Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autoimmunity and Endocrinology 101

There has been alot of health stuff going on with me right now and just thought I would help to shed some light on what actually is happening...
First let me give you some explanations so you can understand me better--

Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body attacks its own cells.

Endocrinology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorder of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones.

The thyroid is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body. This gland is found in the neck inferior to (below) the thyroid cartilage (also known as the Adam's apple in men) and at approximately the same level as the cricoid cartilage. The thyroid controls how quickly the body burns energy, makes proteins, and how sensitive the body should be to other hormones.

The thyroid participates in these processes by producing thyroid hormones, principally thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of many other systems in the body. Iodine is an essential component of both T3 and T4. The thyroid also produces the hormone calcitonin, which plays a role in calcium homeostasis.

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) are the most common problems of the thyroid gland.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease where the body's own T-cells attack the cells of the thyroid. It was the first disease to be recognised as an autoimmune disease.

Why do I share such info? So you can uderstand what follows.
Since Raeleigh was born I was terribly fatigued, was losing hair, my psoriasis was worsening (i even began to have pits in my fingernails, a psoriasis sympton I had not yet experienced) A few weeks ago I had my second bout with hashimoto's thyroiditis (my first was my sophomore year in college). My thyroid swole and was terribly sensitive. I was so very tired. I napped when the girls napped, I slept as late as I possibly could and I went to bed as early as possible. It felt alot like depression but with a bit of hypoglycemia mixed in.

I went to GP had my throid blood levels tested and he sent me to get an ultrasound. In the ultrasound they found a nodule. This scared me a bit.
My mom was 5 years older than I am when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. To rule out cancer they sent me to get a Radioactive Thyroid Uptake exam and thyroid scan at Hillcrest. I waited what felt like FOREVER for them to get back with me. Finally I got the call. NO hot or cold spots (a cold spot could mean cancer). BUt get this...
There was minimal uptake over the whole thyroid.
Translation--the WHOLE thyroid isnt working.
So THAT is why my psoriasis is worse, that is why my hair is falling out, that is why i am tired, that is why my joints hurt, that is why sooooo many unexplained ailments have been plaguing me.
So the next step was to wait to get a call for my appt to the endocinologist (endocrine system doctor). I waited and waited and waited and FINALLY got that call...they couldnt get me in until Nov 20th.
NOVEMEBER TWENTIETH!?!?!?!
I AM MISERABLE!!!!
So I made an appt with my GP again. Told her the situation, showed her my psoriasis and connected all the dots of my symptoms for her and....
1. she gave me a small dose of synthroid (synthetic t4 thyroid hormone)
and
2. Now wants me to go see a rheumatologist

one more defination for you

Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and pediatrics, devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists mainly deal with clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues and allied conditions of connective tissues. The term rheumatology originates from the Greek word rheuma, meaning "that which flows as a river or stream" and the suffix -ology, meaning "the study of."

Rheumatology is a rapidly evolving medical specialty; new scientific discoveries related to this specialty are largely related to better understanding of immunology of these disorders. Pathogenesis of major rheumatological disorders is now described as autoimmune disorders. Immunology explains pathogenesis and the characteristics of rheumatological disorders, and most of the new treatment modalities are based on immunology, better understanding of genetic basis of rheumatological disorders makes rheumatology a specialty rapidly developing as a medical specialty based on new scientific discoveries. New treatment modalities are based on scientific research on immunology, cytokines, T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and future therapies may be directed more towards gene therapy as well.

SOOO...
Basically, she thinks something bigger is going on with me. SOmething overreaching and autoimmune causeing all of these various conditions

Bit of History--my mom has Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus, pronounced /sɪˈstɛmɪk ˈluːpəs ˌɛrəˌθiməˈtoʊsəs/) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can be fatal; however, with recent medical advances, fatalities are becoming increasingly rare. As with other autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissue, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. SLE can affect any part of the body, but most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. Lupus can occur at any age, and is most common in women, particularly of non-European descent.[1] Lupus is treatable through addressing its symptoms, mainly with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants; however there is currently no cure. Survival in patients with SLE in the United States, Canada, and Europe is approximately 95% at 5 years, 90% at 10 years, and 78% at 20 years


So that is where I sit. Waiting on the call now for the rheumatology appt. So I will probably be waiting and waiting and waiting but hopefully it will be worth it.

1 comment:

Marshall said...

And we wait with you. May you know the peace of God in a new and powerful way, a way that is enough to sustain you through anything. God be with you. With Prayers, Marshall