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Corticosteroid therapy & immune system question

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hachiban08 View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 25 2020 at 12:23pm
Hey guys, I had a question. I was doing some reading and saw that steroid therapy can affect the immune system somewhat. I was wondering to what extent that was, around how long, and what were some good immune system boosting things could be added to preps (other than Vitamin C). I didn't respond very well to some pain medicines for joint pain (had allergic reactions to two of them), Ibuprofen does basically nothing for my joint pain (but helps with other pain), so the next step became cortisone shots. Thanks for any help - be it immune boosting prep suggestions or any more info about steroid injections. :)
Be prepared! It may be time....^_^v
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2020 at 1:22pm
Yes they do, but don't worry too much. The reason it is in injection form, is because steroids don't travel in or out of the joint to any great degree.

Coronavirus is not any great threat to your knees.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence. & Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
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hachiban08 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hachiban08 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2020 at 1:54pm
That's good to know. I've used prednisone (oral) in the past when I was in college for my pain and did not like how I felt on it. They've considered using that again, but I'm not entirely sure I want to go that route again.
Be prepared! It may be time....^_^v
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Hazelpad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Hazelpad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2020 at 7:15pm

Prednisone is a steroid and it does suppress the immune system.  It suppresses inflammation. 

Inflammation is part of the immune system and is the end result of many immune cascade pathways. 

 Inflammation is a protective function. We sense something that has breached us, or caused damage and we flood area with immune cells and immune components.  It changes our blood flow to the area so more protective cells can come in.  It walls off infection  preventing bacteria etc escaping. A lot of immune  cells that reach the area are held in an inactive state. Being bathed in all the inflammatory mediators activates them and  makes them like rabid wolves chasing sheep.  

 Once the threat is over the inflammatory mediators change to ones that promote repair and healing.

In many autoimmune conditions the target antigen is our own tissue.  We have lost what they call immunotolerance to the self antigen and we attack ourselves.  The inflammation is now ongoing and doesn't resolve because this self antigen is always present.  It's not a bacteria,virus etc that can be gotten rid of. 

 Having constant inflammation with autoimmunity  isnt good.  For example a high amount of anti inflammatories in the blood can dislodge plaques, in joints it can reduce mobility, I used to make tissue cultures from synovial membranes removed at surgery for research purposes.  The synovial membranes are usually paper thin but in patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis they were thick and full of immune cells.  More like tonsils than membranes. 

So in answer to your question.  Steroids definitely have a place in helping people with chronic autoimmune driven inflammation.  They can prevent further damage and sometimes are enough to turn the cycle of inflammation off.

The flip side is that they do weakened part of the immune system when taking them.  Short term doses are fine but prolonged se at high doses can cause immunosuppression.

I guess it's a balance.  Perhaps your doctor would be happy for you not to start steroids again for the next few months with all that's going on.   If you are taking them though dont ever just stop as that is dangerous.  Definitely worth having a discussion with them.

Anyway I have waffled on enough


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hachiban08 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hachiban08 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 07 2020 at 10:55pm

Thank you so much for your very thorough explanation, Hazelpad. That's actually part of why I had to get steroids in the past. NSAIDs hadn't seem to really been helping with the pain from my inflammation. However, they do suspect an inflammatory arthritis given how long this has been going on. The doctor actually decided to hold off on the injections and also had considered prednisone oral again, but is holding off for now. Probably given what is going on. I have heard that before that stopping steroids cold turkey has serious consequences. That was why people put it on their medi-alert bracelets/tags, I believe.

Be prepared! It may be time....^_^v
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