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kasey rodrigues

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Published on: 01 Feb 2017 by kaseyrod

Combatting for your immune system

Immunosuppression is the suppression of the human body’s defense system thus compromising its ability to fight infections caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, and other foreign parasites. One can be “immune-compromised” by the causative agent of the infection itself as in the case of AIDS, or by taking immunosuppression drugs.

Immunosuppression drugs interfere with the body’s ability to produce T-cells and B-cells which are essential components of the body’s immune system as they produce antibodies to counter intruder proteins.  As medically enchanting as that sounds, immunosuppresses are anything but candy!

Immunosuppresses are typically used to treat a handful of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Cohn’s disease, some non-autoimmune inflammatory conditions like asthma, and are also used post chemotherapy in cancer patients but they are most widely used in organ transplants and other forms of donor to host grafts in order to prevent tissue rejection. And as much as a necessity they are for the success of the procedure, immunosuppression drugs can at times prove to be a bigger problem than the medical condition they are used to treat.

A number of immunosuppression drugs are employed to induce immune deficiency, which includes corticosteroids, Tacrolimus, Cyclosporine, Mycophenolate, Azathioprine, and Sirolimus.

One of the major side effects of induced immunodeficiency with the use of corticosteroids is osteoporosis – a chronic condition often seen in post-menopausal women and old aged people characteristic of brittle bones that are highly susceptible to fractures. The bad news is also that any bone in the body can be affected by these drugs.

Several immunosuppressive drugs particularly those derived from Tacrolimus and Cyclosporine have also been linked to a decrease in muscular function. These drugs are responsible for causing delays and decrease in muscular contraction, relaxation coordination and also a decrease in the muscle’s adaptability to meet specific demands we place upon them while using them. Some drugs also affect the inability of a person to get handful hours of sleep and they tend to wake up between the nights due to some kind of a hallucinating effect. These patients saw a decrease in the number of hours they slept irrespective of changing the entire bedroom of theirs. They were also seen using best mattresses some of them even were called queen mattress for sale spending hefty sums but to no effect. This is what drugs of any kind do to you!   

Corticosteroids also adversely affect muscle fibers, particularly those that contract rapidly to produce immediate force or power so we can respond quickly. They also affect the muscle’s ability to synthesize muscle protein and energy in an effective manner rendering them weaker.

High blood sugar and secondary diabetes are two other common side-effects of Immunosuppressive drugs. Post-transplant diabetes mellitus has emerged as an adversity of immunosuppression in recent drug therapy especially for those patients on Cyclosporin and Tacrolimus. The condition may arise by the body either developing a resistance to the hormone or failing to secrete it all together by a direct toxic effect on beta cells. For corticosteroids, the induction of insulin resistance seems to be the predominant factor. Thus, in the long run, immunosuppression greatly increases the chances of a fatality caused by a cardiac disease by their ability to cause three different adverse effects: Dyslipidaemia, hypertension, and hyperglycemia.

Abandoning immunosuppression prescription without your doctor’s consultation is obviously a bad idea. However, by making several lifestyle changes such as altering your diet, exercising can help you to put yourself at ease while undergoing a treatment dependent on immunosuppressive drugs.

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