All posts filed under: Autoimmune diseases

MS an autoimmune disease

MS

MS usually affects those who live in the colder northern countries. I was born in the  border town of Fort Covington, just a walk down the street to Canada. And then I grew up in another nearby border town. In the winters our temperature dropped below freezing and stayed there until March.  My mom was Irish and my dad French Canadian. My brother was just like me. MS usually starts somewhere between 20-50 years. Just like RA there is an elderly onset MS striking those age 60 and above. Children also develop MS. MS is an autoimmune disease where the T cells of our immune system think the cells of the myelin sheath, the nerve covering, is foreign and must be attacked. This arbitrary attack affects the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerve and creates a a variety of symptoms. More women than men have MS. Genetics play a role. MS interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Walking becomes difficult. Hands may lose their grip. …

Polymyalgia rheumatica

I have long  appointments with my rheumatologist. She is thorough and listens to what I say. She does think out loud which may be disturbing to some. I understand where she is going and I understand she is throwing out possibilities not absolutes.  I had a number of revelations but a big one was the possibility of adding polymyalgia rheumatica to my RA diagnosis. Polymyalgia rheumatica affects those over 65 years. It affects the pelvic girdle and the shoulders. It includes pain in the thigh and upper arm. It is an autoimmune disease and not curable. It is manageable however. The drug of choice is corticosteroids. It is usually started around 25 mg for a month and then tapered to a dose that controls symptoms. The treatment lasts a minimum of one year and may go on for several years. Recurrence is not uncommon. I felt relieved. It was manageable. There was a solution. Of course, one of the problems with polymyalgia rheumatica is its association with giant cell arteritis. Not good. 10% of those with polymyalgia …