question about the immune system

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alexb73
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 9/21/2008 8:04 PM (GMT -7)   
lupus is an auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks itself. Does that mean the stronger ones immune system is the stronger the auto-immune process is?

if so do anti-oxidants have a negative affect on people with lupus and other auto-immune dysfunctions?

the reason i ask this is about 6 months ago i was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency and started taking shots of growth hormone. I had long suspected what was affecting my body was some sort of auto-immune process(not necessarily lupus) . Well ever since i've started taking the shots of growth hormone i have noticed that my symptoms that i have long believed to be auto-immune have really started to speed up and intensify . Now...i read about GH and one of the things it does according to the medicines literature is "enhance the immune system".

is it possible i am just making my immune system stronger to attack itself?

thanks for reading

Bsime
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Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1298
   Posted 9/21/2008 9:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I have never read any such theory.  Not sure if there is a way to measure the strength of an immune system.
 
The hormones you took could have been a trigger.  Some cases of AI disease have an earlier trigger and your immune system sits on the brink until pushed over by another trigger.  That trigger could have been your hormone treatments.
 
99% of us don't know what our trigger is let alone the actual cause.  We often think we know it but it is only a guess in most cases.
 
Most knowledgeable people will tell you NOT to strengthen your immune system if you have an AI disease.
 
Bill
Mixed connective tissue disease (systemic lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis), Raynauds phenomena, Hypertension, Barrett's esophagus.
 
Meds: prednisone 5mg, 50mg imuran, Lotrel 40/5mg, maxide 37.5/25mg, folic acid, potassium, aciphex 20mg, multi vitamins.
 
Maintain your optimism and you can beat the odds.
 
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  Helen Keller
 
 


alexb73
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 9/21/2008 9:53 PM (GMT -7)   
thanks for the response

that's what i'm wondering. Yes while there is no way to measure the strength of anyones immune system...i'm wondering if a stronger immune system makes for a stronger AI response.

my AI symptoms started long before my gh treatments but since the treatments they have really sped up so in that sense yeah it's been a trigger


this may be a silly question...do AI patients try to avoid taking anti-oxidants or vitamins or mineral supplements that claim to boost the immune system?

Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7019
   Posted 9/21/2008 10:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, we are usually advised by our doctors not to take supplements/herbs/foods that boost the immune system.

If we do take these, it is imperative that we keep all our doctors informed about *everything* we are taking...

Not only are our immune systems unreliable due to our illness, but our doctors are carefully prescribing our medications and closely watching our lab work... putting extra variables into the mix is a big No-NO.

Cheers,

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome, SAD, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Piroxicam, Plaquenil, Prednisone(was 15mg, now 8mg), Cellcept, Xanax, Trazodone, Boniva(3mth shot), Wellbrutrin SR, Valtrex
Links: DIAGNOSING LUPUS (4 of 11), LUPUS INFORMATION, LUPUS RESOURCES, Donate to HealingWell, Drug Interactions


PattyLatty
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Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/21/2008 10:21 PM (GMT -7)   
That's a question I entrusted to my rheumatologist. A close friend is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and she was urging me to take lots of supplements but before I would agree I talked to my rheumy about them. Other than the fact that they had no FDA approval, one of her main concerns was that whatever was in them (and all the ingredients are not always listed in some supplements) might interfere with the meds I'm taking. She told me NOT to take anything that claims to boost the immune system. Many of the meds we take, such as prednione, cellcept, and others, suppress the immune system.

So you're right. We want our immune system to be suppressed so that it won't attack our body.
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


alexb73
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 9/21/2008 11:56 PM (GMT -7)   
this is some good info thanks guys


for those on immunosuppresants do you have to do or take anything to prevent colds, infection etc?

and does your body still naturally heal itself when you are on immunosuppresants?

mygrljes
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 9/22/2008 4:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Alex,

I do everything I can think of to avoid getting sick. I get a flu shot every year, which is recommended by our rheumies, I avoid sick people, I wash my hands constantly...after bathroom, after cleaning the house, before, during, and after cooking, and especially after being in a grocery store. I also avoid using public restrooms as much as possible. After taking all that care, I have a cold right now, and it feels more like the flu as far as how low my energy level is right now. At this point, getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of water is the best thing I can do for myself.
Robin
 
dix: lupus sle Jan. '99, hypo-thyroid Mar. '06
rx: pred. 5mg/day, plaquenil 200mg/day, levothyroxine .112mg/day, premarin .45mg/day, methotrexate 7.5mg/week, folic acid 1mg/day
 
 
Also a wife and mother of three.


sjkly
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 9/22/2008 4:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Unfortunately there is not much you can take to prevent colds and bacterial infections. Wash your hands frequently, avoid spending a lot of time with people who are obviously sick and go to your doctor immediately if you do have signs of an infection. Generally they won't go away on their own.

Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7019
   Posted 9/22/2008 5:46 AM (GMT -7)   
From reading & moderating here for over 3 years now, I can authoritatively say....

some of us become ill easily, some do not! :-)

For me, I tend not to be around small children, and don't hang around ill adults if I can help it...don't get a flu shot...and I haven't been ill since being dx w/Lupus in 2000.

However, others seem to get everything that passes by - many of us have children still in grade school, or live with people who bring illnesses home.

Most of us have been warned by our doctors to be as prudently cautious as possible - since we usually take immunosuppressants, it just makes sense.

Cheers,

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome, SAD, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Piroxicam, Plaquenil, Prednisone(was 15mg, now 8mg), Cellcept, Xanax, Trazodone, Boniva(3mth shot), Wellbrutrin SR, Valtrex
Links: DIAGNOSING LUPUS (4 of 11), LUPUS INFORMATION, LUPUS RESOURCES, Donate to HealingWell, Drug Interactions


Tá mé breá
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 140
   Posted 9/22/2008 3:07 PM (GMT -7)   
well, I was wondering about this myself. my internist put me on supplements to boost my immune system then prednisone to suppress it, but wanted me to stay on the supplements. I really need her to refer me to the Rheumy! ~confusion~
43 yr old mother of 6 grandmother of 1 going on 2!
dx 2006 - autoimmune issues, arthritis, 01/2008 - myelofibrosis. as of 08/08 testing continues signs point to Lupus. (family history - mother RA/Lupus).

symptoms - malar rash, mouth soars (in and out), joint pain, extreme fatigue, migraines, heart pounding on light activity.

rx-cymbalta, propranolol, clonazapam, prednisone, progesterone cream, supplements - b6, b12, flaxseed oil, c.

"All we have to decide, is what to do with the time we are given" ~ Gandalf


PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/22/2008 3:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Spinningmawmaw, yes you do! Good for you for taking control of your health.
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Tá mé breá
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 140
   Posted 9/22/2008 5:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks PattyLatty, its just so frustrating. if you get pushy with most Drs they get irritated, but I just can't sit there and have them tell me what I know is not right. I've never been good at keeping my mouth shut when I know I'm right. Got me into trouble when I was working too :)
43 yr old mother of 6 grandmother of 1 going on 2!
dx 2006 - autoimmune issues, arthritis, 01/2008 - myelofibrosis. as of 08/08 testing continues signs point to Lupus. (family history - mother RA/Lupus).

symptoms - malar rash, mouth soars (in and out), joint pain, extreme fatigue, migraines, heart pounding on light activity.

rx-cymbalta, propranolol, clonazapam, prednisone, progesterone cream, supplements - b6, b12, flaxseed oil, c.

"All we have to decide, is what to do with the time we are given" ~ Gandalf


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 9/22/2008 9:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Mawmaw . . .

I finally had to side-step my primary care doctor and get a rheumy on my own. When the rheumy asked me who referred me, I told him "The Lupus Foundation". He was proud . . . and accepted me as a patient!! HA!

My primary care doc was irritated . . . but I finally started getting proper care. Taaaaa daaaaa!!!!

There is a link in my signature to find your local Lupus Chapter. Once you do that, they can give you a list of Rheumies in your area who are knowledgeable about lupus. I would get a referral from them. Better yet . . . attend your nearest Lupus Foundation Support Group meeting and ask the other members who they use. That's how I found a great doc.

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Inflammatory Arthritis, Diverticulosis, (recent dx - Sjogrens, Crohn’s 4/08)

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


alexb73
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 9/23/2008 2:09 AM (GMT -7)   
for those on immunosuppresants i'm curious about how the body goes about healing itself. do you find that the body naturally healing itself is affected in a big way? Whether it's a cold that stays longer than it should or say a physical injury like bruises or scrapes that don't heal .

mygrljes
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 9/23/2008 4:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Alex,

For me, colds last longer than most peoples do. Bruises will stick around for a couple of months, but cuts heal just fine. It all depends on the person, how suppressed their immune system is, and how well they take care of themselves when they do get sick or an get injury.
Robin
 
dix: lupus sle Jan. '99, hypo-thyroid Mar. '06
rx: pred. 5mg/day, plaquenil 200mg/day, levothyroxine .112mg/day, premarin .45mg/day, methotrexate 7.5mg/week, folic acid 1mg/day
 
 
Also a wife and mother of three.


PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/23/2008 8:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Maybe I'm just a big ol' baby but when I get sick I seem to fall harder than others in my family. Sunday I got hit all of a sudden with a stomach virus and the doctor told me yesterday to spend today in bed.

I can almost predict to the day when I'm going to get sick. I've been running full steam ahead because of the purchase of one home, sale of another, packing, renovating, etc. and on my best day I can't run and not take a break. This has been going on since the end of July. Now that we're just days away from the moving van arriving to move us, yep, I could have put this on my calendar.

Is it my immune system that makes me sick? Is it the immunosuppressants that make me more likely to get sick? Did not getting enough rest get me sick? Or is it all of the above? I don't know. I'm just not sure how I'm going to make it through this week and get everything packed up. I'm about 1/3 of the way there and today sitting up and typing this post is about all the energy I have.

Maybe someone can tie this to my immune system, but what I do know is that that my body needs rest (more than the average Joe) like a car needs fuel. If I don't get enough rest, the engine breaks down.
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 9/23/2008 8:03 AM (GMT -7)   
HI Alexb,
 
I'm one of those people on immune suppressants that NEVER gets sick.  It seems as though the meds have actually made my immune system work perfectly.  I still have my issues with lupus, etc, but when it comes to getting sick, infections, etc, I just don't get them!  In this sense, I'm actually the healthiest person in my family.  Hubby is sick with colds and crap all the time, same with my nephew, sister, etc.  I feel like Wonderwoman!!  It's great! 
 
Lupus and immune suppressants will lower our white blood cell count.  Which puts us at a greater risk of getting sick or getting an infection.  So we just have to be careful and proactive in prevention.
 
There are a lot of things that will boost our immune system, which we don't want to happen.  One major thing is Chiropractic adjustments.  If you ever wonder if that is an effective treatment, I can tell you that whenever I get a neck or back adjustment, my lupus flares up something fierce.  Chiropractic is a VERY effective treatment, and not something anyone with lupus should be receiving.  My uncle is a chiropractor, and he won't adjust me!!! 
 
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck) . Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, Cozaar, Tramacet, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus


alexb73
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 9/24/2008 9:03 PM (GMT -7)   
what about alchohol and the immune system

i've found that during consumption of alchohol the immune system may suppress a little (depending on how much alchohol is consumed)

but then the day after if a lot of alchohol is consumed the immune system kicks into overdrive

how does alchohol affect everyone? and if you are on immunosuppresants are you aloud to drink it?

puccini914
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 9/25/2008 5:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I have two small children, 1 and 6 and they pick up colds wherever we go. I was on Imuran for about three months and it didn't seem to help much so it was stopped. When my kids get sick and my DH gets it too, I seem to be the least affected. Even though I'm the one covered in sick baby goo all day, I get the mildest symptoms. I guess that's one perk of an overactive immune sys. The one caution I must stress about immunosuppressents is if you have young children, make sure teir doctor knows you are immune suppressed. Special caution will have to be taken with some of the children's vaccines. I ended up on a course of anti-virals because the baby got a live chicken pox vaccine. Also, my pediatrician will always put us directly into an exam room so as to not expose me to everything in the waiting room. I may not be on immune suppressents anymore, but I still take that extra precaution because you never know how our crazy immune systems will react to certain bacteria or viruses.

I read somewhere that the parvovirus can actually be an AI trigger. I used to work as vet tech and ran an animal shelter in FL, I was exposed to parvo more times then I could ever count. Not sure if that's what triggered my AI into activity or not. My real problems began after my first born and then really increased at a scary pace after my second child was born.

I used to love wine with dinner or socializing with friends, but I find that I just can't drink anymore because some of my meds give me such dry mouth that I just can't stand the dehydrating effect. One glass and I'm drinking gallons of water the rest of the night. On Imuran I was told to limit alcohol to one drink a month because of the strain the drug puts on the liver. I had to have my liver enzymes checked on a regular basis, so I would probably say alcohol is out.

By the way, Welcome Alex!!!! This site is a great support and comfort.

Jennifer

PCP DX Lupus and Fibro, Taking plaquenil, Cymbalta, Flexeril,Claritin, Zantac,Ambien,vitamin B-12, multi- vitamin, Darvocet.  Homeschooling Mom of 2 boys 1 and 6.  Symptoms: Fatigue, joint pain, heat/sun sensitivity, mouth and nose sores, malar rash, migranes, awful hives, positive ANA, and RF.

 

 

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