If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, you are well-acquainted with the many ways it can be disruptive of everyday life. While there’s a long list of them, they have several things in common — causing debilitating pain in different parts of the body and sometimes even changing your bathroom habits. And, if traditional forms of medications haven’t been providing relief, you may feel frustrated and helpless.
What are autoimmune diseases?
Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. In some cases, the attack occurs in a targeted area or organ. In others, they can affect the entire body. While the causes are unknown, the rising incidence of these types of conditions points to the possibility of environmental factors having an influence. Such toxins are found in heavy metals (from cookware, water, and some pesticides sprayed in food), chemicals in personal hygiene products and detergents, and continued inflammation caused by processed foods. Other culprits may also include mutated genes.
There are many types of autoimmune diseases. The most common ones include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Celiac disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Type I Diabetes
- Addison’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Grave’s disease
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP)
Treatment Options for Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases are often treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — including ibuprofen and naproxen — as well as prescription immune-suppressing medications. In addition, your healthcare provider may also recommend lifestyle modifications, such as doing regular exercise and eating whole foods (and limiting processed foods and added sugars). However, traditional forms of treatment don’t always provide relief from symptoms — or if even if they do, some patients may find it difficult to swallow oral drugs. This is when biological therapy treatment can be a good option.
What is biological therapy treatment?
Biological therapy — stimulates the immune system by either suppressing the over-response or activating it. Biological therapy treatment targets the parts of the immune system that are triggering inflammation causing diseases such as auto-immune disorders. Specific medications used for biological therapy include:
How Biological Therapy Works
Biological therapy works by inserting an IV into your arm. This allows the medication to reach your bloodstream immediately. Since it does not have to be metabolized by your digestive system, you’ll experience relief from symptoms faster than with oral medications. The dosage and length of therapy will depend on what was recommended by your doctor.
Side Effects of Biological Therapy
As with any medication, biological therapy carries a risk of side effects. They vary from one person to the next and may range from mild to severe. The most common ones include:
- Skin rash
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling at the site where the IV was inserted
- Muscle aches
- Low blood pressure
The best way to lower the likelihood of side effects is to have an experienced healthcare professional monitor the therapy. If they notice any signs of infection where the IV was inserted, the therapy will be paused. If you don’t feel well, dosages may also be modified. At Infusion Associates, you will always have a nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician making sure your treatment goes as smoothly as possible.
What to Expect
When you visit any of our facilities, you’ll immediately notice that we provide a more welcoming and comfortable environment than receiving treatment at a hospital. All of our treatment rooms have cozy reclining chairs, blankets, WiFi, televisions and coffee, tea, or water. You may also request a private room and/or bring your snacks of choice.
Prior to receiving treatment, you’ll meet with one of our healthcare professionals, who will explain the entire process, along with information regarding dosages, length of treatment, and possible side effects. You can also take this time to ask any questions you may have.