All posts tagged: Prednisone

Vitamin D deficiency and RA

The first doctor to test my vitamin D level was my oncologist. My level was 60 ng/ml. He suggested I lower my supplement amount. I lowered it to 2000U. My next test level was 16 ng/ml. He said,” Just keep doing what you were doing before you changed it.”  I raised my supplement to 4000U and my blood levels have been normal since then. Without a supplement, I was deficient in vitamin D. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D deficiency is common in those with RA, type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Additional factors that influence vitamin D levels in those with RA include corticosteroid use. Drugs such as prednisone and Medrol can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is also linked to malabsorption of vitamin D.  I am on both drugs and I do take the above supplement. Those with RA who have a deficiency of vitamin D will have difficulty concentrating, pain may worsen, fatigue and depression increase. Vitamin D is a hormone involved in bone and calcium metabolism. …

At the infusion center

I am taking a big chance. I went to the infusion center for a dose of Actemra. Actemra blocks the activity of the messenger cytokine, Interleukin-6. It was the  same routine: sign in at the reception desk, weight, vital signs, 20 questions. I am in a recliner with my feet up. IV started. Blood work. Tylenol and Benadryl to avoid side effects. I think this was the routine for all my infusions. My son, David, was with me. The Actemra infused without incident. I didn’t die. We were there for three hours. I had mixed feelings about this drug. It stemmed from several considerations. I have had a lot of bad luck with the biologics. The last was the TNFi Remicade. After two doses I became so ill I thought it was over. I felt weak and lethargic. No appetite. It lasted a month and I survived. I was reluctant to try another. Actemra was the last one available to me.  My RA Doc feels the drug is safer than no drug because the progression …

EORA or YORA another RA category

Imagine my surprise when I learned about the initials YORA and EORA. YORA is an acronym for Younger Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis as is EORA for Elderly Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. I came to a new understanding of where I am in the scheme of things. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) can strike at any age from babies to the elderly. The elderly’s association with RA can be of long standing disease or it can be a new development. People who develop RA after age 60 are considered EORA. That is me. There are some notable differences with elderly onset RA. Initial symptoms may include large joints. With younger RA  onset small joints of the hands and the feet are usually first signs of joint involvement.  The shoulder joint may be a presenting joint in older onset.  My shoulder was involved initially as was the joints in my hands, wrists, feet, elbows. Initially I was in severe pain. Older adults may have more generalized symptoms. My grip was weak. I lost weight. I couldn’t sleep because of the severity …