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Immune-Suppression

Virus in blood – Scanning Electron Microscopy stylised

Finally, the combination of methotrexate, prednisone and Plaquenil™ had been titrated for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and worked ‘like a charm.’ But, after about 8 consecutive months on this ‘cocktail,’ I developed pneumonia. Strange thing; I had also been on these same meds a year ago, when another type of pneumonia was diagnosed.

In both peumonias, the ‘culprit’ was determined to be methotrexate. Methotrexate causes pneumonia? Not directly but when the immune system is suppressed by methotrexate, the body is susceptible to other germs. Not only is this true of methotrexate, but of prednisone, Humira™, Rituxan™ and other medications used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. This supression of the immune system: immune-suppression.

These meds really stop inflammation, but at an expense. That expense? They can leave your immune system unable to mount a defense against foreign invaders. That’s why you see this admonishment in advertisements for the above meds: “make sure that you tell your doctor about any infections you have and avoid going to large public places.” My solution: have an intimate dinner at home and invite a few friends-who don’t have colds! Continue reading

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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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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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Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms? Make Sure You Take NSAIDs with food!

Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you know what it’s like to wake up to stiff, achy joints. You’ll also know that NSAIDs are among the medications used to treat RA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis, is a common condition affecting the joints. I’ve had people come up to me asking for advice about their RA meds. Some tell me that the meds cause stomach pain, and they’re wondering what to do about it.Well, first things first! Let’s talk about RA and its symptoms.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and its Symptoms

There are many forms of arthritis and RA is among the most common. It presents as swelling in the joints of the fingers, hands, feet and knees. IN some cases, it can cause symptoms that affect other parts of the body.

The most common symptoms of RA include:

  • Tender, swollen, painful joints
  • Joint stiffness, which is especially felt upon waking up or after periods of no activity
  • Joint redness and warmth
  • Limited movement in affected joints
  • Limping and deformities
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Anemia and weight loss

Most of these symptoms start out as mild. Joint symptoms usually happen in smaller joints first, like those in your fingers. As the condition progresses, it can affect larger joints like the knee joint.

Medications and Tips to take them

There are various medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. These include NSAIDs, steroids, and drugs called DMARDs. Most patients are prescribed with NSAIDs for the pain, along with another medication to stop the disease from getting worse.

NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can help lessen the swelling and stiffness. They can also effectively block the pain. Ibuprofen (check and compare Ibuprofen price and read about risks when using ibuprofen) and naproxen (check and compare naproxen prices) are over-the-counter NSAIDs that can be useful. Other stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription.

Like many medications, NSAIDs have some adverse effects. One of the most common is causing an upset stomach. This can happen especially if you take your medication on an empty stomach. Long-term use may also cause bleeding in the stomach lining. This is why it’s important to know how to take NSAIDs correctly.

Check out MeddySaid’s arthritis pain section to see which medications suit your profile and preferences. You can also read my post about Best Time To Take Medicines – Everything You Need to Know.

Useful Tips for Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Take your dose with food. Never take a NSAID on an empty stomach, as this can cause ulcers and bleeding.
  • Use the lowest possible dose. Lower doses of a medication are less likely to cause stomach upset and other risks.
  • Do not take a NSAID for the long-term. Though an NSAID can greatly help manage your Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms, it’s best to only take them during a flare-up. There are other medications that can help treat RA that is much safer in the long term.
  • Always check with your doctor or pharmacist when taking NSAIDs along with other medicines. Don’t take NSAIDs with blood-thinning medications like warfarin and clopidogrel. Be careful as well if you’re taking it with aspirin.
  • Don’t take NSAIDs if you have gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, GERD, ulcers and gastritis. Talk to your doctor for help.

NSAIDs are very effective for managing pain, swelling and other symptoms. Though they do have their own risks, they can work well to bring relief from pain. Follow the tips above and you’ll have lesser chances of horrid side effects!

About MeddySaid
MeddySaid’s team is passionate about helping you choose the right product for your health. MeddySaid was created by experienced clinical pharmacists and specialists dedicated to delivering accurate, trusted, up-to-date health and medical information. MeddySaid’s simple-to-use, the problem-solving platform helps you make the right product decision, at the best price, for yourself and your loved ones.

#Arthritis Pain #Body Pain #Knee Pain #Pain #Rheumatoid Arthritis #Rheumatoid Arthritis Definition #Rheumatoid Arthritis Hands# Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications #Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms #Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment #Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis #Symptoms Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

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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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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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