Lupus Q&A: Sjogren’s Syndrome, Lupus Diagnosis, Amino Acids
Nancy Dowling: How do the symptoms of Lupus and Sjogren’s overlap. Is the complement 3 and 4 blood level indicative of both?
Symptoms of Sjogren’s disease is dry mouth and dry eyes. It’s an autoimmune condition and some Lupus patients have it so I don’t believe the symptoms overlap.
In order for me to effectively answer this question, I would have to discuss the complement levels.
Rheumotologists typically measures c3, c4, and ch50 for Lupus patients, among others based on your disease.
But according to various studies, complement levels provide a rather poor measure of clinical activity for four reasons.
First, there is wide variation in normal complement levels between each individual partly due to genetics. For example, genetically, my complements tend to be on the lower limits of normal.
Second, complement levels are controlled by our bodies, and our ability to make protein and break down varies from person to person.
Third, measurement of complement levels may not reflect accurately what is occurring in our tissues. For some it can affect the muscles and for others, it affects the kidneys for example.
Lastly, autoantibodies to complement proteins are due to inflammation and the level of complement activation may be associated with the levels of these autoantibodies rather than by disease per se.
There is no single test that will confirm a diagnosis, and someone does not have to test positive to be diagnosed with Sjögren’s.
Classic blood test would be SSA which is one of the clearest blood test markers for Sjögren’s. Diagnosis is difficult because about 30% of patients are negative for this marker. Negativity does not mean the patient does not have Sjögren’s.
- Valentijn RM, van Overhagen H, Hazevoet HM, Hermans J, Cats A, Daha MR, van Es LA. The value of complement and immune complex determinations in monitoring disease activity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Rheum. 1985;28:904–913. [PubMed]
- Smeenk RJ, Aarden LA, Swaak TJ. Laboratory tests as predictors of disease exacerbations in systemic lupus erythematosus: comment on the article by Esdaile et al. Arthritis Rheum. 1996;39:2083–2085. [PubMed]
- Esdaile JM, Joseph L, Abrahamowicz M, Li Y, Danoff D, Clarke AE. Routine immunologic tests in systemic lupus erythematosus: is there a need for more studies? J Rheumatol. 1996;23:1891–1896.[PubMed]
Samira Nicholson: Why will it take about 6 years to find out that you have Lupus?
Lupus isn’t something that’s acquired over night. There are so many variables to this disease from your stress level, lifestyle, toxin exposure, to your genetic susceptibility.
Often it is thought that Lupus is “triggered” by a virus, injury, or even bacterial infection. It’s actually the health of the host, which is us, and our tolerance that crosses the threshold into a full blown autoimmune response to be able to detect.
In some cases, a low grade inflammation overtime can evolve into an autoimmune condition and that’s why I show up every week to empower you to reverse your state because ultimately it can get better.
I like to compare this to a simmering pot of water. Simmering water represents the healthy level of inflammation we want to have. But once the dial is turned up and the water boils over, this represents our bodies and our inflammation when we are diagnosed with autoimmune disease.
If you have yet to be diagnosed and therefore you are just at the simmering water level, it is important to work to reverse your symptoms now before the pot of water overflows into a full blown autoimmune condition.
Rachel De La Rosa: Has anyone ever tried taking aminos, not necessarily before a workout but for a big day to help repair?
I believe you’re talking about amino acids, the building blocks for our body that are essential for repair. It’s a good idea to take them, but I also recommend something with gut restoration to aid in not only the absorption of the amino acids, but also to restore your gut.