Does SLE affect your general immune system?

I was diagnosed with SLE 15 years ago and have managed my symptoms successfully since then.

I'm generally in good health but over the last 6 months I seem to have got every illness and bug going, and have been much more severly affected by them than others around me.

I've never been told at any of my many hospital appointments that lupus affects your general immune system (and thus general health) but then I'm always learning new things about lupus so wondered if anyone knew...


12 Replies

  • They often medicate the symptoms of lupus with immunosupressives. These in turn will make you more likely to pick up infections.

  • The thing is Jennylee that SLE kicks our immune systems into overdrive ... ie. simplistically, if we catch a bug which results in an infection, our white cells will mobilise to fight it but often fail to stop when the job is done and can go on to attack our bodies. As has already been mentioned, some of the drugs we're treated with compromise our immune systems and can make us more susceptible to catching bugs and developing infections - such as cortico-steroids and immunosuppressants - but apart from that we're no more or less likely to catch bugs than anyone else. However, not allowing yourself to become run down or over-tired and eating a healthy diet is also really important. I've also found taking a course of a good multi-vit and mineral (such as Centrum) really does perk me up during difficult Winters. Hope that helps and wish you better soon! x

  • Depends.

    I have personally always found that when my lupus is 'inactive' & behaving, my immune system is bloody fantastic & I could b in a room with every bug known 2 man & STILL b stood there smiling & sniffle free.

    However, when my lupus decides it wants 2 come & play & get even the SLIGHTEST bit restless, I will catch everything & anything.

    Just 4 the record, I do not take any meds whatsoever 4 my lupus so my antibodies' actions r not altered in any way.

  • i can really relate to this!

  • That's a relief! I thought surely I couldn't b the only 1 lol!

  • Before i had Lupus, i had no illnesses apart from the odd bout of tonsillitis. Since being diagnosed i've had everything from the shingles to swine flu.

    I think it is more likely that it's the medications we take. They dampen down our immune system leaving us more open to infections.

  • I caught the flu bugs every year, had laryngitis, muscle aches, shortness of breath to name but a few till I was diagnosed with SLE in summer of 2005 and given plaquenil. The following flu, the muscle aches eased, laryngitis cleared up and my breathing was better....So I would say yes SLE does affect your general immune system. Looking back I think I've had flares of it since childhood but as the rheumatologist said, its hard to be sure...

  • Hi did u feel better after takin plaqunil and how long did it take to kick in, did it make u drowsy....sorry to ask so many questions .... Uzi ..xx

  • No it didnt make me feel drowsy at all, it helped with the fatigue. I cant remember how long till the drug kicked in but it wasnt as long as was suggested by the rheumatologist, it seemed to work quite suits me very well and I felt much better for it...

  • Thats good to know, am supposed to take twice a day...but felt very takin only at night now....hopefully it will kick soon... Thanx for lettin me know... Uzi.x

  • thanks everyone for your replies, it's really good to know other people's experiences.

    i am supposed to be taking plaquenil but i must admit i often forget so will make an effort to take it daily and see if that helps.

  • hi all ive just weened myself off of it i started on it feb 2010 but was still having to have courses of 8 steriods a day as my skin was constantly flaring up and i was loosing my hair, so in nov 2011 i started on methotrexate as well as pred/hydrox my skin slowly started to go down but i didnt feel like me i was very spaced out confused, constant cluster headaches and i felt generally ill everyday that went on for a year im sure you know the story have this tablet to stop cluster headaches/have this one for nausea/and this one to strength ur bones because of the steriods and i felt enough is enough why am i a zombie on so many meds it didnt feel rite so i phoned my dermatolgist as i see them more than rhemy and he said to start slowly lowering my dose and its now april and im free from hydrox totally i dont get any cluster headaches no more and im not a zombie i can actually do things so i truelly believe like lupus its down to the indivuidual person and the meds they are on as to what side effects and what are symptons xtake care allx

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