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pienoceros t1_j7lown6 wrote

People being treated for autoimmune disorders need their immune system suppressed because it's attacking otherwise healthy tissue, organs, systems, etc. They are more susceptible to viral and secondary infection.

Source- I am immune compromised. I receive immunosuppressive infusions regularly.


Burnstryk t1_j7mkc4y wrote

Guess it depends on the autoimmune disease. I have hashimoto's, all I need to take is a hormone replacement tablet in the morning (no immunosuppressants)


pienoceros t1_j7mmdxg wrote

True. If symptoms can be treated to the point of remission w/o immunosuppressive therapy, you won't need it.


Alantsu t1_j7n2f3t wrote

And the fun part is the side effect of the immunosuppressants is cancer. Yay!


Clid3r t1_j7o8070 wrote

Family member with a successful transplant takes them and even tho he healthy as far as that’s concerned, he developed lung cancer because of his meds. He claims it’s normal and treatable, even tho he had a lobectomy.


pandaappleblossom t1_j7ohuyo wrote

yeah I am being treated for an autoimmune condition called atrophic gastritis but all I do is take b12 supplements for it. but it does bring a higher risk of stomach cancer. though supposedly taking b12 can lower the risk of stomach cancer.


Sea_Satisfaction_475 t1_j7n2633 wrote

Me too. But my infusions are chock full of antibodies, though (iviG). So for me, the question still stands.


theganglyone t1_j7m01am wrote

Unfortunately no.

In an autoimmune disease the immune system targets a protein that healthy cells produce. Because this targeting is highly specific, it doesn't carry over to viruses, bacterial, or cancer cells.


Aganihm1 t1_j7mj7nf wrote

Even worse, some autoimmune diseases might even increase your chances of getting cancer. An example is Crohn's, which, if it affects your colon, can put you at a higher risk for colon cancer.


scotianheimer t1_j7mq5kr wrote

Likewise for ulcerative colitis, an increase in risk of colon cancer after you’ve had it for 10 years or more.

Having said that, a certain percentage of people with ulcerative colitis will have their colon removed, which drops their colon cancer risk to zero. I’m unsure if this has been factored in to the risk calculations…


WanderlustLife4Ever t1_j7o6h00 wrote

To add to this, having one autoimmune such as Hashimoto’s can also increase your risk of developing another autoimmune like Lupus. So even if one is relatively treatable, another that co-occurs may not be medically managed as well or have it’s own medical conditions associated with it.


WhiteRabbitWithGlove t1_j7p92ih wrote

Or a Hashimoto's favorite - insulin resistance. Once your body starts to hate you, it will hate you in many different ways.


dug99 t1_j7osf5c wrote

Also the steroids used to treat it in past years cause massive increased in cancer risk. Watched a friend with Crohn's die slowly and painfully from cancer 4 years ago. It was all over his body.


Bax_Cadarn t1_j7oxi3j wrote

That's actually interesting. Can You present data about how steroids affect the development of cancers?


[deleted] t1_j7o6ley wrote



Huppah t1_j7obdcn wrote

Allergies aren't autoimmune disorders?


WhatANiceCerealBox11 t1_j7odfmy wrote

You’re correct and that’s the misconception at work here. It’s often taught (incorrectly) that autoimmune diseases are caused by the immune system being overactive. That’s similar to how allergies are taught which is why this person equated the two


Huppah t1_j7ofzsc wrote

Ah that's interesting. Thanks for explaining!


Jessalopod t1_j7nbilj wrote

I have Crohn's, which means I have a higher chance of getting certain kinds of cancer in my digestive system.

I also have Ankylosing Spondylitis, for which I need to take immune suppressive medications to slow my spine's deformation and my body growing bone where it's not supposed to be, and these make me more likely to catch viral infections. My medication is a TNF blocker, which also increases my chances of other cancers like skin cancer and hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma (HSTCL).

Basically, no, a busted immune system doesn't give superpowers. It just tosses more wrenches in the works.


botanophilia t1_j7o0ot1 wrote

Hi, just reaching out to say I have Ank Spondy too! Instead of Crohns I have Uveitis but I’ve been in remission for about a year thanks to TNFs. Take care!


fradleybox t1_j7meogj wrote

I can't find the study because new research into Long Covid is burying it in search results, and it's not an auotimmune disease (though it is sometimes called a "neuroimmune" disorder), but, I read a study showing that blood from patients with ME/CFS is less susceptible to flu transmission between cells in the sample than healthy control blood. This supports an old theory that ME/CFS is caused by a change in how the immune system operates that makes it more protective, at the cost of many debilitating side effects.


Outrageous_County_29 t1_j7mkcd8 wrote

People with autoimmune diseases are generally more susceptible to viral infections, due to their weakened immune system. However, they are not necessarily more likely to get cancer, as this is usually not caused by viruses.


flamebirde t1_j7rbrcd wrote

Well… not exactly. Most viruses don’t cause cancer but there are a good number of viruses that do. HTLV-1 and 2 (human T lymphoyropic virus) is strongly associated with adult T cell lymphoma, for example. And probably the most classic example of autoimmune disease -> viral infection -> cancer is Kaposi sarcoma. Patients with AIDS will get infected with HHV-8 (a type of herpes virus) and will then develop Kaposi’s sarcoma as a direct result.

They’re actually called oncoviruses, and are pretty well studied. Fascinating subject to research.


ironette t1_j7oa2kr wrote

Semi-related: recent studies indicate that genes responsible for auto immune diseases grew in prominence in Europe during the Bubonic Plague. The theory being that those with heightened immune systems were more likely to survive the plague AND develop auto immune issues over time. But not clear if it goes the other way…as in do those who express auto immune disease have stronger immune systems than others.



pandaappleblossom t1_j7oj8oo wrote

thats not what the article says though, they dont call it heightened immune systems, its just the genes that fight the black death are also the genes that seem to be raising the risk of developing certain autoimmune conditions, and they dont know why


calgarywalker t1_j7qajs0 wrote

I have Celiac. There is such an increase in risk of some viral infections that the Pneumonia vaccines are recommended regardless of age (normally reserved for healthy people after age 65). Risk of some cancers is elevated - pancreatic, stomach, intestinal. Worse, some vaccines don’t seem to work as well (particularly Hep A in children). Heart disease is also elevated with an adjusted risk ratio of 1.27 after adjusting for other things like lifestyle choices (though no-one is sure why). Overall its about a 5 yr reduction in life expectancy - which is on par with other major immune diseases. And there is no medical treatment available. Only medical advice is to avoid a particular protein which is prevalent literally everywhere while there is evidence this strategy - even when done effectively - has limited success in managing symptoms. (Rather ironically, the one symptom most impacted by the GF diet is weight loss - people who actually need to eat GF tend to gain 10 to 20 lbs rather quickly. It is designed to be the exact opposite of a weight loss diet).


babyfresno77 t1_j7qr1r1 wrote

no because having an over active immune system is just as bad because if your immune system is fighting the wrong stuff it won't fight what it need to . and then combine that with taking immosupresive meds . i am a life long sufferer of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and i dont say i get sick more but when i do its harder to shake


Additional-Fee1780 t1_j7xorgf wrote

Females more often get autoimmune conditions, and are less susceptible to many viral infections. So very loosely yes.

But given that the treatment for autoimmune diseases is immunosuppressive, and that increases infection risk, it’s complicated.


DrTOkie t1_j7mnvt3 wrote

It depends on the autoimmune and it, and or how it is being treated. There is a terrible lot to do for it genetics also. It has often been said that one auto immune can open th door to another. All auto immunes are not treated the same. I have more than one...I always say I did not choose my parents well. They Are not necessarily all heredity...I just say that because it's funny to see my Mom get worked up blaming my paternal side because nothing could come from her side (paternal side all gone at this point). And she does not even think at that moment that there she sits with more than one herself. Seriously however,nif you are on immune suppressants you are more prone to viruses. There are many schools of though on cancer origins, the genetic researchers are making huge strides right now In identifying DNA mutations some are familiar some actually are more spontaneous and they don't know if those that mutate more spontaneously come from environmental stress and physical stress or trauma or some other reason but they're saying that it's not all familial. I've also read a ton of articles not recently but it's an articles through time that even tried to link cancer some people saying that it had a viral attribute. I have been doing a lot of research on genetics recently. They have even come up with ways to greatly improve any symptoms, hopefully prevent further damage by, and sometimes repair mutated genes.


Selfeducated OP t1_j7mzpu8 wrote

It is my understanding that autoimmune diseases do not mean one is immunosuppressed; on the contrary one’s immune system is in overdrive. Of course if one then takes medication to suppress that overreaction, that can then open the door to invaders. But my question was if that ‘army’ currently attacking one’s own body by mistake sometimes defeats invading viruses. There are many different autoimmune diseases- does it follow then that many different types of ‘soldiers’ are produced that then attack specific body parts? And are they always different than what is normally produced in response to infection? I think I need a book on immunology! And I think there are many things yet to be known about the immune system!


Arylius t1_j7n7sfn wrote

So to my understanding as someone with MS. There are B cells and T cells. Different B cells are trained to recognise certain " patterns" of certain virus proteins like the spike protein of covid. (Like soldiers trained in specific areas) It then recognises that protein and sticks to it alerting surrounding cells to release the flood gates for killer T cells the so called assassins of the immune system.

Now in auto immune disease the immune system mistaken healthy cells/ proteins for bad ones and attacks them. For something like MS that means attacking mylin coating of nerves in the brain or spine. For something like Hashimoto's its the thyroid causing the thyroid to stop producing or produce to much of the thyroid hormones.

So depending on what you have you might have you might be able to just have hormone treatment like thyroxine for Hashimoto's or for ones like MS you may need to suppress certain b cells used to target the wrong parts. Even if the treatment for example Ocrelizumab for MS only targets CD-19 and CD-20 B cells, those B cells are ultimately used to recognise a whole host of virus's there for leaving you at higher risk of infection. Most immuno-suppressants come with a whole host of scary side effects that could happen if your unlucky but like with all medication everything has side effects.

I hope this can help a little. This is also just my understanding so please take with a grain of salt. My family have a while medical textbook worth of auto immune diseases so i try to learn I'm just not always best at conveying what i mean.


theganglyone t1_j7occp2 wrote

There's a lot that is not understood about autoimmunity. I don't think what you're suggesting occurs in real life to any significant degree but it's not a crazy notion.

If someone had an autoimmune response to a particular protein and that protein happened to be very similar in structure to a viral or cancer antigen, they might have less chance of getting that particular infection or cancer.

The issue is that the "army" you're talking about is typically highly specific. It's not a "kill anything that moves" type of army. It's more like a "kill only troops that are carrying a sign that says, 'I am target S9p4kLwe43'". Literally, the immune system kills cells that present a highly specific and recognizable target on their surface.


i81u812 t1_j7n0dtz wrote

You do not. The first response is correct. It is also a firsthand account.