Thursday, December 8, 2011

Weak Immune System

I have never really had the best immune system. I remember when I was a kid, I would get strep throat several times a year with high fevers and always sick for longer than normal periods of time, i.e. it took me much longer to get over being sick. Now that I have Lymphedema, I notice flare ups when I am about to get sick and while I am sick and I wonder what the correlation is between having Lymphedema and a weak immune system is, if any. I know we are more susceptible to infections in the effected limb but what about illness? Are we more prone to get sick or less likely to recover quickly from illness? When I search for information on this, I only get hits back on cellulitus and skin infections. Has anyone experienced the same issues or know of any research on this? My mind starts to churn, maybe it's the researcher in me, but I wonder if certain people are more susceptible to getting Lymphedema because of something in their immune system. Or possibly, Lymphedema weakens the immune system after it develops. If the lymphatics are a system then if part of that system isn't functioning properly, wouldn't it decrease the overall functioning and strength of the lymphatic system? I'm not a doctor at all but maybe someone reading my blog will have some answers. I need to see my doctor for a check up so I will pose these questions to him. I will post more information if I find it :)


Anonymous said...

So interesting that the first time I'd come across your blog you're talking about the immune system as it relates to lymphedema. My mom has this disease and zip immune. Of course, she has other health complications but it seems like as the lymphedema worsens, so does her immune system. Now as opposed to years/decades ago. Her PT said it is like a perfect storm is created when an infection happens in the infected limb. It hardens the tissues, which makes it harder for the fluid to move and more likely another infection will happen... so on and so forth! I think combating the illness takes a toll overall. The lymph system is what flushes out the junk (right? even people with no lymph issues get swollen glands when we're sick) so the body has to work harder to stay generally well. Said another way: the health suffers because the lymph system isn't functioning optimally to begin with. That is just what I'm thinking... Thanks for your blog. I look forward to reading more.

Pat O'Connor said...

Good article ande comething that really needs to be brought out in the open.

It has been shown through clinical studies that any limb with lymphedema IS immunodeficient.

Plus, there is more and more evidence that so many of we lymphers (myself included) have a very little over all cell mediated immune system.

Through the online support groups I sponsor and through my website Lymphedema People, I have heard from many who are in the same boat.

Lindsay Nichols said...

Hi Pat!

I am so honored you read my blog! I am familiar with your website and think it is wonderful! Do you know of any articles on the research you mention? Thank you for reading my blog and I hope to hear more from you.

Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for commenting as well! I am sorry to hear about your Mom and the complications that she has dealt with. Your thoughts are exactly what I was thinking too. My primary doctor (who I think is fantastic) didn't agree with me but I really do believe that something is going on there with our immune systems. Maybe it's as simple as the Lymphedema causes fatigue and that causes our immune systems to be weak. Maybe it's more of a correlation thing? I don't know but hopefully we hear more about this research topic.

Thanks again all for reading my rambling!

Gail Strejc said...

Great article, reading yours gave me a reason to write mine. Unfortunately, it can be fatal, lovely thought to think it isn't, I have known a few that were treated at the hospital incorrectly, and due to lack of knowledge they did die. Though with knowledge there is power, and with sharing there is more knowledge. I can only get better. Thank you, Gail Strejc

Gail Strejc said...

It can only Get Better. oops on the typo. Gail Strejc

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