About Autoimmune Diseases

Immunocompromised, immun/o = protection, is when a person’s immune system is not working how it should, meaning it is not fighting off pathogenic agents. It may also be known as immunodeficiency disorder. Pathogenic; path/o = disease/ -genic = producing. Every person’s situation varies, some are more weakened than others. Symptoms may include anemia; an- = without/ -emia = blood disorder, autoimmune diseases; auto = self, and reoccurring infections. Anemia occurs when there is insufficient red blood cells or hemoglobin, which then leads to decreases circulation of oxygen to the tissues.

Autoimmune diseases occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, because it thinks it is pathogenic agents. Sarcoidosis; -osis = abnormal condition, is an example, since the body immune system causes a growth of inflammatory cells, the growths then interfere with the organs. The ‘clumps’ form fibrous lesions, 90% of the time it occurs in the lungs. Causes include a B and T cell deficiencies. T-cells functions as the cell whom identifies the antigen and activates the B-cells.

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Antigen refers to foreign protein. The T-cells is called as so, because it matures in the thymus. There are 2 types of T-cells, the T-Helper cell and cytotoxic; cyt/o = cell/ -toxic = pertaining to poisoning T-cell. T-Helper cell is the cell that activates the B-cell also known as the defender cell, and it gets its name because it matures in the bone marrow. When the B-cell is activated it produces protective protein called antigens or immunoglobulin; -globulin = protein. The antibodies stick onto the antigen and prevents it from multiplying and damaging the healthy cells.

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It does this through a process called phagocytosis which simply means the cell in=digest the antigen, therefore destroying it. When the antigen and antibodies bind together, it forms an antigen-antibody complex. The cytotoxic T-cell attack and kill the antigens directly. Treatments are primarily preventing infections or treating them as soon as possible. An example of a disease that causes a person to be immunocompromised is HIV, a human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is an infection transmitted through sexually. It may also spread from the mother to the child during the pregnancy, birth or even when breast-feeding. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood, like tattoo needles or in a medical setting where precautions are not taken. HIV weakens the immune system by destroying or damaging the T-cells, the helper type that identifies the antigen. If the T-Helper cell is not working properly, it will not be able to activate the B-cells which produce the immunoglobulin to prevent the antigen from spreading. The cytotoxic T-cell is also being destroyed or damaged meaning there are very few cells to fight off the infections, yet again though there are no B-cells activated to help produce the antigens. It is a snow fall effect, the immune system does not stand a chance against the virus. Symptoms involve lymphadenitis; lymphaden/o = lymph node/ -itis = inflammation, fever, fatigue, mouth sores, and muscle pains. Risk factors include having unprotected sex, already having an STI (sexually transmitted infection), and IV (intravenous) drugs. Already having an STI makes a person more at risk because the open sores are an entry way for HIV. IV drugs can be contaminated by a person who is infected, if a new needle is not used every single time, or syringes. Diagnosis include testing samples blood and/or saliva. HIV antigen/antibody immunoassay is a laboratory testing performed by taking a blood or salvia sample, and the test detects whether there is antibodies or antigens being produced. It is positive is they are detected because it means the body’s immune system is trying to fight off the HIV antigen therefore, making antibodies. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay also known as ELISA, is the most common testing used for diagnosing HIV. ELISA is a method where a blood sample is taken, HIV antigens and HIV antibodies are added, then an enzyme is added as well to expedite the reaction. If antigen-antibody complexes are formed, the patient may be positive for HIV. In those cases, the ELISA testing is followed up by other testing to confirm the diagnosis. Since ELISA testing can also be used to diagnosis lyme disease, VZV, and pernicious anemia. Today the following test performed in a differentiation assay, the blood is separated into antibodies and antigens and they are specifically identified. In the past, Western Blot testing was the follow up test. Western Blot testing also required a blood sample. The procedure detects HIV antigens by using HIV proteins and watching to see if any antibodies attach to it. This testing is used as the secondary testing used to confirm a positive result from ELISA testing. Although there is no cure for HIV, there are treatments to help control the virus. There are two common types of anti-HIV medications, reverse transcriptase inhibitor drugs and protease inhibitor drugs. Reverse transcriptase inhibitor drugs work to block and reverse the HIV enzyme, it converts the RNA which is the carrier of information, into DNA so the enzyme cannot keep copying itself. Examples of this drug include Epivir and Retrovir. Side effects to look out for are vomiting, trouble sleeping, and headaches. Retrovir is commonly taken 2-3 times daily, and it is a oral medication. Protease inhibitor drugs block the enzyme needed to replicate, since HIV cannot reproduce. Protease is the znyme needed, therefore if it is blocked, the virus is interrupted. It can slow down the replication, but this medication cannot stop the virus from multiplying in whole. Brand names of this medication include Fortovase and Crixivan. Side effects of Crixivan include diarrhea, headache, and abdominal pain. The recommended dose of this medication for adults is 800mg every 8 hours, it has to be taken with water, not with meals. When a person has HIV or any other immunodeficiency disorder, it can cause them to have opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that take advantage because the immune system is weaker than those who are healthy. Common infections are candidiasis, Herpes, and Pneumocystis pneumonia. Candidiasis is a fungal infection that can infect a person’s genital area, mouth, or throat. Herpes is a variety of viruses that produce sores around mouth and genital area. Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP); pneumon/o = lung/ -ia = condition, is an infection causes by fungus. It is rare for this condition to be contracted by healthy individuals. PCP is spread through the air, a healthy individual may carry it, but there will be no symptoms because their immune system prevents the fungus from inducing an infection. An immunocompromised person does not have a strong enough immune system to prevent infection. Symptoms will come as fever, angina, cough, dyspnea, and coughing. A sample of coughed of mucus is usually used to test for the infection. Treatments would include antibiotics, like Bactrim or Septra. There is no vaccination available at the time for immunization against PCP. A vaccination would help those who immunocompromised to have protection against the disease. Opportunistic infections should be prevented since they weaken the immune system even more. The immune system is trying to fight a virus and an infection at the same time. Prevention is highly recommended, good hygiene, no sharing of towels or food, and protected sex. Also, the person needs to be on the watch for any changes, the quicker the infection is diagnosed, the faster the treatment can start. When left untreated HIV progress into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It will take about 10 years to do so. With today’s advances less individuals are dying of AIDS, since there is medication to control HIV. AIDS is when a person has reoccurring opportunistic infections, HIV, and they are in the final stages of the infection. There is also a defect in the cell-mediated immunity, meaning that there is damage where T-cells and natural killers (NK) are produced. Pathogens are not being attacked and destroyed efficiently.

In between HIV and AIDS there is a middle ‘stage’ called AIDS-related complex (ARC). AIDS-related complex (ARC) the early years of AIDS, the symptoms are still mild. The person can have some skin rashes, weight loss, lymphadenitis, and fatigue. This term is not really used as much today than in the past. Individuals who are in the final stage of HIV…AIDS are at risk of Kaposi’s sarcoma. Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS); sarc/o = flesh/ – oma = tumor, is a form of skin cancer that is commonly seen in patients with AIDS. KS forms in the blood and lymph vessel linings. It is reddish purple papules clustered on the skin. They vary in size. There can be painful inflammation in the legs. Lesions not only occur on the skin, but on internal organs as well.

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About Autoimmune Diseases. (2022, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/about-autoimmune-diseases-essay

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