February 3, 2017

Berger’s disease, commonly known as Ig A Neuropathy (short for Immunoglobulin A), is a kidney disease, which affects the glomerulus. Glomeruli are the tiny blood filters where urine is made.

In this condition, IgA settles in the kidney and causes scarring and inflammation within the kidney, which can only be seen clearly under the microscope. Therefore it is normally only diagnosed after a biopsy test of the kidney. What is seen under the microscope is that the “glomeruli”, which are the tiny structures which filter the blood to make urine, are damaged by deposits of IgA.

After diabetes and high blood pressure, IgA nephropathy is the third leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the United States.

Antibodies are produced when there is a virus, bacterium or toxin, threatening the body. Normally, these antibodies will help fight the thing that is invading the body. For reasons that are unknown, IgA can get into the kidney, causing inflammation. This condition can eventually lead to blood and protein in the urine, high blood pressure, swollen hands and feet and other signs of CKD.

Berger’s disease usually progresses slowly over many years, but the course of the disease in each person is uncertain. Some people leak blood in their urine without developing problems, some eventually achieve complete remission, and others develop end-stage kidney failure.

Causes

The disease seems to cluster in certain families and in certain areas of the world. It rarely occurs in people of African heritage. These facts suggest that genetic influences may play a role in the development of the disease.

IgA is a protein called an antibody that helps the body fight infections. Berger’s disease occurs when too much of this protein is deposited in the kidneys. IgA builds up inside the small blood vessels of the kidney. Structures in the kidney called glomeruli become inflamed and damaged. Berger’s disease is a form of mesangial proliferative nephritis.

The disorder can appear suddenly (acute), or get worse slowly over many years (chronic glomerulonephritis).

Who is at Risk?

Factors that increase may your chance of IgA nephropathy include –

gastrointestinal such as cirrhosis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease infectious disease such as HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis pulmonary disease such as bronchiolitis obliterans, small cell lung cancer lymphoma dermatitis herpetiformis seronegative arthritis.

  • Family history
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Henoch schoenlein purpura

Symptoms

Symptoms for IgA nephropathy don’t occur at the beginning stages of the disease. Instead, it’s a progressive condition that can take decades to produce symptoms. Sometimes, during a routine screening your doctor may detect signs of IgA nephropathy, which include: –

  • Cola or tea-colored urine, due to blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Periodic pain in the loins, abdomen, sides or flanks
  • Foam after urination caused by protein in the urine (known as proteinuria)
  • Fatigue
  • Flu and cold-like symptoms
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of the hands and feet (edema)
  • Mood swings
  • Becoming more susceptible to allergies
  • Lack of response to cold temperatures (mainly in children)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs, mainly in young girls)

Treatment

Medications

Depending on the symptoms and overall health –

  • Medications to help control blood pressure and decrease protein loss in the urine
  • Cholesterol lowering medication
  • Corticosteroids to decrease inflammation in the body
  • Medications to suppress the immune system

Surgery

Dialysis takes over the job of the kidneys if they are not able to work well. It cannot cure the kidney damage, but it will help you feel better and decrease symptoms like high blood pressure.

A kidney transplant may be needed when illness has progressed and the kidneys have failed.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Exercise can help with overall health. It can also help manage cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Don’t smoke

Alternative Treatment

Vitamins – Vitamin C can strengthen the immune system so as to help fight against aliments such as cold and infection. These aliments may cause blood urine and speed up kidney failure for Berger’s patients. IgA Nephropathy patients may also need vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K and some other vitamins

Low-antigen diet – A low-antigen diet, which consists of restricting dietary gluten and avoiding meats and dairy products, has been recommended to decrease mucosal antigen exposure.

Low-protein diets have been recommended to slow the rate of progression of many nephropathies.

Omega-3 fish oil provides essential fatty acids that cannot be made by our bodies but must be supplied by our diet. These include linoleic and linolenic acids, which are found in black currant, borage, primrose and flax oils as well as fish, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexanenoic acid). Omega-3 fatty acids affect the production of eicosanoids, cytokines, and thromboxane A2, all of which are believed to have a role in injuring the glomeruli.

Blueberry contains antioxidant phytonutrients and manganese, which can keep the bones healthy.

Vitamin D – Deficiency of vitamin D is present early in the course of CKD, and correction may prevent activation of key pathogenic mechanisms in cardiovascular disease (eg, inflammation, myocardial cell hypertrophy and proliferation, and the renin-angiotensin system).

 

Reference

http://www.igan.net/iga.html

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMra1206793

http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/2/5/1054.long

https://www.med.nyu.edu/medicine/nephrology/sites/default/files/nephrology/IGA%20Nephropathy.pdf

http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/16/7/2088.full.pdf

http://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/7064

http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/480.html

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

Behcet’s disease also known as Behcet’s Syndrome, is a rare, chronic, auto inflammatory disorder. It is characterized by ulcers affecting the mouth and genitals, various skin lesions and abnormalities affecting the eyes. Its occurrence are thought to be caused by vasculitis i.e. inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body.

The disease carries the name of a Turkish dermatologist Hulusi Behcet, who, in 1937, described a trial of oral ulcers, genital ulcers and ocular inflammation, became the first physician to describe the disease in modern times. Behcet’s disease tends to develop in young adults, generally in their 20’s and 30’s, although patients of all ages and both the sexes are affected with it. Studies suggest that there are approximately 16,000 – 20,000 cases of Behcet’s disease in the United States. This condition is considered to be rare in the United States, as it affects less than 200,000 people.

BD is a chronic disease with remissions and exacerbations that “burn out” after approximately 10 years of activity. Ocular involvement is common and visual prognosis is poor if the patient is not treated properly. Central Nervous System (CNS) and gastrointestinal involvement, which are less common, may lead to death. The diagnosis of the Behçet’s Disease is made on the basis of clinical criteria.

Subdivisions of BD.

  • Neuro-Behcet
  • Ocular-Behcet
  • Vasculo-Behcet

Causes         

The exact cause of Behçet’s disease is unknown, although it is generally thought to occur as a result of a problem with the immune system but it has been suggested that both genes and environmental factors are likely to be involved.

  • Genetic Factor

Studies suggest that some people are born with genes that make themmore vulnerable of developing BD. This is because Behçet’s disease tends to be much more common in certain ethnic groups where the genes that are linked to the condition may be more common.

Research has so far shown that many people who have developed Behçet’s disease have a gene called HLA B51, and this may increase the risk of developing the disease considerably. However, it must be emphasized that presence of the gene in and of itself is not enough to cause Behcet’s, as many people possess the gene, but relatively few develop Behcet’s. Despite the predisposition to Behcet’s conferred by HLA–B51, familial cases are not the rule, constituting only about 5% of cases. Thus, it is believed that other factors (perhaps more than one) play a role.

Other genes were found to have a role in the pathogenesis of the disease through defects in sensing and processing of signals that are related to regulation of innate and adaptive immunity. Different ethnicities showed association between IL10, IL23R, STAT4, CCR1, UBAC2, GIMAP2/GIMAP4, KLRC4 and rare variants in TLR4, NOD2, and MEFV genes in Behcet’s disease patients.

  • Environmental Factor

Genetics are not solely responsible for BD, as there are many cases, where patients do not possess any of the genes associated with it. For example, a red apple and a green apple are both apples but they are slightly different. In the same way a single gene may have slightly different variations in different people but still be the same gene doing pretty much the same job. Ethnic groups known to be at risk of developing the condition can also reduce their risk by leaving their native country. For example, rates of Behçet’s disease are lower in Japanese people who live outside Japan. This suggests that an external environmental factor may also have a role in triggering the condition.

It is often suggested that a viral or bacterial infection may play a role, or that the range of bacteria (the microbiome) present in individuals with BD is somehow different. Investigations of the etiology of BD have focused on herpes simplex virus infection, streptococcal infection, Helicobacter pylori, and autoimmunity or cross-reactivity between microbial and oral mucosal antigens.

The theory is that when a person comes into contact with this virus or bacteria, something in their genes causes their body to react badly and attack their healthy tissue, leading to BD.

  • Resultant abnormal inflammation

Inflammation is a necessary function of the body, being needed to fight infections. In people with BD, the inflammatory response becomes too enthusiastic, whereby a small insult to the body (e.g. a thorn prick) may result in a big inflammatory response, and inflammation may occur without an obvious cause.

  • Immunological Abnormalities

Various immunological aberrations have been observed in patients with BD, ranging from auto antibodies to oral mucosa and a decrease in T4 cells, especially before exacerbation of the disease, to an increased level of soluble interleukin2 receptors.

Symptoms

Behcet’s Disease is not contagious, therefore, it does not spread from one person to another. Symptoms vary from person to person.

The symptoms of Behcet’s disease are outlined below:

  • Eyes – BD causes anterior uveitis – inflammation in the front of the eye, or posterior uveitis – inflammation in the back of the eye and at times can cause both at a same time. This results in pain, blurry vision, light sensitivity, tearing, or redness of the eye. Eye inflammation usually comes on in unpredictable, repetitive attacks. Help should be sought quickly if any symptoms develop, as treatment may be required to avoid damage to sight.
  • Mouth – Almost everyone with BD will develop painful sores in the mouth called “aphthous ulcers”. These are very similar in appearance to ulcers that frequently occur in the general population, usually as a result of minor trauma. Aphthous ulcers can be found on the lips, tongue, and inside of the cheek. Aphthous ulcers may occur singly or in clusters, but occur in virtually all patients with Behcet’s.
  • Skin – Many people with BD will also develop skin lesions. A lesion is any type of unusual growth or abnormality that develops on your skin, such as a bump or a discoloured area of skin. Pustular skin lesions that resemble acne, but can occur nearly anywhere on the body. This rash is sometimes called “folliculitis”. Skin lesions called erythema nodosum: red, tender nodules that usually occur on the legs and ankles but also appear sometimes on the face, neck, or arms. Unlike erythema nodosum associated with other diseases (which heal without scars), the lesions of Behcet’s disease frequently ulcerate.
  • Lungs – Aneurysms (outpouchings of blood vessel walls, caused by inflammation) of arteries in the lung, rupture of which may lead to massive lung hemorrhage. This may include –
    • pain in a limb
    • a sudden agonizing headache
    • dizziness
    • breathlessness
    • coughing up blood
    • confusion
    • loss of consciousness
  • Joints – Behcet’s disease affects the joints in up to two in every three people with the condition, causing arthritis-like symptoms such as pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth and tenderness. Unlike some conditions affecting the joints, permanent joint damage is rare in BD and symptoms can usually be controlled successfully.
  • Brain – Central nervous system involvement is one of the most dangerous manifestations of Behcet’s. The disease tends to involve the “white matter” portion of the brain and brainstem, and may lead to headaches, confusion, strokes, personality changes, and (rarely) dementia. BD may also involve the protective layers around the brain (the meninges), leading to meningitis. Because the meningitis of BD is not associated with any known infection, it is often referred to as “aseptic” meningitis.
  • Genitals –
    • Male — painful genital lesions that forms on the scrotum, similar to oral lesions, but deeper. Men may also experience inflammation (swelling) of the testicles.
    • Female — painful genital ulcers that develop on the vulva.

Genital ulcers caused by Behçet’s disease are not contagious and cannot be spread through sexual intercourse.

  • Gastrointestinal – Ulcerations may occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. The terminal ileum and cecum are common sites. Involvement of the GI tract by Behcet’s may be difficult to distinguish from inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Blood clots and blood vessels – The blood vessels predominantly affected are veins. Veins of any size or position may be involved, but particularly the deep veins of the legs, causing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Arteries are less commonly affected. Aneurysms (expansion of arteries) can occasionally occur.There is no good evidence that Behçet’s syndrome predisposes to ordinary heart disease.
  • Tiredness – Most patients with BD report feeling fatigued and this may well impact on quality of life. The reasons for fatigue are often complex, often including inflammation, loss of physical fitness, pain, and low mood and/or poor sleep.

Treatment

As BD can affect many different parts of the body, the specialists involved in the treatment may include:

  • Dermatologist – a doctor who specializes in treating skin conditions
  • Rheumatologist – a doctor who specializes in treating joint conditions
  • Ophthalmologist – a doctor who specializes in treating eye conditions
  • Neurologist – a doctor who specializes in treating conditions that affect the nervous system and brain

A variety of medications can treat Behcet’s Disease and alleviate pain and other symptoms.

  • Medications & Drugs

This type of treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms and depends on which parts of the body the disease affects.

  1. Rashes and sores in the mouth and genital area:
  • For mild disease — Corticosteroids (ointments, creams, rinses) applied to the skin (topical). Side effects of corticosteroids include weight gain, persistent heartburn, high blood pressure and bone thinning (osteoporosis).
  • For more significant disease or if topical treatment is not successful —colchicine, dapsone (DDS) orthalidomide (Thalomid)
  • For more severe disease — Immune suppressants, including a pill form of corticosteroid,azathioprine(Imuran) or methotrexate (Methotrexate LPF, Rheumatrex). Since these medications suppress the actions of your immune system, they may increase your risk of infection. Other possible side effects include liver and kidney problems, low blood counts, and high blood pressure.
  • For mouth pain — Novocaine-type agents a mixture of of Kaopectate, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and lidocaine as a mouth rinse can provide temporary relief
  1. Arthritis — The most commonly prescribed medications are colchicine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and methotrexate.
  1. Eye disease — Corticosteroids (drops, injections or pills), colchicine, and immunosuppressants (including cyclosporine drops or pills, cyclophosphamide, and azathioprine).

Studies suggest that interferon (Betaseron and others), adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade) or rituximab (Rituxan) may improve severe disease that has not responded to other treatment. For severe disease that affects many parts of the body, combinations of medications may be prescribed.

  • Surgical Treatment

Although various treatment modalities appear, surgical intervention often is indicated for arterial aneurysms. In patients with recurrent or massive hemoptysis, surgery may be necessary. Endovascular treatment for pseudoaneurysms due to BD seems to be an effective choice when the disease activity is strictly controlled with immunosuppressive therapy. In other serious consequences, such as gastrointestinal bowel perforation, enterocutaneous fistula formation, thrombotic obstruction in large-caliber vessels, cardiac involvement, and complications of eye involvement such as glaucoma, vitreous opacities, surgery may also be the only possible remedy.

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is an infrequently recognized disorder of presumed autoimmune etiology that is associated with characteristic clinical, histologic, and morphologic findings. Multiple organs, such bile ducts, salivary glands, kidneys and lymph nodes, can be involved either synchronously or metachronously. It is one of the few autoimmune conditions that predominantly affects male subjects in the fifth and sixth decades of life. This autoimmune disease can mimic pancreatic cancer by its clinical symptoms, including weight loss and jaundice. Furthermore imaging findings may include a mass of the pancreas.

Autoimmune pancreatitis occurs in twice as many men as women. The initial presentation usually occurs between ages 50-60, but patients can also develop autoimmune pancreatitis as early as age 30 as well as late in life. The disease can occur as alone or in association with other autoimmune disorders including sclerosing cholangitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, sarcoidosis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Types

  • Type 1 AIP is also called IgG4-related pancreatitis and is part of a disease called IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) that often affects multiple organs including the pancreas, bile ducts in the liver, salivary glands, kidneys and lymph nodes.
  • Type 2 AIP seems to affect only the pancreas, although about one-third of people with type 2 AIP have associated inflammatory bowel disease.

Both subtypes of autoimmune pancreatitis are treated with steroids, which in many people dramatically improve the condition.

Causes

It is a type of chronic pancreatitis characterised by a heterogenous autoimmune inflammatory process in which prominent lymphocytic infiltration with associated fibrosis of the pancreas causes organ dysfunction.

The cause is unknown though there is a strong basis for an autoimmune process where antibody reaction against carbonic anhydrase and lactoferrin has been postulated.

Risk Factors

People with type 1 autoimmune pancreatitis often –

  • Are over age 60
  • Are male
  • Have multiple organ involvement including the bile ducts (IgG4-related sclerosing cholangitis), the salivary glands (IgG-related sialadenitis), or the lungs (IgG4-related pulmonary disease)
  • Have retroperitoneal fibrosis (RPF), which is the formation of extra fibrous tissue in the area behind the stomach and intestine
  • Have lymph node enlargement (lymphadenopathy), low thyroid (hypothyroidism) or kidney disease

People with type 2 autoimmune pancreatitis –

  • Are often over age 40 (one or two decades younger than those with type 1)
  • Are as likely to be female as male
  • Have a 30 percent chance of having inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis

Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer symptoms can include –

  • Dark urine
  • Pale stools or stools that float in the toilet
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Pain in your upper abdomen or middle part of your back
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness or extreme tiredness
  • Loss of appetite or feelings of fullness
  • Weight loss for no known reason

The most common sign of autoimmune pancreatitis, present in about 80 percent of people, is painless jaundice, caused by blocked bile ducts. AIP can also cause weight loss. Many people with autoimmune pancreatitis have masses in the pancreas and other organs, which can be misdiagnosed as cancer.

Treatment

Steroids – Symptoms of autoimmune pancreatitis often improve after a short course of prednisolone (Prelone). Many people respond quickly, even dramatically. Sometimes people get better without any treatment.

Immunosuppressants and immunomodulators – About 30 to 50 percent of the time, AIP returns, requiring additional treatment, sometimes long term. Immunosuppresants and immunomodulators include mycophenolate (CellCept), mercaptopurine (Purinethol, Purixan), azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan) and rituximab (Rituxan). In general, they have been used in small sample groups and long-term benefits are still being studied.

Treatment for pancreatic insufficiency – If a person has insufficient pancreatic enzymes, he may need supplementary enzymes

Treatment for diabetes – If a person has diabetes, he will need appropriate treatment.

Monitoring of other organ involvement (OOI) – Type 1 AIP often is associated with other organ involvement, including enlarged lymph nodes and salivary glands, scarring of the bile ducts, liver inflammation, and kidney disease.

Alternative Treatment

Grape Seed Extract – Grape seed extract is a very strong anti-inflammatory but it is also one of the most powerful antioxidants on earth and one of the few that will cross the blood-brain barrier. According to research grape seed extract causes cancer cells to die but more importantly grape seed extract helps relieve nausea and pain that are two rotten symptoms of pancreatitis

Curcumin puts out the fire of inflammation and so helps control pain. Curcumin is a powerful pain reliever and one of the best pancreatitis supplements. It fights pancreas inflammation,. Curcumin is also a very strong antioxidant which seems to inhibit cancer growth by actually causing cancer cells to die.

Vitamin C is another antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and essential nutrient. Vitamin C can do so many things, in combination with grape seed extract and curcumin. Those three pancreatitis supplements in combination are extremely powerful.

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants are important pancreatitis supplements simply because with pancreatitis patients can often suffer from malabsorption which simply means they do not absorb the nutrients from food. Extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants may be very helpful in providing more energy and all-around better health.

Digestive Enzymes are important pancreatitis supplements simply because the pancreas produces digestive enzymes and the less the pancreas has to work the better. If the pancreas has sustained a large amount of damage it may not produce enough enzymes to digest thefood and of course this makes an enzyme supplement mandatory.

Chromium picolinate mineral helps maintain stable blood sugar levels so the pancreas doesn’t have to work overtime secreting insulin to move sugar out of the blood into cells.

Calcium & Magnesium work hand in hand to promote the health of all glands.

Vitamin B Complex helps relieve stress on the pancreas, and vitamins B-3 and B-5 in particular are important for fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Dandelion root is an herbal supplement that is commonly used to help treat pancreatitis. Studies suggest that dandelion root helps stimulate and strengthen your pancreas and may improve the function of other organs, too, including the kidneys, spleen and stomach.

Omega 3 fatty acids helps in treating High Triglycerides, inflammation, gallstones. It also reduce the chance of a recurrent episode if you have a history of pancreatitis.

Milk thistle is one of those cholagogue herbs, which have been trusted by herbalists for over thousands of years to treat a damaged, liver, pancreas and stomach. Silymarin, a type of flavonoid has given this herbaceous plant the power to deal with liver damages. Being used as a liver tonic, the extracts of milk thistle help to neutralize all sorts of liver damages, other than protecting the liver as a whole. Other than that, milk thistle is also a source of vitamin E, which helps to treat and regenerate the cells of the liver and pancreas, which get damaged as a result of pancreatitis.

Licorice root has been used as a traditional Chinese herb for treating an array of health disorders, which also includes pancreatitis. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is one of the major bioactive compounds found in licorice, which can be the major reason behind the herb’s effectiveness for treating pancreatitis

 

Reference –

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262226943_Immunosuppressive_drugs_for_the_treatment_of_autoimmune_pancreatitis

https://www.patientslikeme.com/conditions/1881-autoimmune-pancreatitis

http://www.gastro.org/news_items/2014/6/5/treatment-of-autoimmune-pancreatitis-when-to-offer-immunomodulators-or-rituximab

http://www.elsevier.pt/en/revistas/ge-portuguese-journal-of-gastroenterology-347/artigo/autoimmune-pancreatitis-and-ulcerative-colitis-a-clinical-challenge-90185898

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0138604

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijr/2012/597643/

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

An immune system is a highly regulated biological mechanism that identifies and reacts to antigens from various foreign substances found in the human body and reacts to these possible foreign threats by producing certain types of lymphocytes such as white blood cells and antibodies that have the ability to destroy or neutralize various germs, poisons and other foreign agents. Generally, the immune system is able to distinguish the foreign agents from the organism’s own healthy cells and tissues.

Autoimmune diseases occur when there is interruption of the usual control process, thereby allowing the system to malfunction and attack healthy cells and tissues. Autoimmunity, on the other hand, describes a diseased condition in which an organism fails to recognize its own cells and tissues, thereby enabling the immune system to trigger a response against its own components.

More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified. The most common of these diseases include systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid diseases (Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), myasthenia gravis, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, the immune response toward self can affect any organ or organ system, resulting in a wide variety of autoimmune diseases.

Collectively, autoimmune diseases are thought to affect approximately 14–22 million people in the United States and represent a significant physical, emotional, social, and fiscal burden to the country’s health care system.

Types of Autoimmune Diseases

Systemic autoimmune diseases are characterized by the involvement of many different organs and organ systems.

The most common examples of systemic autoimmune diseases are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Goodpasture’s syndrome
  • Wegener’s granulomatosis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome

Localized autoimmune diseases are characterized by the involvement of only a single organ, organ system or tissue.

The most common types include –

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or Graves’ Disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Psoriasis
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, Sclerosing Cholangitis, Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Temporal Arteritis / Giant Cell Arteritis

 

Who gets Autoimmune Diseases?

Autoimmune diseases can affect anyone. Yet certain people are at greater risk, including –

  • Women of childbearing age — More women than men have autoimmune diseases, which often start during their childbearing years.
  • People with a family history — Some autoimmune diseases run in families, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. It is also common for different types of autoimmune diseases to affect different members of a single family. Inheriting certain genes can make it more likely to get an autoimmune disease. But a combination of genes and other factors may trigger the disease to start.
  • People who are around certain things in the environment — Certain events or environmental exposures may cause some autoimmune diseases, or make them worse. Sunlight, chemicals called solvents, and viral and bacterial infections are linked to many autoimmune diseases.
  • People of certain races or ethnic backgrounds — Some autoimmune diseases are more common or more severely affect certain groups of people more than others. For instance, type 1 diabetes is more common in white people. Lupus is most severe for African-American and Hispanic people.

 

Causes

Genetic Factors

Studies suggest that genes predispose individuals to develop autoimmune diseases. The cells that control antibody production—for example, B cells (a type of white blood cell)—may malfunction and produce abnormal antibodies that attack some of the body’s cells. A predisposition to autoimmune disorders seems to run in families. However, family members can be affected by different disorders; for example, one person may have diabetes, while another has rheumatoid arthritis. It seems that genetic susceptibility alone is not enough to trigger an autoimmune reaction, and other factors must contribute.

Environmental Factors – Exposure to various synthetic chemicals and metals in the initiation of autoimmune disease may also increase susceptibility to autoimmune disorders. Generally, metals inhibit immune cell proliferation and activation; mercury, gold, and silver, for example, can induce lymphocyte proliferation and subsequent autoimmunity. A broad range of synthetic chemicals, including hormone supplementation, hormone blockers, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, and food and herbal products, may elicit estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity.

Infections & Bacteria – Infections with certain viruses, bacteria, and mycoplasma appear to provoke the initiation of systemic AD in genetically predisposed individuals. Moreover, a severe bacterial or viral infection may trigger an increase in autoreactive antibodies or conventional T cells that leads to a flare-up of quiescent AD or an exacerbation of existing symptoms.

Leaky Gut – Another growing hypothesis of the cause of autoimmunity is called intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’. The hypothesis is that through various reasons the health of the intestines degrades. The villi that line the intestines become damaged and as a result very small food particles are leaked from the intestines into the blood stream. The body sees these as foreign entities and marks them as antigens (remember those ghosts in Pac-Man). While the leaky gut theory is growing, it is not entirely accepted within the western medicine community.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms vary depending on the disorder and the part of the body affected. Some autoimmune disorders affect certain types of tissue throughout the body—for example, blood vessels, cartilage, or skin. Other autoimmune disorders affect a particular organ. Virtually any organ, including the kidneys, lungs, heart, and brain, can be affected. The resulting inflammation and tissue damage can cause pain, deformed joints, weakness, jaundice, itching, difficulty breathing, accumulation of fluid (edema), delirium, and even death.

Common symptoms include –

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • General ill-feeling (malaise)
  • Joint pain
  • Rash
  • Anxiety, Irritability, or Depression
  • Hair Loss
  • Low or High Blood Pressure
  • Infertility or Low Sex Drive (Reduced Libido)
  • Leg Cramps & Muscle Twitching
  • Acne
  • Dizziness
  • Ichthyosis
  • Sweating
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold in the hands and feet
  • Exhaustion & Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Inflammation
  • Malaise
  • Elevated fever and High Body Temperature
  • Weakness and Stiffness in Muscles and Joints
  • Weight Changes
  • Digestive or Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Blood sugar changes
  • Hormone fluctuation which worsen menstrual cycles

 

Treatment

Treatment may involve control of the autoimmune reaction by suppressing the immune system. However, many of the drugs used to control the autoimmune reaction also interfere with the body’s ability to fight disease, especially infections.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs – to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Corticosteroids – to reduce inflammation. They are sometimes used to treat an acute flare of symptoms
  • Pain-killing medication – such as paracetamol and codeine
  • Immunosuppressant drugs – to inhibit the activity of the immune system. These drugs include – azathioprine, chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, mycophenolate, and methotrexate.
  • Physical therapy – to encourage mobility
  • Treatment for the deficiency – for example, insulin injections in the case of diabetes
  • Surgery – for example, to treat bowel blockage in the case of Crohn’s disease
  • High dose Immunosuppression – the use of immune system suppressing drugs (in the doses needed to treat cancer or to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs) have been tried recently, with promising results. Particularly when intervention is early, the chance of a cure with some of these conditions seems possible.

Alternative Treatment

  • Essential Fatty Acids – GLA (GammaLinoleicAcid) & Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA from fish oils). The daily consumption of fish oil, omega-3 reduced both inflammation and anxiety in a group of young healthy people.
  • Probiotics – The gut contains “good” bacteria, which help with digestion and offer protection against “bad” bacteria. Consumption of antibiotics results in insufficient supply of good bacteria. Probiotics are live bacteria that are similar to beneficial bacteria that normally reside in the intestines. Under normal circumstances, beneficial bacteria keep the growth of harmful bacteria in check. If the balance between good and bad bacteria is thrown off, causing harmful bacteria to overgrow, diarrhea and other digestive problems can occur. Probiotics are used to restore the balance of these “good” bacteria in the body. They are available in the form of dietary supplements (capsules, tablets, and powders) or foods (yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages).
  • Antioxidants – Acai, blueberry, cranberry, grape seed, green tea, hesperidin, lycopene, mangosteen, pomegranate, quercetin have has anti-allergy, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antihistamine properties.
  • Minerals – Calcium,magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium are powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient.
  • Vitamin D – The increased levels of vitamin D was shown to improve muscular function, control blood pressure and improve levels of glucose in the body.
  • Vitamin C – A hardworking antioxidant, vitamin C offers two added bonuses: it helps the body deal with stress, and it boosts the activity of another outstanding anti-inflammatory, vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E – While vitamin E is commonly known as a fat-soluble antioxidant, it is also becoming a more popular choice to use as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Trace Minerals – Boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, silver, zinc help in inflammation.

Herbs

  • Harpagophytum procumbens – also known as devil’s claw, wood spider or grapple plant comes from South Africa and is related to sesame plants. European colonists brought devil’s claw back home to treat arthritis, fever and pain.
  • Ginger, also known as ginger root, is the mass of roots (rhizome) of the Zingiber officinale plant. It is used as a medicine or a spice. It has been used for hundreds of years to treat dyspepsia, constipation, colic, other gastrointestinal problems, as well as rheumatoid arthritis pain.
  • Curcumin a powerhouse anti-inflammatory, curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, the spice used in curries and other Indian foods.
  • Boswellia (frankincense). Similarly, the boswellia plant, from which the aromatic resin frankincense is derived, contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds known as boswellic acids.
  • Spirulina – This increasingly popular blue-green microalgae variety is poised to become the next big thing as far as “superfoods” are concerned, and for good reason.
  • Cannabis contains a cannabinnoid called cannabichromene, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Reference

http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/a/autoimmune-diseases/symptoms-and-causes

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000816.htm

http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/autoimmune-diseases.html

http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/autoimmune-disease-natural-treatment.html

http://www.aun.edu.eg/SECI/RaniaBakry/Immunology%20autoimmune%20disease.pdf

http://www.omicsonline.org/autoimmune-disorders-an-overview-of-molecular-and-cellular-basis-in-todays-perspective-2155-9899.S10-003.pdf

http://www.msdmanuals.com/home/immune-disorders/allergic-reactions-and-other-hypersensitivity-disorders/autoimmune-disorders

https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/autoimmune-diseases.html

http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/autoimmune-disease-in-women/

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/autoimmune-diseases

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017
Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), also known as Hughes syndrome, is a systemic autoimmune condition characterized by the presence of antiphospholipid antibodies (APL) in the serum of patients with thrombotic events and/or recurrent pregnancy complications. It is a disorder characterized by recurrent arterial or venous thrombosis and/or pregnancy losses, in the presence of persistently elevated levels of anticardiolipin antibodies and/or evidence of circulating lupus anticoagulant (these abnormalities are detected by blood tests).

Antiphospholipid syndrome is a condition in which the blood is more likely to clot than usual. Because of this, the condition is sometimes called ‘sticky blood’. The clotting can affect any vein, artery or organ in the body and the consequences can include potentially fatal conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and DVT. In pregnancy, the antibodies can cause miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, small babies, early deliveries and stillbirth.

As blood flows through the entire body, Hughes syndrome can present a wide variety of symptoms, not all of them as serious as stroke or heart attack.

People from all ages, including children can have Hughes syndrome, but it tends to mainly affect the 20-50 year old age group and women more so than men. In the UK alone, it is estimated that Hughes syndrome affects 1 in 100 people.

Types o APS

  • Primary APS – The individual has no known autoimmune disease present, other than APS. This type accounts for more than 50% of all cases.
  • Secondary APS – The individual has already been diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or another underlying immune disorder. More women than men have this type of APS which matches the statistics for SLE and other overlapping connective tissue diseases.

What happens in APS?

All cells in the body have membranes made of phospholipids, a class of lipids (fatty acids), that hold the cell together. Within these phospholipids, antibodies play a role in how quickly or slowly blood clots. In APS, the body produces antiphospholipid antibodies that mistakenly attack the body’s own phospholipids. An antibody is a protein that is produced by the plasma (blood) cells An and used by the immune system. The antibodies seek out and target antigens (foreign objects such as viruses and bacteria). Some examples of antigens include: microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses, and chemicals.

The purpose of these proteins (antibodies) within phospholipids is to control how quickly or slowly blood clots. As a result, a patient suffering with antiphospholipid syndrome or phospholipid antibody syndrome has an abnormally higher chance of blood clotting or narrowed blood vessels.

Causes

Genetic Factors – Research into the genetics around APS is still at an early stage, but it seems the genes a person inherits from his or her parents may play a role in the development of abnormal antiphospholipid antibodies. APS isn’t passed down directly from parents to children in the same way as other conditions, such as haemophilia and sickle cell anaemia. However, having a family member with antiphospholipid antibodies increases the chance of the immune system also producing them.

Antiphospholipid antibodies – Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to help fight off infection and illness. They’re part of the body’s defence system and produced to help protect against ‘foreign invaders’, such as bacteria and viruses. Antibodies signal the immune system to release chemicals to kill these bacteria and viruses and to prevent infection spreading. It’s not known how this causes the blood to clot more easily. However, most experts believe that keeping the blood at the correct consistency (not too runny and not too sticky) is a delicate balancing act that relies on different types of proteins and fats working together. This balance may be disrupted by the abnormal antibodies in people with APS.

Environmental factors – It’s thought that one or more environmental triggers may be needed to trigger APS in some people. Environmental factors that may be responsible include –

  • Viral infections, such as the cytomegalovirus (CMV) or parvovirus B19
  • Bacterial infections, such as E. coli (a bacteria often associated with food poisoning) or leptospirosis (an infection usually spread by certain animals)
  • Certain medications, such as anti-epileptic medicine or the oral contraceptive pill

Who is at risk?

People who have APS antibodies but no signs or symptoms are at risk of developing APS. Health problems, other than autoimmune disorders, that can trigger blood clots include –

  • Smoking
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Pregnancy and the postpartum period
  • Birth control pills and hormone therapy
  • Cancer and kidney disease

Symptoms

Major signs and symptoms of blood clots include –

  • Chest pain and shortness of breath
  • Pain, redness, warmth, and swelling in the limbs
  • Ongoing headaches
  • Speech changes
  • Upper body discomfort in the arms, back, neck, and jaw
  • Nausea

 

Other complications include –

  • Vascular Thrombosis – It may appear for the first time as a blood clot in an artery or vein (this is called a vascular thrombosis).
  • Embolism – xIt may appear as a blockage of a blood vessel that has been caused by a clot that has traveled in the blood stream from another location in the body ( this is called an embolism).
  • Pregnancy Complications – A woman who has recurring pregnancy loss may find out through testing that APS might be the underlying cause.Antiphospholipid Syndrome
  • Thrombocytopenia or (Immune Thrombocytopenia) – This is a condition associated with APS that means that a person has low platelets. Platelets are little pieces of blood cells that help wounds heal and blood to clot. If a person has a low platelet count, the person can be at risk for mild to serious bleeding.
  • Rashes or skin conditions – Some people may develop a rash that can be described as red with a mottled or lacy, net-like pattern. This is called livedo reticularis. Others may have ulcers or sores, most often on the legs, and others may have necrosis (a condition when the skin tissue dies).
  • Stroke or other neurological disorders – Embolic stroke (caused by a blood clot that travels to the brain) or cerebrovascular thrombosis (a blood clot that forms in the brain) can occur. Please see the signs regarding ‘when to see a doctor’ below. Seizures, migraines, other cognitive dysfunctions can also be indicators of those with APL antibodies, although studies are still being done to prove the link between those conditions and the occurrence of APS strokes.
  • Lupus and other autoimmune disorders – Because APS is classified as an immune disorder (when the immune response attacks the body’s healthy tissue), those with APL or antiphospholipid syndrome sometimes have an additional immune disorder. Although there are other disorders on the list, systemic lupus erythematosis is the most common autoimmune disorder linked to those with APL.

Complications

  • Abdominal pain
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Edema (swelling) in the extremities (ankles, feet or hands)
  • Fits (seizures)
  • Progressive breathlessness
  • Tiredness

Treatment

Medication – The treatment plan will be specific to the individual and their current health status with regards to the APS symptoms that they are experiencing. Ideally, any treatment regimen will be directed towards thinning (anticoagulating) the blood to prevent clotting. These include –

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Heparin
  • Aspirin
  • Prednisone (used to suppress the immune system activity and inflammation)
  • For those with SLE who have APS, hydroxychoroquine or Plaquenil can also add some protection against blood clots.
  • For those who have aPL antibodies but have not shown symptoms, low-dose aspirin is generally recommended by the treating physician.
  • For women who wish to get pregnant, but have had a history of miscarriage, the physician may prescribe heparin (prevents blood clots) and low-dose aspirin.

Prophylactic therapy – Eliminate other risk factors, such as oral contraceptives, smoking, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia. Prophylaxis is needed during surgery or hospitalization, as well as management of any associated autoimmune disease.

Alternative Treatment

Policosanol – Policosanol is a natural product made from the waxy coating of sugar cane that helps lower cholesterol. Various studies have investigated the effect of policosanol on platelet aggregation.

Aortic acid – Aortic extract is usually made from the hearts of animals, usually sheep, cows, or pigs. There are many substances in this extract, including aortic acid, which is a broad term encompassing several constituents. Mesoglycan is the most studied of these constituents. Further research is needed to determine whether or not aortic acid may help treat patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Garlic – The garlic bulb is made of many garlic cloves that are wrapped in a paper-thin, white skin. Garlic, which is often used as a spice in food, has also been used to treat many medical conditions. Garlic has been studied in humans as a possible anticoagulant therapy.

Pycnogenol – Pycnogenol is the patented trade name for a water extract of the bark of the French maritime pine tree (Pinus pinaster ssp. atlantica), which is grown in coastal southwestern France.

Rutin – Rutin is a yellow crystalline flavonol glycoside that occurs in various plants, especially the buckwheat plant, black tea, apple peels, onions, and citrus. Superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) is a common complication of varicose veins.

Seaweed, kelp, bladderwrack – Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is a brown seaweed found along the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and North and Baltic seas. Another seaweed that grows alongside bladderwrack is Ascophyllum nodosum, andit is often combined with bladderwrack in kelp preparations.

Nutritional Supplements – Certain herbal and vitamin supplements are known to cause serious drug interactions with warfarin. Herbal products and supplements including stomach remedies, multivitamins, green tea products and garlic are most likely to result in dangerous drug interactions.

 

Reference –

http://www.hughes-syndrome.org/about-hughes-syndrome/what-is-it.php

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/aps/causes

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hughes-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/333221-treatment

http://www.bcshguidelines.com/documents/antiphospholipids_2012.pdf

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/333221-treatment

http://medind.nic.in/jaw/t14/i1/jawt14i1p19.pdf

http://lifeinthefastlane.com/ccc/anti-phospholipid-syndrome/

http://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/directory/a/antiphospholipid-syndrome

http://www.genome.gov/17516396

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes inflammation between your vertebrae, which are the bones that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis. In some people, it can affect other joints. Its name comes from the Greek words “ankylos,” meaning stiffening of a joint, and “spondylo,” meaning vertebra. Spondylitis refers to inflammation of the spine or one or more of the adjacent structures of the vertebrae.

The condition is grouped into a set of overlapping arthritis disorders that doctors call the spondyloarthritides or spondylarthritis. In addition to ankylosing spondylitis, this classification includes other types of spondylitis caused by syndromes such as inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. Although these disorders have similarities, they also have features that distinguish them from one another. The hallmark of ankylosing spondylitis is “sacroiliitis,” or inflammation of the sacroiliac (SI) joints, where the spine joins the pelvis. AS affect joints outside of the spine, like the shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and feet. It can also affect entheses, which are sites where the tendons and ligaments attach to the bones. It is possible that it can affect other organs, such as the eyes, bowel, and—more rarely—the heart and lungs. In the most severe cases, long-term inflammation leads to calcification that causes two or more bones of the spine to fuse. Fusion can also stiffen the rib cage, resulting in restricted lung capacity and function.

In the most severe cases, long-term inflammation leads to calcification that causes two or more bones of the spine to fuse. Fusion can also stiffen the rib cage, resulting in restricted lung capacity and function. Around 1% of the adult population is affected by spondylarthritis, with an estimated 1.7 million Americans aged 20-69 years thought to have the condtion.

Causes

The cause of AS is multifactorial, as in many autoimmune diseases, and based on genetic factors, such as the very strong genetic influences of HLA-B27 and environmental factors, such as bacterial infections.

Genetic Factors – Research has shown that more than 9 out of 10 people with AS carry a particular gene known as human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27).

Having this gene does not necessarily mean you will develop AS. It is estimated that 8 in every 100 people in the general population have the HLA-B27 gene, but most do not have AS.

It is thought that having this gene may make you more vulnerable to developing AS, and the condition is triggered by one or more environmental factors – although it is not known what these are.

Testing for this gene may be carried out if AS is suspected. However, this test is not a very reliable method of diagnosing the condition because some people can have the HLA-B27 gene but not have ankylosing spondylitis. AS can run in families, and the HLA-B27 gene can be inherited from another family member.

Environmental Factors – Apart from genetic factors, environmental factors also seem to play a role in the multifactorial causes of AS. The innate immunity could be disturbed, like in some polymorphisms of the TLR4 and CD14 genes, and make individuals prone to abnormal reactions after bacterial infections. The pathogenetic role of bacteria can be illustrated by the onset of another subtype of SpA, reactive arthritis. In this disease the symptoms manifest after bacterial infections, especially gastrointestinal (with Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia or Campylobacter) or urogenital (with Chlamydia trachomatis).

Symptoms

Three main symptoms characterize ankylosing spondylitis:2

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of mobility.

Pain is the main symptom of ankylosing spondylitis, especially in the lower back and buttock areas in the early stages of the disease.2 Read on to the next section about diagnosis to find out the typical onset and character of pain in ankylosing spondylitis, and how it differs from other causes of back pain.

Although lower back pain is a key symptom of ankylosing spondylitis, the inflammation is not confined to the lumbar spine – it is systemic – meaning that pain can also arise in other parts of the body.

  • In other joints (arthritis and synovitis symptoms)
  • In the neck (upper – cervical – spine)
  • At the top of the shin bone in the lower leg
  • Behind the heel of the foot (inflammation – enthesitis – in the Achilles tendon)
  • Under the heel of the foot
  • In the chest (which can restrict breathing).

People with ankylosing spondylitis may also experience fatigue – a feeling of being tired and having low energy most of the time.

Tendons and ligaments in various parts of the body (in addition to those attached to the bones (vertebrae) of the lower spine) may become inflamed and painful where they attach to bones. Common examples are the Achilles tendon where it attaches to the heel, and where chest muscles attach to the ribs.

Uveitis affects about 1 in 3 people with AS from time to time. Tell a doctor urgently if you have AS and develop a painful or red eye. If you develop uveitis, treatment with eye drops should be started as soon as possible after eye symptoms begin. Treatment of uveitis is usually successful. However, if not treated quickly there can be permanent loss of vision in the eye (partial or complete).

Associated diseases

Some other conditions develop more commonly than normal in people who have AS. For example, people with AS have a greater than average chance of developing ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, osteoporosis, lung fibrosis, cardiovascular disease (see later) and heart valve problems.

Treatment

Conventional treatment – The following two main approaches are typically used in the management of ankylosing spondylitis.

  • Painkillers and other drugs to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy and exercises to maintain movement and posture.

Surgery is used only rarely, in severe cases to correct great deformity – for example, when the spine is bent over too far – or to replace a joint, such as in hip replacement.

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – These drugs relieve pain and inflammation, and are commonly used to treat ankylosing spondylitis. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of NSAIDs.1 All NSAIDs work similarly by blocking substances called prostaglandins that contribute to inflammation and pain. However, each NSAID is a different chemical, and each has a slightly different effect on the body. Side effects of NSAIDs include stomach problems; skin rashes; high blood pressure; fluid retention; and liver, kidney, and heart problems.

 

  • Corticosteroids – These strong inflammation-fighting drugs are similar to the cortisone made by our bodies. If NSAIDs alone do not control inflammation in people with ankylosing spondylitis, doctors may inject corticosteroids directly into the affected joints to bring quick, but temporary relief. Injections may be given to the sacroiliac joint, hip joint, or knee joint, but are not given in the spine.

 

 

  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) – These drugs work in different ways to control the disease process of ankylosing spondylitis. The most commonly used DMARDs for ankylosing spondylitis are sulfasalazine and methotrexate.

 

  • Biologic Agents – These new class of medications are genetically engineered to block proteins involved in the body’s inflammatory response. Four biologics—adalimumab, etanercept, golimumab, and infliximab—are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating ankylosing spondylitis. All four work by suppressing a protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and are often effective for relieving symptoms when NSAIDs or other treatments are not. These drugs are taken by intravenous infusion or injection.

 

Physical Therapy – Physical therapy for ankylosing spondylitis can help to prevent symptoms and is tailored to individuals’ needs. In general, physical therapists will devise a program including exercises directed at the joints or that promote extension and mobility of the spine. Range-of-motion and stretching exercises can help maintain flexibility in the joints and preserve good posture. Proper sleep and walking positions and abdominal and back exercises can help maintain the upright posture.

 

Surgery – Most people with ankylosing spondylitis don’t need surgery. However, the doctor may recommend surgery if the patient has severe pain or joint damage, or if the hip joint is so damaged that it needs to be replaced.

 

Alternative Treatment

Supplements

Cod Liver Oil – Cod liver oil is an important omega-3 fat supplement. This supplement helps relieve inflammation in the entire body and reduces the pain and progression of the condition.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is an important vitamin that helps maintain good bone health. As such, a daily vitamin D supplement will help maintain the strength of the bones and prevent unusual growth.

Potassium – Potassium deficiency is one of the suspected causes of inflammatory conditions in the body. As such, a daily potassium supplement can help relieve general inflammation as well as treat ankylosis.

Probiotics – These should be a mainstay in any inflammatory condition. They can normalize the bowel flora and replace the bad bacteria with good intestinal microflora. Studies specific to their benefits in ankylosing spondylitis have been mixed, but they do have an effect on immune system modulation and are often included in any anti-inflammatory regimen.

Wobenzyme N – This is an enzyme supplement that is used in the treatment of inflammation and pain. Enzymes in this supplement include bromelain (from pineapple) and papain (from papaya).

Turmeric – It is a great anti-oxidant that can reduce inflammation and pain.

Tart Cherry Formula – Specifically Montmorency tart cherry extract is excellent for decreasing pain and inflammation.

Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency can promote inflammation and pain. For sore muscle and/or joints, the use of Magnesium gel or oil applied directly to the area can promote healing and reduce inflammation and increase joint and muscle mobility and flexibility.

Morinda citrifolia (Noni) – This is a tropical plant from East Asia that has been used for many years. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the treatment of pain.

Complementary Treatent

Warm Soaks – A warm bath or shower is a natural way to relieve the pain and stiffness of ankylosing spondylitis.

Acupuncture – This ancient technique that involves inserting thin needles through the skin may stimulate your body’s natural pain relievers.

Message – Massage therapy, when performed by a therapist accustomed to working with ankylosing spondylitis.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – TENS involves passing an electric current through the skin. It may work on the same principle as acupuncture — by bringing about the release of the body’s natural pain relievers.

 

Reference

http://www.coloradoarthritis.com/ankylosing-spondylitis-englewood.html

http://www.arthritisireland.ie/go/information/booklets/ankylosing_spondylitis

http://www.efpia.eu/diseases/110/59/Ankylosing-Spondylitis

http://www.efpia.eu/diseases/110/59/Ankylosing-Spondylitis

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Ankylosing-spondylitis/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

http://patient.info/health/ankylosing-spondylitis-leaflet

http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/ankylosing-spondylitis

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/basics/definition/con-20019766

http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Ankylosing_Spondylitis/

http://www.arthritis.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/4506_art_AS_newImages_4-0.pdf

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

Amyloidosis is defined as a group of diseases in which one or more organ systems in the body accumulate amyloid proteins. It is a condition in which too much of amyloid protein collects in the organs, so that they are not able to work normally. Amyloidosis can affect the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system, stomach or intestines. The condition is rare (affecting fewer than 4,000 people in the United States each year), but it can be fatal.

Amyloidosis is a rare and serious protein deposition disease. It is caused by an abnormal protein called amyloid that builds up in tissues or organs. These abnormal protein deposits (or amyloid) are relatively insoluble and therefore cannot be easily broken down by the body. As the amount of amyloid protein deposits increase in a tissue or organ, they interfere with the tissue or organ’s healthy function. Eventually, the amyloid protein deposits cause symptoms and organ failure.

Types of Amyloidosis –

Light chain (AL) amyloidosis -This is the most common type of amyloidosis in the United States. The amyloid proteins that build up in the tissues in this condition are known as light chains. They can either be kappa or lambda light chains. AL amyloidosis is a disorder of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell responsible for the production of immunoglobulins or antibodies, a type of protein that fights infection. In AL amyloidosis, these proteins are misshapen and produced in excess. They deposit in tissues, causing organ damage. AL amyloidosis can affect one or more organs. The heart, kidneys, nerves, and gastrointestinal system are the most common organs affected. Because AL amyloidosis is associated with the overproduction of plasma cell proteins, it is linked to multiple myeloma.

Autoimmune (AA) amyloidosis – In this condition, the amyloid protein that builds up in the tissues is called the A protein. AA amyloidosis is associated with some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory bowel disease. It may also be linked to aging. AA amyloidosis can affect the spleen, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, and lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped organs that fight infection.

Hereditary or familial (AF) amyloidosis – Hereditary amyloidosis is rare. It is a specific type of amyloidosis that can be passed down from generation to generation within a family. It may cause issues relating to the central nervous system, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eye abnormalities. The most common subtypes involve a protein called transthyretin (TTR).

Causes

No one knows what causes amyloidosis. There may be more than one cause. Hereditary amyloidosis results from genetic changes that cause the body to make abnormal proteins. Researchers think that as we get older, damage builds up in the body and triggers the disease. This kind of damage may come from the body’s use of oxygen (oxidation) and from free radicals (harmful byproducts formed when cells use energy). Amyloid is also more likely to form in people who have immune system problems. Once amyloid deposits start, they seem to continue building up in the same locations. The heart, kidneys, nervous system, and GI tract are the most commonly affected.

Who is at Risk?

  • Men – two thirds of people with AL are men.
  • People over age 50 – even in people with hereditary forms, doctors usually detect amyloid deposits severe enough to cause problems later in life.
  • Disease affecting the antibody-producing plasma cells in the blood (such as multiple myeloma, malignant lymphoma, benign monoclonal gammopathy, or Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia)
  • Chronic infectious or inflammatory disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, familial Mediterranean fever, or ankylosing spondylitis)
  • Long-term dialysis
  • Inherited genetic changes that affect proteins in the body

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of amyloidosis may include –

  • Swelling of your ankles and legs
  • Severe fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness, tingling or pain in your hands or feet, especially pain in your wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Diarrhea, possibly with blood, or constipation
  • Feeling full quickly when eating, and significant weight loss
  • An enlarged tongue
  • Skin changes, such as thickening or easy bruising, and purplish patches around the eyes
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty swallowing

Other Complications –

  • Heart – Because amyloid protein deposits can limit the heart’s ability to fill with blood between beats, even the slightest exertion can cause shortness of breath. If the heart’s electrical system is affected, the heart’s rhythm may become erratic. The heart may also be enlarged and heart murmurs may be present. Congestive heart failure may result.
  • Kidneys – The feet, ankles, and calves swell when amyloidosis damages the kidneys. The kidneys become small and hard, and kidney failure may result. It is not unusual for a patient to lose 20-25 pounds and develop a distaste for meat, eggs, and other protein-rich foods. Cholesterol elevations that don’t respond to medication and protein in the urine (proteinuria) are common.
  • Nervous system – Nervous system symptoms often appear in patients with familial amyloidosis. Inflammation and degeneration of the peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy) may be present. One of four patients with amyloidosis has carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful disorder that causes numbness or tingling in response to pressure on nerves around the wrist. Amyloidosis that affects nerves to the feet can cause burning or numbness in the toes and soles and eventually weaken the legs. If nerves controlling bowel function are involved, bouts of diarrhea alternate with periods of constipation. If the disease affects nerves that regulate blood pressure, patients may feel dizzy or faint when they stand up suddenly.
  • Liver and spleen – The most common symptoms are enlargement of these organs. Liver function is not usually affected until quite late in the course of the disease. Protein accumulation in the spleen can increase the risk of rupture of this organ due to trauma.
  • Gastrointestinal system – The tongue may be inflammed, enlarged, and stiff. Intestinal movement (motility) may be reduced. Absorption of food and other nutrients may be impaired (and may lead to malnutrition), and there may also be bleeding, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
  • Skin – Skin symptoms occur in about half of all cases of primary and secondary amyloidosis and in all cases where there is inflammation or degeneration of the peripheral nerves. Waxy-looking raised bumps (papules) may appear on the face and neck, in the groin, armpits, or anal area, and on the tongue or in the ear canals. Swelling, hemorrhage beneath the skin (purpura), hair loss, and dry mouth may also occur.
  • Respiratory system – Airways may be obstructed by amyloid deposits in the nasal sinus, larynx and traches (windpipe).

Treatment

  • Diuretics to relieve swelling caused by fluid retention
  • Anti-arrhythmics to control heart rhythm
  • Metoclopramide to help empty food from the stomach
  • Antibiotics to control bacteria that may cause diarrhea or prevent the body from absorbing nutrients
  • Anti-inflammatory/immune suppressive therapy to reduce amyloid precursor load
  • Dialysis, if the kidneys are failing
  • Peripheral blood stem cell transplantation – During peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, high-dose chemotherapy is administered along with transfusion of stem cells (immature blood cells) to replace damaged bone marrow. These stem cells may come from the patient (autologous transplant) or from a donor (allogeneic transplant). Autologous transplant is the preferred method.
  • Anti-cancer medication (“antineoplastics”) – Melphalan (Alkeran®), an agent used to treat certain types of cancer, has been prescribed to amyloidosis patients as well. Other types of chemotherapy treatments, like melphalan with high-dose dexamethasone or VAD (vincristine, adriamycin and dexamethasone), are being tested for safety and efficacy in the treatment of amyloidosis. Other medications, including thalidomide, a drug used to treat multiple myeloma, are also being tested for their ability to inhibit the disease.
  • Corticosteroids -Corticosteroids like prednisone have been prescribed to amyloidosis patients because of their anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Liver transplantation – For hereditary amyloidosis, one possible therapy may be liver transplantation because the protein that causes this form of amyloidosis is produced in the liver.

Alternative Treatment

DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) – DMSO may change the course of amyloidosis if treatment is started early. However, there is not much scientific support for this claim.

Germanium – Studies suggests that germanium compounds may prevent amyloidosis. Results can only be considered preliminary at this time.

Resveratrol – Preliminary data suggests that resveratrol may play a role in the prevention of amyloidosis. High quality clinical research is needed to better understand this relationship.

Omega-3s – These are also essential dietary elements when suffering from amyloidosis. Commonly found in many types of meat, these beneficial fatty acids, particularly the type found in fish oil, can significantly protect your heart and vascular system, ensuring that your circulatory system remains healthy and functioning properly, while also reducing the chances of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis, which can quicken the complications of amyloidosis in the cardiovascular system.

Vitamin C – Study suggested that high doses of vitamin C may help the body break down amyloid and prevent amyloidosis from worsening, but there is no evidence this works in humans.

Bromelain – An enzyme derived from pineapple, fights inflammation and may help break down amyloid deposits in kidney tissue, though evidence is slight. Bromelain is often combined with turmeric, which strengthens its effects. Bromelain can interact with certain medications including some antibiotics.

Glutathione is an antioxidant produced by the body. Low levels may be associated with higher levels of beta2-microglobulin in people on dialysis with or without amyloidosis.

Quercetin is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It has not been studied for amyloidosis.

Gingko extract also contains flavonoids. It has been suggested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Reference –

http://www-sop.inria.fr/axis/cost282/kelsi04/Brito/Brito1.pdf

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/356/1406/203

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/amyloidosis/nac/amyloidosis-overview

http://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/amyloidosis/amyloidosis

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-amyloidosis

http://patient.info/doctor/amyloidosis-pro

http://www.amyloidosissupport.org/AmyloidAware_Booklet.pdf

http://www.amyloidosissupport.org/AmyloidAware_Booklet.pdf

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/amyloidosis-symptoms-causes-treatments

http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/amyloidosis

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/335414-overview

Posted in AUTOIMMUNE
February 3, 2017

Sinusitis is an inflammation or infection of the sinuses, the air-filled chambers in the skull that are located around the nose. Symptoms of sinusitis include thick nasal discharge, facial pain or pressure, fever, and reduced sense of smell. Depending on how long these symptoms last, sinusitis is classified as acute, subacute, chronic, or recurrent. Viruses are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, but bacteria are responsible for most of the serious cases.

Sinusitis, also called rhinosinusitis, affects about 1 in 8 adults annually and generally occurs when viruses or bacteria infect the sinuses (often during a cold) and begin to multiply. Part of the body’s reaction to the infection causes the sinus lining to swell, blocking the channels that drain the sinuses. This causes mucus and pus to fill up the nose and sinus cavities.

What are Sinuses?

Sinuses are hollow spaces in the bones around the nose that connect to the nose through small, narrow channels. The sinuses stay healthy when the channels are open, which allows air from the nose to enter the sinuses and mucus made in the sinuses to drain into the nose.

Four pairs of sinuses, known as the paranasal air sinuses, connect to the nasal passages (the two airways running through the nose):

  • Frontal sinuses (behind the forehead)
  • Maxillary sinuses (behind the cheekbones)
  • Ethmoid sinuses (behind the nose)
  • Sphenoid sinuses (behind the eyes)

Sinusitis occurs if obstruction or congestion cause the paranasal sinus openings to become blocked. When the sinus openings become blocked or too much mucus builds up in the chambers, bacteria and other germs can grow more easily, leading to infection and inflammation.

Types of Sinusitis

  • Acute sinusitis gives rise to severe symptoms but is usually short-lived. Acute sinusitis usually occurs following a cold. Typically a green-yellow nasal discharge occurs a week or more after the onset of the cold and this is associated with severe pain around the cheeks, eyes and/or forehead. This may be associated with swelling and a high fever along with toothache.

 

  • Chronic sinusitis is sinusitis that continues for many weeks. Chronic sinusitis may be caused by an acute sinus infection which fails to resolve or as a result of an underlying allergy affecting the lining membranes of the nose and sinuses. Common symptoms include nasal obstruction, headache, nasal discharge, low grade fever, reduced sense of smell, facial pain and halitosis.

 

Causes

Infections – Most adults will get colds and upper respiratory tract infections up to three times a year. Children get them more frequently. Bacterial infections often follow the common cold. When the mucus changes from clear to yellow or green it usually means a bacterial infection has developed. Both viral and bacterial infections cause swelling of the tissues inside the nose and thickening of the normal mucus. This slows down or even stops proper sinus drainage and infection in the sinus may ensue.

Irritants – Air pollution, smoke and chemical irritants, for example some sprays containing pesticides, disinfectants and household detergents, may cause swelling and blockage of the lining of the nose causing a narrowing of the drainage opening from the sinuses. This can once again lead to impairment of sinus drainage and consequent infection.

Allergies – Allergies can cause inflammation inside the nose. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sneezing and itchy watery eyes. Chronic sinusitis is sometimes associated with asthma. Allergies are responsible for asthma in some patients and may also cause nasal stuffiness making the asthma more difficult to control.

Structural problems – Occasionally structural problems within the nasal cavity can cause a narrowing. Some of these can be caused as a result of trauma while others may develop during the growth period. Occasionally the structural narrowing can be so severe that mucus builds up behind these areas of blockage giving rise to sinus infection.

Risk Factors

  • Certain factors increase a person’s susceptibility to sinusitis, including:
  • Frequent colds (especially for young children)
  • Cigarette smoking (active or passive)
  • Regular use of nasal decongestant sprays (for more than two to three days)
  • Untreated hay fever or other allergies
  • Structural abnormalities of the nose
  • Nasal polyps (swellings in the linings of the nose or sinuses)
  • Dental disease, such as untreated tooth abscess.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of sinusitis include

  • Postnasal drip
  • Discolored nasal discharge (greenish in color)
  • Nasal stuffiness or congestion
  • Tenderness of the face (particularly under the eyes or at the bridge of the nose)
  • Frontal headaches
  • Pain in the teeth
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath

Sinus disease is often confused with rhinitis, a medical term used to describe the symptoms that accompany nasal inflammation and irritation. Rhinitis only involves the nasal passages. It could be caused by a cold or allergies.

Allergies can play an important role in chronic (long-lasting) or seasonal rhinitis episodes. Nasal and sinus passages become swollen, congested, and inflamed in an attempt to flush out offending inhaled particles that trigger allergies. Pollen are seasonal allergens. Molds, dust mites and pet dander can cause symptoms year-round.

Asthma also has been linked to chronic sinus disease. Some people with a chronic nasal inflammation and irritation and/or asthma can develop a type of chronic sinus disease that is not caused by infection. Appropriate treatment of sinus disease often improves asthma symptoms.

Complications

Asthma flare-ups – Chronic sinusitis can trigger an asthma attack.

Meningitis – This infection causes inflammation of the membranes and fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord.

Vision problems – If infection spreads to your eye socket, it can cause reduced vision or even blindness that can be permanent.

Aneurysms or blood clots – Infection can cause problems in the veins surrounding the sinuses, interfering with blood supply to your brain and putting you at risk of a stroke.

Osteomyelitis – Adolescent males with acute frontal sinusitis are at particular risk for severe problem. n such cases, the patient usually experiences headache, fever, and a soft swelling over the bone known as Pott’s puffy tumor.

Treatment

Antibiotics – Antibiotics are standard treatments for bacterial sinusitis. Antibiotics are usually taken from 3 to 28 days, depending on the type of antibiotic. Because the sinuses are deep-seated in the bones, and blood supply is limited, longer treatments may be prescribed for people with longer lasting or severe cases. Antibiotics help eliminate sinus disease by attacking the bacteria that cause it, but until the drugs take effect, they do not do much to alleviate symptoms. Some over-the-counter medications can help provide relief.

Nasal decongestant sprays – Topical nasal decongestants can be helpful if used for no more than three to four days. These medications shrink swollen nasal passages, facilitating the flow of drainage from the sinuses. Overuse of topical nasal decongestants can result in a dependent condition in which the nasal passages swell shut, called rebound phenomenon.

Antihistamines – Antihistamines block inflammation caused by an allergic reaction so they can help to fight symptoms of allergies that can lead to swollen nasal and sinus passages.

Nasal decongestants and antihistamines – Over-the-counter combination drugs should be used with caution. Some of these drugs contain drying agents that can thicken mucus. Only use them when prescribed by your doctor.

Topical nasal corticosteroids – These prescription nasal sprays prevent and reverse inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages and sinus openings, addressing the biggest problem associated with sinusitis. Topical nasal corticosteroid sprays are also effective in shrinking and preventing the return of nasal polyps. These sprays at the normal dose are not absorbed into the blood stream and could be used over long periods of time without developing “addiction.”

Nasal saline washes – Nasal rinses can help clear thickened secretions from the nasal passages.

Surgery – If drug therapies have failed, surgery may be recommended as a last resort. It is usually performed by an otolaryngologist. Anatomical defects are the most common target of surgery.

Alternative Treatment

Bromelain – Several studies suggest that bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapples, may help reduce inflammation and swelling and relieve symptoms of sinusitis.

Quercetin – Quercetin is a flavonoid, a plant pigment responsible for the colors found in fruits and vegetables.

Probiotics – Probiotics, or “friendly” bacteria, may be helpful if you are taking antibiotics for sinusitis. They may also reduce your chances of developing allergies. Probiotics may not be appropriate for certain people who are extremely immunocompromised or who take immunosuppresent drugs.

N-acetylcysteine – NAC is a modified form of a dietary amino acid that works as an antioxidant in the body. It also helps thin mucus.

Sinupret – The herbs it contains may work by thinning mucus and helping the sinuses drain, and they may also help strengthen the immune system.

Chiropractic – Although no studies have examined using chiropractic to treat sinusitis, some practitioners suggest it may decrease pain and improve sinus drainage for some people.

Posted in ALLERGIES
February 3, 2017

Migraines are a type of recurring severe headache that can cause you to have time off work and need to rest in bed. They are often accompanied by feeling sick, vomiting or an increased sensitivity to light.

It’s estimated that about 36 million Americans suffer from migraine, but only 1 of every 3 people talk with a doctor about their headaches. Of those, only half get the right diagnosis.

Women are roughly three times more likely to get migraines than men. About four in every 20 women get migraines, while only about one in every 20 men do. You can get migraines for the first time at any age, but they commonly start during the teenage years.

In general, a migraine is a very bad headache that tends to come back. It may occur as often as several times a week or only once every few years. It can last anywhere from a few hours to 3 days. The pain usually begins in the morning, on one side of the head. (In fact, the word migraine is derived from a Greek word that means “half-head.”) Less frequently, the entire head is swallowed up by pain.

The amount of pain can vary. Some migraines can be fairly mild, while others seem almost unbearable. Obviously, the worse the pain, the more trouble you have carrying out daily activities, whether it’s going to work or simply getting out of bed. Of course, different people have different abilities to put up with pain. For some people, even a mild migraine can force them to lie down; others are able to work through a more severe migraine.

Two types of migraines

While there are many variations, there are two main types of migraines –

Migraine without aura (previously called common migraine) – Almost 80 percent of migraine sufferers have this type of migraine.

Migraine with aura (previously called classic migraine) – This type of migraine announces itself about a half-hour before the onset of head pain with an aura.

Aura is a term used to describe the visual or sensory symptoms that some people get when their migraine is starting. The following are less common types of migraine –

  • Retinal migraines are headaches associated with visual changes in one eye only.
  • Abdominal migraines are associated with stomach pains, and happen more often in children.
  • Menstrual migraines can happen in women two days before their period starts or finishes.
  • Status migrainosus are migraines that can last for a few weeks.

Migraine is a medical condition that can have a big effect on your life and others caring for you. It can affect your daily life and can mean taking time off work or school.

 

 

Causes

There are many theories that discuss the causes of migraine. The cortical spreading depression (CSD) theory suggests that migraine is a disease of the brain such as angina is a disease of the heart. Disruption of normal brain functioning is believed to be the underlying cause of the migraine pain and aura. Another theory is the vascular theory which suggests that migraines result from the widening of blood vessels surrounding the brain. The chemical serotonin is also thought to play an important role in migraine development. While the precise cause of migraines remains unknown, a number of potential migraine triggers (habits or conditions associated with the onset of a migraine) have been identified.

Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, but many cannot. Potential migraine triggers include –

  • Allergies and allergic reactions
  • Bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells and certain odors or perfumes
  • Physical or emotional stress, tension, anxiety, depression, excitement
  • Physical triggers such as tiredness, jet lag, exercise
  • Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke
  • Skipping meals or fasting causing low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol
  • Hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, menopause
  • Tension headaches
  • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs and salami)
  • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickled foods
  • Medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy.
  • A higher percentage of obese people have episodic (occasional) migraines compared to individuals with a healthy body weight.
  • Sudden weather changes, including a drop in barometric pressure or changes in temperature, humidity, or wind
  • Loud noises
  • Perfumes or fumes
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to glare or flickering lights

 

 

Symptoms

Migraine symptoms may begin one to two days before the headache itself. This is known as the migraine’s prodrome stage. Symptoms include –

  • Food cravings
  • Depression
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Frequent yawning
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Neck stiffness

Some people may also experience an aura after the prodrome stage. An aura causes visual, motor, and/or speech disturbances, such as –

  • Difficulty speaking clearly
  • Feeling a prickling or tingling sensation in the arms and legs
  • Flashes of light
  • Seeing shapes, light flashes or bright spots
  • Transient vision loss

The next phase is known as the attack phase. This is the most acute or severe of the phases when the actual migraine occurs. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from four hours to three days. Symptoms of a migraine can vary from person to person. Some symptoms may include –

  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea
  • Pain on one side of the head
  • Pulsing and/or throbbing pain
  • Vomiting

Risk Factors

Family history – You are much more likely to have migraines if one or both of your parents had migraines.

Sex – Women are more likely than men to have migraines.

Age – Most people have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.

Treatment

 

 

Medications

Analgesia – Over-the-counter medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (paracetamol), and other analgesics like Excedrin (aspirin with caffeine) are often the first abortive therapies to eliminate the headache or substantially reduce pain.

Anti-emetics – Metoclopramide may also be used to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

Serotonin agonists – Sumatriptan may also be prescribed for severe migraines or for migraines that are not responding to the over-the-counter medications. Antidepressants such as tricyclics – are prescribed to reduce migraine symptoms although they are not approved in all countries for this purpose.

Ergots – Another class of abortive treatments is called ergots, which are usually effective if administered at the first sign of a migraine.

Alternative Treatment

5-hydroxytryptophan – Body makes the amino acid 5-HTP and converts it into serotonin, an important brain chemical. Researchers think abnormal serotonin function in blood vessels may be related to migraines, and some of the drugs used to treat migraines work by affecting serotonin.

Magnesium – People with migraines often have lower levels of magnesium than people who do not have migraines, and several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels of magnesium.

Vitamin B2 – A few studies indicate that riboflavin may reduce the frequency and duration of migraines. In one study, people who took riboflavin had more than a 50% decrease in the number of attacks.

Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 can interact with several medications including blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), some cancer medications, and medications for high blood pressure.

Melatonin – Melatonin can interact with a number of medications, so ask your doctor before taking it.

Butterbur – A few studies suggest that butterbur may help reduce both the frequency and duration of migraine attacks when taken on a regular basis for up to 4 months. More research is needed to see whether butterbur is really effective at preventing migraines.

Feverfew – Feverfew has been used traditionally to treat headaches, and several well-designed studies have found that it may help prevent and treat migraines.

Acupuncture has been studied as a treatment for migraine headache for more than 20 years. While not all studies have shown it helps, researchers agree that acupuncture appears safe, and may work for some people.

Chiropractic – In another study, people with migraine headaches were randomly assigned to receive spinal manipulation, a daily medication (Elavil), or a combination of both. Spinal manipulation worked as well as Elavil in reducing migraines and had fewer side effects. Combining the 2 therapies didn’t work any better.

Reflexology is a technique that places pressure on specific “reflex points” on the hands and feet that are believed to correspond to areas throughout the body. Some early studies suggest it may relieve pain and allow people with migraines to take less pain medication.

Reference –

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/headache-migraine

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/basics/treatment/con-20026358

http://www.medicinenet.com/migraine/article.htm

http://www.migraine.org.uk/get-involved/events

https://www.acponline.org/patients_families/pdfs/health/migraine.pdf

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/migraines.html

http://www.migraines.org/myth/mythreal.htm

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/headache-migraine

Posted in ALLERGIES
February 3, 2017

Leaky Gut also known as ‘Intestinal Permeability’ is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, in turn causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to leak through the intestines and flood the bloodstream. The foreign substances entering the blood can cause an autoimmune response in the body including inflammatory and allergic reactions such as migraines, irritable bowel, eczema, chronic fatigue, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and more.

With a leaky gut, damaged cells in the intestine are unable to produce the enzymes needed for proper digestion. Hence, it5 becomes difficult for the body to absorb essential nutrients, causing hormonal imbalance and a weakened immune system.

In more scientific language, an increase in permeability of the intestinal mucosa to luminal macromolecules, antigens and toxins associated with inflammatory degenerative and/or atrophic mucosal damage. Once in the blood stream the immune system is the last line of defense to deal with these substances and it will eventually get overwhelmed if a Leaky Gut is not rectified.

Leaky Gut Syndrome is a very common condition in this day and age. It is the cause of much or our modern autoimmune illness: IBS, Chrons disease, allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, arthritic conditions, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, addison’s disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, thyroiditis. It is an illness that depicts our modern times.

Causes

In most cases, leaky gut is caused by the diet. Certain foods, like gluten, soy and dairy, act as foreign invaders of the gut. When these foods are consumed, the body goes into war, i.e, producing antibodies, as a result of a triggered immune response that includes diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and joint pain.

Leaky gut can also be caused by medications including antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen, which can irritate the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can start or continue the inflammation cycle that leads to intestinal permeability.Alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are well-known irritants of the bowel lining.

The key and most common cause of Leaky Gut is Candida. Candida is a yeast-fungal organism that grows roots like a plant. These roots grow into and through the intestinal tract looking for food. These roots break through the intestinal lining and cause the leaky gut.

Our intestinal lining replaces itself approximately every 24 hours. This means that every cell that the lining is composed of is digested, and a new one grows to take its place. All this activity means the gut uses more blood when it is resting than any other organ but it is also the first to lose its blood supply when in a fight or flight situation, which is what stress is. If you have a lot of stress then your gut will always be starved for blood and the lining will be impaired.

Zinc is a critical piece of maintaining a strong intestinal lining. A deficiency of the vitamin can lead to the mucosal lining losing strength and becoming more permeable. There are studies that show that supplementing with Zinc when it is deficient can dramatically improve intestinal lining integrity

Certain conditions and treatments

The following conditions and treatments can also damage the seals in the bowel lining:

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases – such as Crohn’s disease
  • Infections of the intestines – such as salmonella, norovirus and giardiasis
  • Coeliac disease
  • Chemotherapy medicines
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Radiotherapy to the abdomen (tummy)
  • Immunosuppressants (medicines that weaken the immune system)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Tystic Fibrosis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Sepsis
  • Complicated Surgery

Factors that worsen Leaky Gut –

  • Alcohol and caffeine, which irritate the gut wall, this includes cokes (diet and regular), chocolate, coffee, and cocoa.
  • Contaminated foods, E. coli and other bacteria’s can develop due to poor food handling.
  • Chemicals found in processed and fermented foods (dyes and preservatives), wine, vinegar, soy sauce, tofu, etc.
  • A diet high in refined sugars and other carbohydrates (e.g. candy, cookies, sodas, processed foods and white bread).
  • Foods contaminated by parasites (pork, chicken, fresh water and hatchery fish).
  • Antibiotic use-this causes an overgrowth of fungi (yeast) in the gut due to the immune suppression that occurs.
  • Ingestion of animal products that have been given hormonal and antibiotic treatments.
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Symptoms

  • The long-term net result of the leaky gut is the likely development of autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissues. There are some 80 recognized autoimmune diseases. These include:
  • Lupus
  • Alopecia areata
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Polymyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis rheumatica
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Celiac disease
  • Vitiligo syndrome
  • Thyroiditis
  • Vasculitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Diabetes
  • Psoriasis

Physicians are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the GI tract in the development of autoimmune diseases. In fact, researchers now estimate that more than two-thirds of all immune activity occurs in the gut. Allergies can develop when the body produces antibodies to the undigested proteins derived from previously harmless foods. These antibodies can get into any tissue and trigger an inflammatory reaction when that food is eaten. Depending on where this inflammation occurs in the body—in the joints, brain, lungs, blood vessels or gut—a variety of chronic illnesses can develop as a result.

Other disorders that are associated with leaky gut include eczema, psoriasis, pancreatic insufficiency, candidiasis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), multiple chemical sensitivities and even heart disease. Leaky gut can aggravate existing conditions as well, for it can give rise to such symptoms as:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes
  • Memory deficit
  • Shortness of breath

Leaky gut syndrome can also cause malabsorption andthus deficiencies of many important nutrients—vitamins, minerals and amino acids—due to inflammation and thepresence of potent toxins. This malabsorption can alsocause gas, bloating and cramps, and can eventually lead to such complaints as fatigue, headaches, memory loss, poor concentration and irritability.

Treatment

Medications – Band-aid treatment with corticosteroids, prescription broad-spectrum antibiotics, and immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed for acute episodes of pain, bleeding or severe inflammation of the gut. However, there is no conventional treatment that resolves a leaky gut.

Alternative treatment

Probiotics – Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because it helps replenish good bacteria and crowds out bad bacteria. They play essential roles that not only fight off the bad bacteria, but also reduce inflammation in the gut.

Digestive Enzymes– Digestive enzymes are critical to properly breaking down the foods we eat. They are found naturally in the raw form of foods to help break them down. The plant based enzymes will break down food into very small particles before it leaves the stomach, preventing large undigested molecules from irritating the intestinal lining and increasing nutritional uptake. They also work through the intestines acting as garbage collectors by removing toxins, bacteria, and damaged cells of the mucosal lining. The whole process gives the gut a clean slate of healthy cells to rebuild with. While the leaky gut permeability remains, they do the same garbage collecting in the bloodstream if they are passed through the intestinal lining. The bromelain and papain enzymes or pancreatic animal tissues (porcine, bovine, lamb) and aloe vera juice are shown to reduce inflammation in the gut lining and throughout other tissues in the body, allowing the immune system and the liver some reprieve.

Nutritional Supplementing – The conditions that lead to leaky gut can also cause mal-absorption and improper digestion, both of which are going to leave you with nutritional deficiencies. First and foremost: supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, large amounts of vitamin D, and Zinc will help the intestinal lining return to normal

L-Glutamineis critical for any program designed to heal leaky gut. Glutamine is an essential amino acid that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. L-glutamine benefits include acting as a protector: coating your cell walls and acting as a repellent to irritants.

Licorice Root (DGL)is an adaptogenic herb that helps balance cortisol levels and improves acid production in the stomach. DGL supports the body’s natural processes for maintaining the mucosal lining of the stomach and duodenum. This herb is especially beneficial if someone’s leaky gut is being caused by emotional stress.

Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut barrier function by sealing the gut because it supports creation of tight junction proteins. It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance. New studies have also shown its effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis.

Essential fatty acids– Milledflax, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil, olive oil, fish oil, black current seed oil; soluble fiber – pysillium seed husks and powder, apple and citrus pectin, the rice derived gamma oryzanol.

Plant Extract – Kudzu, various high chlorophyll containing green drinks like spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae, burdock, slippery elm, Turkish rhubarb, sheep sorrel, licorice root, ginger root, goldenseal, bismuth and bentonite.

Colostrum – Colostrum has been clinically proven to heal leaky gut and increase immune response.

 

Reference –

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://www.womentowomen.com/digestive-health/healing-leaky-gut-syndrome-open-the-door-to-good-health-2/

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome

http://draxe.com/4-steps-to-heal-leaky-gut-and-autoimmune-disease/

http://www.purehealingfoods.com/infoLeakyGut.php

Posted in ALLERGIES