Thomas explains it so well, his grade ought to be an A+.

After explaining the structure of the book and suggesting ways to use use it, he begins discussion with an explanation of how lupus received it’s name and proceeds with a chapter on diagnostic tests for lupus. Every topic that you could conceivably have a question about, is covered and indexed well so you can find everything easily.

In reviewing this book, I found that ‘all things lupus’ can fit between the front and back covers of one book: “The Lupus Encyclopedia.” Dr. Thomas has a gift for making the difficult to understand-undestandable. But, there are many areas of lupus and autoimmunity research that aren’t understood; in those areas he does not pretend to know the answers.

There is much discussion of the role of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in the treatment of lupus. He surely did his homework, covering everything lupus.

He gives caregivers advice, talks about how patients can talk to their physicians, gives resources for patients who need assistance, sometimes financial. Dr. Thomas doesn’t just list questions patients ought to ask their doctors, he gives the ‘whys,’ they should ask them and discusses how important it is that to establish a trusting relationship with your physician. He discusses the symptoms patients might look for and how you might monitor them at home. He gives patients suggestions about empowering themselves, how to critically think for themselves; without being their own doctors. Caregivers can learn a lot from this  chapter on “Practical Matters.” If you could can have only have one book in your library about lupus,  “The Lupus Encyclopedia” might well be it.

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How can I be affected by lupus?

Because all immune activity is so varied and each individual's immune response is just that-SO INDIVIDUAL, responses to lupus may be so varied. Some people have activity and flares of this illness often or all the time while others rarely have flares. Often there is an identifiable trigger. In my case it's stress and I notice a direct correlation between those horribly achy joints, and stress. This video tells how various people are affected and the differences they may have in symptoms and triggers-and how their attitude makes a difference in their coping with this illness

About Lupus

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Vanessa’s Journey with Lupus Nephritis

By Vanessa Rios

At the age of 14 I began dealing with a new complication of SLE and that is Nephritis. Lupus Nephritis is a Kidney disorder and it affects 3 out of 10,000 people; however, in children with SLE the statistics go up to 50%. What happens is that the Lupus begins to attack healthy kidney tissue causing inflammation of the kidney. When this happens protein begins to pass through the kidney tissue and cause scarring. Severe scarring of the kidneys causes them to eventually shut down.

While this is happening however, there are no real symptoms. You don’t feel sick at all, there are no warning signs; I didn’t feel anything I felt great. (When and if this continues untreated some people may develop high blood pressure or swelling in various parts of the body). I had a really good doctor and she was thorough; she took nothing for granted, and she was able to see the spilling of protein in my urine.

I had my first Kidney biopsy at the age of 14. In fact, the Nephrologist who did my first kidney examination and biopsy is still my doctor today. He is an awesome doctor, who genuinely cares about his patients; he’s like part of my family.

The biopsy came up positive for active Lupus Nephritis and again I was given steroid therapy to quickly bring the Lupus under control. I thought, here we go again, something else, I’m so tired of this already, but I also braced myself for the fight.


First a regular urinalysis is done monthly, if any of those results return with elevated protein levels and or are positive for blood  most doctors go on to a second course of testing to rule out nephritis.  The test physicians use in diagnosing and catching the onset of nephritis in its earlier stages is by having the patient submit a 24 hour Urine Culture. This is done by having the patient collect all the urine within a day, so the first one (early morning urine) is let go and then the second catch until the first of the next morning is collected in a sterile dark colored container which is usually given by the hospital lab.  This is then sent to the lab and tests for protein levels and or blood are done on the sample.


When and if there are signs of Nephritis the first thing most Rheumatologist and Nephrologist would suggest is to reverse the inflammation and active Lupus quickly, hence Prednisone (corticosteroids) will be prescribed as it has the quickest reaction time.  In many cases this is enough to heal the kidney and keep the Lupus under control.  However, remember corticosteroids can only be used for short periods of time.  So while this may be effective in the short-term if the nephritis keeps coming back other avenue may need to be explored.

Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) a type of cytotoxic medication used for various types of cancers and also considered an immunosuppressant can also be used to treat Lupus Nephritis as it treats the overactive immune system causing damage to health kidney tissue.  Unfortunately, like in the case of most cytotoxic drugs, it harms healthy cells as well and can cause the patient to experience similar side effects such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and or hair loss.

One of the new types of drugs targets certain blood cells found to be responsible for autoimmune responses and certain cancers; Rituxan (rituximab). Very similar to Cytoxan it is often used to treat various Cancers and subsequently shares many of the same side effects as well.

Those are a few of the most common treatments used to treat Nephritis; I however, lost the battle and therefore lost the function of my kidneys.  I also want to specify, though, that I was diagnosed with Lupus over two decades ago and that today is a new day.  Doctors are more aware of what to look for and how to treat it.  My best advice is to get educated and take control of your health.  Learn what’s out there and available to you; what works wonders for some may not work for you so also be careful of those that would try to fit you in a box.

Follow me and read my story at:

Pleas join me in thanking Vanessa for an informative post about Lupus Nephritis and telling her story. Did it ‘wow’ you like it ‘wowed’ me?

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Hazards of immobility

The past few days, my knee has been swollen and warm and VERY difficult to walk on. I contacted the Dr. office on Friday and we agreed to wait out the weekend with strict bedrest, ice, elevate; you know the drill. So, here I’m bedbound on a beautiful Saturday with no clouds in the sky.

This immobility not only drives me stir crazy psychologically; but immobility brings its own physical problems.  The sheer lack of exercise does not sit well with ALL parts of the body. It doesn’t take long before muscles begin to lose their tone and atrophy a little: I’m sure you’ve noticed this when you’re sidelined with the flu for a few days!

In just TWO hours, our skin can develop a bedsore. Another ‘hazard of immobility’ is weight gain, and then the difficulty that ensues when trying to take it off. With weight gain, come other problems, like heart and blood pressure problems and for those of you with arthritic joints or joint replacements, every pound of extra weight makes a difference.

Blood clots can result, lungs not expanding fully can develop bronchitis or pneumonia. So what can we do?

First, lets talk about toning muscles when you have to be bed bound. Things that most people have at home help out. Don’t just lift that glass of water once in a while to get a sip; lift it and move the glass around, first with one hand and then the other, giving both arms a workout.

You can exercise your legs, by tightening your thighs 10 times one hour and then the next hour, pushing your knees into the bed while tightening your thighs 10 times the next hour. That is assuming, you’re not dealing with a ‘bum’ knee!

As far as bedsores go, it is wise from many standpoints to drink a good amount of water. Not just coffee and tea, as both are diuretics, but free water. The Lake Michigan tap water variety suits my tastes! Water keeps the skin elastic, hydrated and hydrated skin is less likely to develop bedsores. Lotion on that skin is also helpful, but one MUST drink liquids.

I mentioned that blood clots can form; this is real. Ever have surgery for just one hour and you woke up with those ‘things’ wrapped around your legs that compress every 5-10 seconds? They’re to prevent blood clots when you are completely motionless in surgery.

In bed you can work to prevent clots by once an hour pumping your ankles to your nose and down towards your toes; doing this 10 times an hour is all you should need.

Yes, you can develop problems with your lungs when you’re in bed. Again, once every hour take 10 deep breaths and then cough. This expands your lungs and prevents the accumulation of any kind of phlegm which can result in bronchitis or pneumonia.

There’s not a lot you can do about weight loss while bed bound; this is where strong self-discipline comes in.  You husband/wife is so nice to cook dinner; think about it. do you REALLY need that second helping of mashed potatoes? Couldn’t it be tomorrow’s potato pancakes or leftovers!

About the exercises? When you turn out the lights after an eternity of bedrest, turn the exercise light off, too!

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