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Weakened immune system due to meds?
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beanmccabe posted:
Hello,

I have some concerns because I have asthma that I have had trouble controlling since first being diagnosed in 2006. Here is a quick summary of what has been happening. I had my first child in Feb 2009 and delivered by C-section. Since this time, I have had one infection or virus after another. My asthma is also flaring up on a regular basis. The asthma medicine that I am on is said to weaken the immune system as well.I have had pleurisy twice and each time it has lasted over a month even on medications including Prednisone. I also have a hiatal hernia in my stomach which my pulmonary doctor is suggesting I have a GI work up because this could be causing my problems with asthma. I saw the GI doctor and they said that the hernia is large but did not look that big to them but they are doing the surgical work up anyhow to see if I would be candidate for sugery. I know this sounds jumby but my doctor's are telling me that this is all in my head and that I must be having psychological problems that are causing me to think I am ill. I know that I am not crazy and that I am not making up these viruses. Some of them have been so bad that I have been bed ridden. Can someone help me figure out why my immune system is so weak now? I do not want to keep catching every bug that is out there! I take vit C supplements but these do not seem to help. Does anyone have any advice?
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sgbl88 responded:
I am so sorry you have had such a rough time after delivering your little one, and then to have to put up with docs that are that insensitive is...

I certainly hope your docs have explained this to you, but I am going to start at the beginning just in case.

A hiatal hernia is where a portion of the stomach bulges above the diaphragm. This GREATLY increases your chances of having acid reflux. This acid can then be aspirated into the lungs causing asthma like symptoms. It can also reach the sinus cavities causing sinus infections. Prednesone use can also cause/contribute to acid reflux. The refluxed acid irritates any tissue it comes in contact with making you more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. That is, if reflux is part of the eqation for you, which it probably is. Reflux is also common during pregnancy. With the hernia and recent pregnancy, my guess is that acid reflux is a pretty big issue. There are types of reflux that do not cause the heart burn typically associated with reflux. So don't think that becuase you aren't experiencing heart burn, you don't have reflux issues. Some people call this silent reflux.

You should also know that pregnancy wrecks havok on with hormones and many women develop asthma after or during prenancy. Many women find that asthma worsens during pregnancy as well, which could be the case with you. Asthmatics tend to have weaker immune systems.

Pleurisy is inflamation of the membrane lining the lung cavity and surounding the lungs - the pleura. The two layers of membrane rub against each other, usually with severe coughing, causing something similar to an abrasion. Then the inflamed tissue continues to rub against each other causine a lot of pain The layers stick to each other similar to velcro when they are inflamed. If you can take NSAIDs, that would be the best option for the pain and their anti-inflamatory properties. It does take a while (my experience has been about a month) to heal that abrasion because the tissues do rub against each other with each breath, just not as forcably as with a severe cough.

You might want to ask your dr about checking your vitamin D level. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D is more important to immune health than vitamin C. If you are low on vitamin D, it will require a prescription strength dose to raise it. The prescription is cheap though. Zinc is also very helpful for immune health.

If you are at all like me, child birth and then the months of sleep deprivation following is very hard on the body. It is almost impossible to get enough rest, and your body needs rest to heal itself from giving birth. Rest is also very important to the immune system. Researchers are now finding that we need a good 8 - 9 hours of sleep a night to feel our best.

Other recommendations: 1) Get enough rest - Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. 2) Drink plenty of water. Water washes toxins out of the body and helps us feel better in many ways. 3) You might benefit from twice daily sinus rinses to wash viruses out of your nose before they can make you sick. Get a bottle from a pharmacy for around $12. You can then use either 1/4 tsp iodine free salt in it, or purchase salt packets. 4) Talk to your docs about reflux and what you can do to minimize or prevent it. You might be limited on meds you can take for reflux if you are nursing, but talk it over with your docs.

Those are my ideas at present. I hope they help you in some way.

God bless, and get better so that you can take care of that baby.

Sonya
 
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specialk118 responded:
What other meds are you on for your lungs? I will tell you one way to put the non believers to rest would be to get a pft when you're having a flair up. How do they monitor your asthma do you do any peak flows at home?

Pred can weaken your immune system and really shoud be used as a last resort as that will give you more porblems than you can imagine you also need to be on things to protect your bones otherwise you may aS well add osetoperosis to your list of issues. I would ask your doc to check your immune system and do a full immune system work up with all the Ig levels being drawn and go from there


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