Effective Treatment for Chronic Autoimmune Conditions
04.12.2023 WELLNESS 0.0 0

autoimmune system


Autoimmune diseases are an anomaly. Although they are very common, the cause of them remains unknown. 

The nature of autoimmune conditions, in which the immune system attacks the body it is supposed to protect, adds to their mystery. All of this uncertainty only provides additional stress to those affected by these conditions and their loved ones. Fortunately, modern medicine makes it possible for autoimmune disease patients to live relatively normal lives.

Here are a few of the treatment options. 

1. Therapeutic Plasma Exchange

Our immune systems respond to threats from foreign bodies, such as bacteria and viruses, by creating antibodies. Antibodies attach themselves to these invaders and eventually destroy them. 

When someone suffers from an autoimmune condition, their immune system recognizes a part of their body as a threat. It sends autoantibodies to attack it, leading to conditions such as psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis in the joints and muscles, and Crohn’s disease in the digestive tract. One way of preventing autoantibodies from attacking the body is removing them from the bloodstream entirely.

During a plasma exchange procedure, small amounts of blood are extracted from the body and then run through a machine that separates it into red blood cells, white blood cells, and plasma. The plasma is removed and replaced with a substitute, and then the cells are added back into it. Eventually, the blood is re-infused into the body. The therapy typically takes place over several sessions and can remove up to 70 percent of the autoantibodies. 

2. Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG)

Unlike plasma exchange procedures, in which antibodies are removed from the body, IVIG therapy seeks to overwhelm the immune system and prevent it from attacking itself by infusing it with new antibodies. 

Immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, naturally exist in all our bloodstreams. There are many different immunoglobulin types, but all of them are specialized proteins with a carbohydrate group attached to their chain. As mentioned earlier, they play a key role in combating bodily infections. 

If you’re wondering what to expect during IVIG treatment, you should plan to set aside at least four hours of your day. Leading up to the day of the first procedure, you should focus on consuming fluids and electrolytes to avoid headaches after a dose has been administered. 

During the procedure, a single large dose of immunoglobulin obtained through the healthy blood of a donor will be infused into your bloodstream intravenously. After you receive several doses, the doctor should be able to determine whether the treatment is effective. IVIG therapy has proven to be a highly effective treatment option for autoimmune disease patients. 

3. Immunosuppressant Drugs  

For some patients, immunosuppressant drugs offer a convenient yet effective way to manage their autoimmune condition. 

Immunosuppressant drugs do exactly what their name suggests: They suppress the immune system’s response to infection. Upon administration, they prevent the immune system from operating at full strength when responding to perceived threats. This, in turn, reduces the damage to targeted parts of the body. 

While immunosuppressant drugs cannot be used to manage every form of autoimmune condition, they are effective against some of the more common forms of it, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and ulcerative colitis. The drugs not only reduce the severity of the symptoms of autoimmune conditions but can also put them into remission. 

It’s worth noting that there are risks associated with taking immunosuppressants. Limiting the immune system’s response to infection raises the possibility of a patient contracting a range of illnesses in parts of the body, such as the blood, skin, and respiratory system. Doctors can help their patients weigh the risks and decide if taking the drugs is the right course of action for them. 

4. Short-Term Pain Management Drugs

There are a number of options available for patients searching for short-term relief from pain caused by autoimmune diseases. 

Unlike the treatments mentioned earlier, many of these drugs do not require a prescription. For example, patients can purchase non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen and Meloxicam, at their local pharmacy. There are also higher-strength versions of NSAIDs available through a doctor’s prescription. 

In cases of more severe flare-ups, patients may need to take steroidal medication. These treatments address inflammation throughout the body and are typically taken over the course of brief periods orally or through injection. Some common steroidal medications include prednisone and dexamethasone.

Both non-steroidal and steroidal drugs offer autoimmune condition patients the pain relief they need to go about their daily lives. 

Help is Available

Receiving an autoimmune condition diagnosis can be scary. It can often feel as though few can relate to the pain and confusion you’re feeling. While there is still much work to be done in discovering the cause of autoimmune diseases, you should feel some relief in knowing there are treatment options available to you. 


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TAGS:Health, autoimmune diseases

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