Lupus Patients Are At Increased Risk Of Flu Infection

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I have had the flu twice so far this season. It got me to thinking, is there a link or a reason why lupus patients get it worse than others? Why are we susceptible? Will I go into a flare (or prolong an existing one)? So, I dug around and found this article talking about lupus and the higher susceptability for the flu.

The reason I looked this up is that I am really struggling to be as “normal” as I can be but I feel so totally like c-rap. I almost went tot he ER the other day because of my swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, facial blushing, severe head congestion, and swollen sinuses. Let me add to that, my joints and body aches and pains and the inability to sleep from all of the above, and you get the drift. Why didn’t I go you ask? To be quite honest, whenever I go to the ER, I feel like they look at me and think, “Why is she wasting out time?”. I mean, for some reason, the severity of my symptoms alone should raise a red flag, but it doesn’t.

For some reason, they do not think lupus has anything to do with me being sick so instead of going, I try to use home remedies instead. I used honey and lemon tea, my nebulizer, and have been taking benadryl and tylenol and on the off two hours, aspirin. It has helped some, but not a lot.  So, I will continue to deal with this on my own. How sad is that?

To make it worse, some of my family (not my husband) have either said or implied that I should get over it because it is JUST A COLD. Wow! Really? I guess they got their medical degrees when I wasn’t looking.

It is for these reasons, I decided to check this out. The information is from a website called HULIQ. It is an interesting read. Enjoy and next time someone thinks you should get over it, I say get over them! Toodles!

 

Lupus Patients Are At Increased Risk Of Flu Infection

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Patients with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have an increased risk of infection, due to both disturbances in their immune responses and treatment with immunosuppressive drugs. Because morbidity and mortality related to influenza are increased in immunocompromised patients, it is recommended that patients with SLE get annual flu shots, which are safe and do not increase disease activity.

Both antibody and cell-mediated responses are involved in the immune response to influenza; in SLE, antibody responses to the vaccine are diminished, but it is not known if the same effect is seen in cell-mediated responses. A new study was the first to examine cell-mediated responses in SLE patients prior to and following influenza vaccination. The study was published in the August issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Led by Albert Holvast, of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, the study involved 54 patients with SLE and 54 healthy controls who received subunit flu vaccine, out of a total of 78 patients in each group. Patients were randomized 2:1 to receive a flu vaccine or serve as a nonvaccinated control. Patients and controls were followed up at 28 days and three to four months following vaccination, at which time blood was drawn.

Vaccination induces an influenza virus-specific immune response which is generally documented as the generation of antibodies specifically reacting with the virus. However, the main defense against the virus is exerted by specific immune cells, in particular CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells which are part of the immune response induced by vaccination. The level of this so-called cellular immune response has until now not been documented in patients with SLE, but is crucial for the effect of vaccination.

The results showed that cell-mediated responses (both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells) to influenza were lower in SLE patients prior to vaccination. Following vaccination, cell-mediated responses remained lower in SLE patients than controls. CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses to staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), which was used as a positive control, were normal in patients with SLE, indicating that their decreased cell-mediated response to the flu vaccine was not attributable to a decreased responsiveness of T cells in general. However, the use of the medications prednisone and/or azathioprine was associated with lower cell-mediated responses following vaccination.

Previous studies have shown that antibody production following flu vaccination is lower in SLE patients than in the general population and the current study confirmed these results. The authors evaluated the relationships between antibody and cell-mediated responses because CD4+ T-cell help is necessary for antibody responses. While they did not find a correlation between CD4+ T-cell and antibody responses using flow cytometry, they did find a modest correlation using ELISpot assay, a more sensitive technique. They also found that flu vaccination did not induce disease activity over three to four months.

Although the sample size in this study was not large, the authors conclude that the diminished cell-mediated immune and antibody responses to flu vaccination in SLE patients are representative of what occurs in daily practice. “Clinicians should be aware that this combined defect might increase the morbidity and mortality due to influenza virus infection, in particular in patients receiving prednisone and/or azathioprine,” they state, adding that evaluating clinical protection against influenza in SLE patients following vaccination may be warranted in order to assess whether more effective influenza vaccines or vaccination strategies are warranted.

By Wiley-Blackwell

Guillain Barre Syndrome Overview

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Well, I looked around and found this interesting fact sheet on GBS, or Guillain Barre Syndrome. It is a serious condition and can cause death pretty quickly in some cases. This information came from the website: guillainbarresyndrome.net. For further information, please consult your own doctor or go to the webpage listed above for more detailed information.

 

Guillain Barre Syndrome is a rare and severe disease. It occurs after an acute infectious procedure. Guillain Barre Syndrome initially affects the peripheral nervous system. Normally it is acute form of paralysis in lower body area that moves towards upper limb and face. Gradually patient loses all his reflexes and goes through a complete body paralysis. Guillain Barre Syndrome is a life threatening disorder and needs timely treatment and supportive care with intravenous immunoglobulins or plasmapheresis. Unfortunately many people lose their lives without proper and prompt medical treatment. Dysautonomia and Pulmonary complications are the basic reason for death other fatal complications.

Symptoms and Signs!

guillainbarresyndrome Guillain Barre SyndromeAlthough Guillain Barre Syndrome is a fatal and complicated disorder of peripheral nervous system, however there are many symptoms and signs that enable you to suspect the disease at beginning. Guillain Barre Syndrome is a result of antigens that weakened the immune system. These infectious antigens attack the nervous system and damage the nerves. This auto-immune infection turns the peripheral nerves in inflammation of conduction block and myelin. The primary result would be minor muscle paralysis. Though autonomic disturbances or sensory occurs on acute complications. The most severe and obvious complication of Serum sickness is Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). Guillain Barre Syndrome is type of auto-immune disorder by low hypersensitivity reaction. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, migraines, low grade fevers and chills are quite apparent symptoms of GBS. The regular headaches and migraines are result of Central Nervous System Disorder. Constant exhaustion, tiredness and pain in the back of head are early signs of Guillain Barre Syndrome. The disease initially appears in lower limb and affects the muscle reflexes. Paralysis in lower limb and legs are commonly called rubbery legs or tingling and numbness in legs. Afterwards this syndrome travels in upper part of the limb. Generally in short span of time facial muscles and arms get affected and become completely paralyzed. Normally the lower cranial nerves get damaged and lead to bulbar weakness. It affects the swallowing and breathing resulting in constant drooling. In acute cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome patients complains of temporary Bladder dysfunction. The obvious indication of GBS is pain; it is quite similar to the aching that you get after over exercise or jogging.

Diagnosis!

Constant severe pain in muscles and mild fever are common symptoms of Guillain Barre Syndrome. Usually there are many other signs like orthostatic hypotension, hypertension and unusual fluctuations in blood pressure. Prompt medical procedure ensures fast recovery and fewer complications. However If you start the treatment at late or at complicated stage then chances of recovery are very low. Success of any Guillain Barre Syndrome Diagnosis depend upon the medical reports and findings like fast growing muscle paralysis, absence of fever, a possible pro-active incident and areflexia. Normally CSF and ECD are most common treatments used to confirm and cure the disease. Sometime these treatments failed to detect early symptoms of Guillain Barre Syndrome. Generally after a week or two patients recognize the signs and then report the syndrome. At the moment there is no effective cure for Guillain Barre Syndrome. Though there are many possible medical procedures to diagnose, that may help in reducing the fatal aspect of this severe disease.

CSF

CSF is commonly used and quite successful for the findings and evidences of Guillain Barre Syndrome. Average CSF findings contain information and details of albumino-cytological dissociation. Compared to infectious symptoms, CSF is a high level protein 100 – 1000 mg/dL instead of the supplementary pleocytosis. Continuous usage of the pleocytosis may boost the immune system to resist the infections. Research has proven that high quantity of protein and pleocytosis in the CSF is essential for the diffusion of white blood cells in the myelin. In early stages of Guillain Barre Syndrome anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers combined to offer instant relief in severe pain. Often doctors suggest blood thinners to control and prevent blood clotting.