Low Complements, What's that mean?

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keepnitreel
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 10/3/2007 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone, I haven't posted for a while but I have a couple of questions. I just got some of my labs back and my C3 and C4 are both really low. I haven't gotten my total complement levels back yet. I was reading on line that it suggests renal disease but my GFR has improved and there is no protein in my urine, unlike some of my other previous urine samples. What does this mean? I know I've entered into a flare and I have had low complements before, but I've been in much worse flares and my complements didn't fall. Can anyone give me some insight on this?

Also, does anyone know about or have tendon and ligament problems? I have pain in almost all my joints and it seems to be more ligament and tendon pain than bone pain. It almost seems as though with each flare my body is becoming more and more permanently damaged. I have problems with my hips, knees, elbows, and shoulders mostly. Of course I have problems with my hands but I'm not sure what kind of pain that is. Does anyone know if you can get permanent damage? My Dr's. seem to blow me off when I tell them about it.

Thanks for your help.
SLE (Lupus) Dx'd - Nov. 2005, Raynaurd's - Dx'd Nov. 2005, GERD - Dx'd 2006, Fibromyalgia - Dx'd 2005, PCOS - Dx'd Jan. 2007, Migraines - Dx'd 1995,
Optic Neuritis - Dx'd 1984,

Currently taking - Plaquenil 200mg, Prozac 20mg, Spirnolactone (Aldactone) 50mg, Vit. A

Occassionally take - 1/2 500mg Vicodin (2-3x/wk), Maxalt as needed for Migraines,
Clonazepam 1mg as needed for sleep and muscle pain,
Relafen 500mg as needed for pain, Pepsin for Gerd
Prednisone (for emergency use only)


Gidget^
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 10/3/2007 3:57 PM (GMT -7)   
keepnitreel,
I have had tendonitis and tenosynovitis off and on for about 7 years so I can sympathize with you. It is a horrible pain that when it hits about the only thing you can do is imobilize the joint and wait it out. When I've had severe pain in my shoulders my PCP has given me Toradol to take. I also get it in my fingers, wrists and elbows. You have to be very careful with Toradol because it can cause renal failure. They warn you to not take it more than 6 days in a row. Last month I had a VERY bad day with the tendonitis and I went in to the doctor. He gave me Loratab 10's and I was surprised that it actually took the edge off the pain. The other drug I noticed that helped was plaquenil but then again that might take weeks or months for you to get the full effect and you notice a difference. Also, my orthopedic surgeon switched me over to Clinoril (anti-inflammatory drug) because he said that helps with inflammation more than other drugs. Who knows if it does, but hey it's worth a try! I sympathize with you because that's what I've had to deal with a lot and it is so very painful.

As for your "compliment" tests. I don't know too much about them and I'm sure that there are a few on here that could give you their own personal experience with them; which is always helpful. I do have a link of a great site that explains blood tests and they give a pretty clear explanation of the test in easy to understand language. The site is Labtestsonline http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/complement_levels/test.html


Good luck and if you find anything that helps you with the tendonitis I would be thrilled to hear from you.

Post Edited By Moderator (Lynnwood) : 10/3/2007 6:23:20 PM (GMT-6)


Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7022
   Posted 10/3/2007 5:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Gidget^,

Can you please remove the long horizontal line from your signature? It is making the reading window too wide to display properly on most peoples computers.

Thanks

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, SAD, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Piroxicam, Plaquenil, Cellcept, Prednisone, Trazodone, Fosamax, Wellbrutrin SR, Valtrex
Links: DIAGNOSING LUPUS(4of11), LUPUS INFORMATION, LUPUS RESOURCES, Donate to HealingWell, Drug Interactions


Gidget^
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 10/3/2007 6:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm trying!  I've edited, re-edited and rebooted and I cannot get rid of that black line.  It doesn't show up in the CP where I edit my sig, so who knows where it's coming from.

Gidget^
 
Lupus 9/07, FMS 1995, RLS, Spinal Stenosis, Osteoarthritis,  Sinus Tach, PVC's', Kidney Stones, Cervical Cancer 9/06,
Parotid Neurofibroma 9/04
Toprol XL, Clinoril, Plaquenil, Zyrtec-D, Prozac, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 & 12, Zocor, Xanax, Loratab, Percoset, Toradol, Klonopin
__________________________________________________________________________________________

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.
 
 
 


cured4real?
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1944
   Posted 10/3/2007 6:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Gidget--
I thought that low complements means you are in a flare generally.  My rheumy looks at them like inflammatory markers.  I don't know that its specific for kidneys.  I could be totally wrong, but I think this is what my rheumy said.  Maybe someone else will post with more info.  My mind is a little cloudy now.  I hope you feel better soon.  I'm having a lot of joint and spine pain so I can sympathize.  My arthritis and degenerative joint disease is damaging, but the type of arthritis you get with lupus is not supposed to be.  My arthritis and djj are autoimmune in nature, but are likely secondary to another problem, probably endocrine or hypoxia.  Hopefully I will get those conditions treated soon.  Hope this helps
Love, Marji
--Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less in human beings of whom they know nothing.--Voltaire (1694-1778)
Ills--Sjogrens-Lupus-like AI Disease, Hashis, Vitiligo, spinal stenosis/fusion with plate, salivary/lymphectomies, Diabetes, NAFLD, COPD, RLS, neuropathy, trigonitis, hystero, diffuse brain atrophy
Meds--Plaquenil, Evoxac, Metformin, Synthroid, HCTZ, Estradiol patch, Prosed, Klonopin, Soma, Ultram, Vicodin, Restasis, Albuterol,steroid injections, Protopic & Triamcinolone Acetonide ointments


curlyhair
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 659
   Posted 10/3/2007 7:30 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi keepnitreel,

According to one of my lupus books, when a person experiences an immune system reaction it consumes complement components.Thats why C3 and C4 are low in people with active lupus.

Hope this helps,

Sandy


DX: Kidney Disease, (? Lupus Nephritis) 2002
DX: Raynaud's Phenomenon and Lupus (SLE & Class V Lupus Nephritis) 2005
DX: Anorexia and Hypokalemia 2006
 
meds: plaquenil, amiloride, klor-con


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 10/3/2007 7:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Reel,

I don't know how to add up the compliment vs. other blood work, but I think, like you said, several work together to know what is going on.

I'm wondering if any of your meds are anti-inflammatory besides the plaquenil. If not, I'm surprised that your doctor hasn't rx'd an anti-inflam . . . you really need it with the tendon/muscle issues you are having. How dare he ignore your pain . . . urgh!! I would call right back and ask for an appointment to address your pain. Maybe you are too humble about it. Try taking a supportive person with you (husband, sister, mother, friend) who will speak up for you if you can't do that. I write down everything I want to say and hand it to him, as I have such a hard time saying that I have pain.

I hope the others have some other ideas for you. Keep us posted.

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, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis

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


PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 10/3/2007 11:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Reel,

Low complement levels are indicative of active disease, or what we call flares. In the NIH website it's described as follows:

"A complement test may be used to monitor patients with an autoimmune disorder and to see if treatment for their condition is working. For example, patients with active lupus erythematosus may have lower-than-normal levels of the complement proteins C3 and C4."

As far as your ligaments and tendon problems, I have those as well. I'm so very tired that I'm going to copy an explanation rather than try to explain it myself. I'm sure you've heard that lupus can cause your immune system to attack the connective tissue in your body:


Connective Tissue

Connective tissue is a glue-like material or matrix that connects the cells that make up the body’s tissues. Connective tissue gives the body’s tissues and organs strength, form, and flexibility. Connective tissue also provides nutrients to tissue and aids in the special functions of certain tissues. For instance, connective tissue in joints gives them the ability to move. Connective tissue is composed of dozens of proteins and compounds containing various combinations of protein and glucose. Connective tissues' component proteins include collagens, elastins, proteoglycans, and glycoproteins. Various combinations of these proteins are found in different tissues. For instance the connective tissue in ligaments is primarily composed of elastin. Connective tissue is found in many different organs, including the skin, bones, joints, heart, blood vessels, lungs, eyes and ears.

"Autoimmune Connnective Tissue Disorders

The autoimmune connective tissue disorders include a number of specific conditions and overlap syndromes including:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus)...."

You described all of your problems and I'd like to comment on a big problem I see in your treatment and that is that you appear to have a very insensitive doctor. There are so many good rheumy's out there that I believe we should look and look until we find the very best doctor possible. It doesn't cost any more and why settle for second best. I'm so sorry you have a physician who doesn't listen to you. When I was dissatisfied with a rheumy, I asked my PCP for a referral to someone else. She was more than happy to accomodate me and now I have a doctor that is very good as well as very responsive to my questions and concerns.

Lots of luck. I'm glad you're here.

Pat
Lupus, Sjogren's, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 10/4/2007 4:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Pat . . . your last paragraph deserves a standing ovation!!! SO well put. Thank you dear sister. Bravo! Bravo! and the definition of connective tissue and AI attack was enlightening as well. I had things pictured a bit more simply in my brain . . . but I think that info actually helps me understand the fatigue as well. Thanks for your effort when you are feeling so punk yourself!!

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, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis

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


PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 10/4/2007 8:13 AM (GMT -7)   
tongue You're kind, Rosie, but haven't I heard you say the same thing more than once? tongue
Lupus, Sjogren's, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7022
   Posted 10/4/2007 9:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Gidget^,

What a bummer about your signature. Sometimes odd things creep in...you may have to completely delete the signature and re-enter it from scratch. Sorry -- we mod's have the ability to edit posts but not signatures, so I can't fix it for you or I would.

Rosie? Repeat herself? HA! Stay here long enough and we all repeat ourselves!

Sorry, I don't know much about tendinitis or complements, just reading & learning on this one.
Cheers,

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, SAD, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Piroxicam, Plaquenil, Cellcept, Prednisone, Trazodone, Fosamax, Wellbrutrin SR, Valtrex
Links: DIAGNOSING LUPUS(4of11), LUPUS INFORMATION, LUPUS RESOURCES, Donate to HealingWell, Drug Interactions


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 10/4/2007 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Pat . . . I feel it A LOT . . . but you said it SO WELL!!! LOL

In His Grip

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

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis

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

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