Today’s focus is going to be on the blood. Our life is in our blood, so I think this is a very important topic for those of us who are living with autoimmune disorders. Two of these disorders I’m familiar with. The other seven are new to me.
Blood disorders can affect any of the three main components of blood:
- Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues
- White blood cells, which fight infections
- Platelets, which help blood to clot
Blood disorders can also affect the liquid portion of blood, called plasma.
Treatments and prognosis for blood diseases vary, depending on the blood condition and its severity.
- cause inflammation of the blood vessels, a condition known as vasculitis, which can damage the vessels.
- affect the blood by lowering white blood cell and platelet counts.
Some lupus patients develop anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are too low in number to adequately carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Lupus patients may also have hemolytic anemia, which happens when the immune system attacks and destroys healthy red blood cells.
Isn’t it interesting that Lupus show up in almost all of these posts that I have been writing. It seems like there isn’t a part of the body that it doesn’t affect.
Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome
This condition occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks phospholipid, a type of fat that is present in all living cells.
Antibodies are a type of protein. They usually help defend the body against infections. In APS, however, the body makes antibodies that mistakenly attack phospholipids—a type of fat.
Phospholipids are found in all living cells and cell membranes, including blood cells and the lining of blood vessels.
When antibodies attack phospholipids, cells are damaged. This damage causes blood clots to form in the body’s arteries and veins. (These are the vessels that carry blood to your heart and body.)
Usually, blood clotting is a normal bodily process. Blood clots help seal small cuts or breaks on blood vessel walls. This prevents you from losing too much blood. In APS, however, too much blood clotting can block blood flow and damage the body’s organs. Read more.
Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels of the brain; which can cause confusion, seizures, headaches, and unconsciousness.
Vasculitis of the central nervous system (CNS) is the inflammation of blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord.
Vasculitis of the spine may cause shooting pains in the arms and legs, numbness and asymmetrical weakness.
In some cases, the disease may be acute for a time, and then enter periods of remission. In other cases, vasculitis may be chronic.
Just like with other autoimmune disorders and the immune system being attacked because it doesn’t recognize healthy body parts, Vasculitis, misidentifies parts of blood vessel walls as harmful and attacks the vessel walls, causing them to become swollen and inflamed.
That’s enough information today. I think my brain is on overload with all of the details. Tomorrow we will learn about the next three autoimmune disorders.
If you are living with any of these autoimmune disorders that are listed in this post and you would like to comment on them, I would be very interested to hear your point of view. I’m sure readers of this post would be interested as well.