Posted 8/13/2009 9:26 PM (GMT -6)
Yes it can be, you need to find out if the doc checked it out. It can be due to something called reynauds, though my son got it due to low blood pressure and poor circulation when he was young. She may also have a form of connective tissue disease, which is sort of a broad diagnosis.
Doctors don't really know why some people's immune systems go whacko and they get autoimmune diseases like lupus and connective tissue disease, and some doctors believe that the various autoimmune diseases are simply different expressions of the same problems. People with one autoimmune disease may get others. Most doctors agree it is a hereditary condition in many cases, but things like disease and exposure to chemicals may trigger it to become active or worse. Some research is being done to explore the use of special antibiotics and other meds.
There are three things that make plaquenil a great med:
1. It has an immunosuppressant component-- it calms the immune system
2. It has an antibiotic/antimicrobial component--that is how it is effective against malaria
3. It is a TNF (tumor necrosis factor) inhibitor--TNF is the stuff that tends to cause cancer
Oh and 4, it is easily tolerated by most people and usually doesn't cause adverse side effects like prednisione and other meds
I take plaquenil and also get prednisone ( a steroid) in pills when things get bad, or I may get shots in my joints or muscle of steroids, though I prefer the pills. The pills must be taken on a strict schedule to avoid possibly dangerous consequences. Generally, you start at the maximum dose, then "taper" down taking less pills every week, or few days, however the prescription is written, until you are down to taking one or even a half a pill a day, then none. If I get worse, Rituxin will be the next thing they wll try, if I can handle it.
In my experience, you may get a bunch of steroids in the beginning until the plaquenil starts working (it takes months to a year to fully work) but then once the doctors get the disease under control you may get them periodically throughout the year. Each year I seem to need more steroids than the last and I've accumulated more annoying health issues.
Proper diet and avoidance of places with lots of sick people (kids can carry lots of infection) are important to stay healthy. Through time, usually one finds out that certain foods and activities are best avoided. However, life needs to be lived and we can't avoid everything.
The best thing is to use common sense. Keeping things clean, hand washing, and taking care to keep germs down is the best thing you can do for someone with autoimmune disease aside from being a good friend. I stay in alot and don't go out a whole lot, and my friends just understand that. But I do go out regularly, I try to be careful.
Ills--Sjogrens-Lupus cond., AI polygland. dysfunction 2, hyper/hypopigment, scoliosis,kyphosis,stenosis, deg.,O.A.,spine surgeries, salivary/lymphectomies, NASH, COPD, RLS, UT/GI bleeds, hystero, brain/nerve damage,TB
Meds--INH,Plaquenil, Evoxac, Metformin, Synthroid, HCTZ, HRT and Lidocaine patchs, Voltaren gel, Klonopin, Vicodin, Restasis, Albuterol, steroids