Your Stories Shared Here

Standard

Hey everyone!

I decided to make this post so you all could share your stories of your journey with these autoimmune diseases. I honestly think that by sharing, it helps us in the day to day, knowing there are others that are dealing with the same issues.  So, please share your story by commenting on this post. I think it will help our community bonding and each of us personally. Thanks! ~Jen

Recent Lupus News 10.06.2010

Standard

Hey everyone! I am taking the easy way out tonight and posting an article I found on medicalnewstoday.com. Hope you enjoy the article and tomorrow I hope to post a new post. Thanks and enjoy!

Lupus Research Investigator Says Breakthrough Holds Potential For New Treatment To Quiet Lupus

   

 

   

 

   

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have identified a new type of cell in mice that dampens the immune system and protects the animal’s own cells from immune system attack.

This “suppressor” cell reduces the production of harmful antibodies that can drive lupus and other autoimmune diseases in which the immune system mistakenly turns on otherwise healthy organs and tissues.

The discovery, published in a recent issue of Nature (H Kim, et al.; Vol 467 in Letters), resulted from Lupus Research Institute funding to Harvey Cantor, MD, and colleagues on a separate immune system topic.

Now the discovery will be used to explore therapies that might control the hyperactive immune system in lupus. “These CD8+ T suppressor cells represent a potential new lever for lowering the strength of the immune response in autoimmune diseases such as lupus,” Dr. Cantor said.

Staying Open to Discovery

Until now, scientists searching for cells involved in quieting the immune system response had focused their hunt on “regulatory CD4+ T cells” – also known as CD4+ Treg. Some of these cells have been shown to prevent harmful inflammatory diseases and infections.

In the Nature study, Harvey Cantor, MD, and his team reported that not just CD4+T cells but CD8+ T cells as well include a subset that helps dampen the immune response. Instead of reducing inflammation like their CD4 cousins, the CD8+ T regulatory cells ensure that the immune system doesn’t produce antibodies that attack normal cells.

Lead author Hye-Jung Kim and colleagues made the discovery as they were winding up unrelated LRI-funded work into the role in autoimmunity of a protein found inside immune cells called osteopontin.

“Our LRI funds allowed us to carry out the early experiments that led to the definition of the CD8 suppressor cells.” – Dr. Cantor.

“We were testing osteopontin’s activity against a population of cells known as follicular T helper cells,” explained Dr. Cantor. “We noted that the cells were responsive to osteopontin but also that they expressed what we knew to be the target of suppressor CD8+ T cells.”

As next steps, Dr. Cantor and his team will investigate whether defective CD8+ T suppressor cells actually could be a cause of lupus and might serve as a powerful drug target for quieting the immune system response in autoimmunity.

About Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosis is a chronic complex and potentially fatal autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5-million Americans, mostly young women in their child-bearing years. Lupus causes the immune system to become hyperactive, forming antibodies that attack and damage the body’s own tissues and vital organs including the heart, brain, kidneys and lungs. Lupus is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke among young women. As yet, there is no known cause or cure but the progress of recent discoveries is highly promising.

Source:
Liane Stegmaier
Lupus Research Institute

Treatments for Lupus

Standard

This information is from the Lupus Cleveland Website. It shows the types of things used to treat Lupus and all the different manifestations of the disease. It is well written and easy to read. If you would like to understand Lupus better, this is a good article to read. Enjoy!

TREATMENT

Currently, there is no cure for lupus; however, early diagnosis and proper medical treatment can significantly help to control the disease. Symptoms often vary from one individual to another and treatment is based on specific indications in each person. Still, a few general guidelines can be listed:

  1. Regular rest is important when the disease is active. When the disease is in remission, increased physical activity is encouraged to increase joint flexibility and muscle strength.
  2. For the individual who is photosensitive, the regular use of sunscreens will help prevent rashes and irritations. For those who develop rashes, treatment with cortisone creams is very helpful.
  3. Achy joints (arthralgia) and arthritis generally respond to aspirin or aspirin-like drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
  4. The anti-malarial drug hydroxcholorquin (Plaquenil) is often prescribed for more severe joint or skin involvement.
  5. Cortisone drugs (the most commonly prescribed is Prednisone) are often used for more severe organ involvement. Not everyone with SLE needs cortisone. Cortisone, particularly in higher doses, has possible hazardous side effects.
  6. If you have a fever (over 100 degrees F), call your doctor.
  7. Go to your doctor for regular checkups. Regular checkups usually include blood and urine tests.
  8. When in doubt, ask. Call a doctor.

Treatment plans should meet the individual patient’s needs and may change over time. To develop a treatment plan, the doctor tries to:

  • Prevent flares
  • Treat flares when they do occur
  • Minimize complications

The doctor and patient should reevaluate the plan regularly to ensure that it is as effective as possible.

Several types of drugs are used to treat lupus. For people with joint pain, fever, and swelling, drugs that decrease inflammation, referred to as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are often used.

While some NSAIDs are available over the counter, a doctor’s prescription is necessary for others.

Common side effects of NSAIDs include stomach upset, heartburn, diarrhea, and fluid retention.

Some lupus patients also develop liver and kidney inflammation while taking NSAIDs. It is especially important to stay in close contact with the doctor while taking NSAIDs.
Antimalarials are another type of drug commonly used to treat lupus. These drugs were originally used to treat malaria, but they are also useful in treating lupus.
Antimalarials may be used alone or in combination with other drugs to treat fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and inflammation of the lungs. Continuous treatment with anti-malarials may prevent flares from recurring.

Side effects of antimalarials may include stomach upset and, very rarely, damage to the retina of the eye.

The most common treatment for lupus is corticoid steroid hormones. Corticoid steroids are related to cortisol, a natural anti-inflammatory hormone. They hold back inflammation very quickly.

Corticoid steroids can be given orally, in creams applied to the skin, or by injection. Since they are potent drugs, the doctor will use the lowest dose with the greatest benefit.

Short-term side effects of corticoid steroids include swelling, increased appetite, weight gain, and emotional ups and downs. These side effects usually stop when the drug is stopped.

It can be dangerous to stop taking corticoid steroids suddenly, so it is very important that a doctor recommend changes for the corticoid steroid dose.
Sometimes doctors give very large amounts of corticoid steroid for a short time by vein. With this treatment, typical side effects are less likely and slow withdrawal is not necessary.

Long-term side effects of corticoid steroids can include stretch marks, excessive hair growth, weakened or damaged bones, high blood pressure, damage to the arteries, high blood sugar, infections, and cataracts.

Typically, the higher the dose of corticoid steroids, the more severe the side effects are. The longer corticoid steroids are taken, the greater the risk of side effects becomes.
People with lupus who use corticoid steroids should talk to their doctors about taking supplemental calcium and Vitamin D. These supplements reduce the risk of fragile bones called osteoporosis.
For patients whose kidneys or central nervous systems are affected by lupus, a type of drug called an immunosuppressive may be used. Immunosuppressive hold the immune system back by blocking the production of some immune cells.

Immunosuppressive may be given orally or by IV.

Side effects of immunosuppressive may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, bladder problems, decreased fertility, and increased risk of cancer and infection. The longer the treatment with immunosuppressive, the higher the risk of side effects becomes.

Since some treatments may cause harmful side effects, it is important to tell the doctor about any side effects right away. It is also important NOT to stop or change treatment without asking the doctor first.

How Lupus is Diagnosed

Standard

 

Lupus is hard to diagnose, but in this article, you can find the information that helps doctors to give a definitive diagnosis.

This information was obtained from the Lupus Foundation of America’s web site. You can visit it at www.lupus.org for more information. Thanks!

How is Lupus Diagnosed

In lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, which is the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs (“foreign invaders,” like the flu). Normally our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from foreign invaders. When you have lupus, your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues, so autoantibodies (auto means self and anti means against: “against self”) are made that damage and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.

What Is My Doctor Looking For?

A doctor who is considering the possibility of lupus will look for signs of inflammation. The signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function at a particular place in the body. Inflammation can occur on the inside of your body (your kidneys or heart, for example), on the outside (your skin), or both.

However, there are many challenges in confirming that a person has lupus and not some other disease. Lupus is known as “the great imitator,” because its symptoms mimic many other illnesses. Also, lupus symptoms can be unclear, can come and go, and can change. Therefore, a lupus diagnosis is made by a careful review of:

  • your current symptoms
  • your laboratory test results
  • your medical history
  • the medical history of your close family members (grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins)

All of this information may be necessary for a doctor to make a diagnosis of lupus because, for a number of reasons, laboratory tests alone cannot give a definite “yes” or “no” answer.

  • No single laboratory test can determine whether a person has lupus.
  • Test results that suggest lupus can be due to other illnesses, or can even be seen in healthy people.
  • A test result may be positive one time and negative another time.
  • Different laboratories may produce different test results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a test for systemic lupus?
There is not a single diagnostic test for systemic lupus. A variety of laboratory tests are used to detect physical changes or conditions in your body that can occur with lupus. Each test result adds more information to the picture your doctor is forming of your illness.

What kind of doctor can diagnose systemic lupus?
If multiple criteria are present simultaneously, the diagnosis may be made by any physician (Family Practitioner, Internist, or Pediatrician). If however, as is often the case, symptoms develop gradually over time, the diagnosis may not be as obvious and consultation with a rheumatologist may be needed.

Where is the BEST place to go for diagnosis and treatment of lupus?
There is no one single recognized center of excellence for the treatment and diagnosis of lupus in the United States today. The Lupus Foundation of America has no mechanism by which it can rate either hospitals or physicians. The general recommendation is to find a physician that is affiliated with a medical school — a university hospital for example. These health care institutions may have faculty on staff who are involved in lupus research, and are generally the most up-to-date on the latest advances in diagnosis and treatment of lupus. These are generally regarded as very good places to go for the diagnosis and treatment of lupus. Certainly the health care institutions with established reputations fit this description.