An Insight Of Covid-19 In Patients With Autoimmune Diseases

An Insight Of Covid-19 In Patients With Autoimmune Diseases
9 Aug 2022
6 mins
Table Of Content
An Insight Of Covid-19 In Patients With Autoimmune Diseases

    The Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe illness in a certain category of people. One such category is patients with autoimmune diseases. Let’s know the risk faced by autoimmune individuals during this pandemic. 


    Before talking about the connection between autoimmune disorders and severe covid-19, let’s have a quick view of what autoimmune diseases are. 

    What Are Autoimmune Diseases?


    Your immune system protects you from infections and diseases. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells by producing antibodies. There are around eighty autoimmune disorders, and some common autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis. 


    Despite the type of diseases, most people with autoimmune conditions have symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain & swelling, skin problems, abdominal pain, recurring fever, swollen glands, and digestive issues. 

    Autoimmune Diseases And Covid-19


    While anyone can get severely affected by covid-19, older people and people with health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer, lung and heart disorders are at more risk of developing a serious illness. Similarly, people with a weakened immune system may need to be extra cautious in preventing exposure to the covid virus. In autoimmune disease patients, there are certain risks that may lead to severe covid-19.

    Lets have an insight on the risk factors that can contribute to a weak immune system.

    Immunosuppressant medications are prescribed for autoimmune patients to stop the immune system from attacking healthy cells and managing symptoms. While they are helpful in managing the condition, the suppressed immune system caused by the medicines increases the risk of infections. Depending on the dose and type of the immunosuppressant medication, the risk of infections varies.


    Examples of some immunosuppressant medications that can lead to weak immune system are:


    • Steroid medications (such as prednisone)
    • Biologics (such as infliximab & adalimumab)
    • Monoclonal antibodies (such as Basiliximab)


    Though these medications can weaken your immune system, you should not stop taking them without consulting your physician first, as the active autoimmune disease may cause more risks than medicine. 


    A 2020 study states that people with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases like psoriasis who took biologics (immunosuppressants) and developed the covid-19 disease were not more likely to develop complications than patients who were not taking drugs. 

    Medical Conditions


    A 2021 study shows most autoimmune patients hospitalized for covid-19 infection were older people, women and who had other comorbidities such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and heart disorders and among the covid affected autoimmune patients, the most prevalent autoimmune conditions were rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and vasculitis. 


    Besides a weak immune system, the presence of other medical conditions which can cause severe covid in autoimmune patients can greatly increase the risk of hospitalization.


    Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder. The systemic therapies used in the management of this condition may increase the risk of upper respiratory tract infections such as covid-19. People with psoriasis disorder are also at higher risk of disorders, obesity and hypertension that can increase the chance of developing severe covid-19.

    Rheumatoid arthritis commonly causes joint swelling and pain. It increases your chance of developing any kind of infection, and the illness will become severe if you have active rheumatoid arthritis. Patients who take medications rituximab or interleukin (IL-6i) were linked with a high risk of hospitalization from covid-19 compared to TNFi users.

    Boost Your Immunity And Stay Safe


    Certain lifestyle habits can be helpful to boost the immune system in anyone. Diet rich in vegetables and fruits helps produce nutrients that are essential for the production of immune proteins. Avoid smoking as it can decrease vitamin C levels in the blood. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is important for immune function. 


    Manage stress and get sound sleep each night. If you are an immunocompromised person, always eat cooked foods and avoid fresh fruits or vegetables as they can make you sick. Avoid locations that are known for the spread of infections, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Follow good hygiene practices and social distancing. 


    People who have a compromised immune system or taking medications that weaken the immune system should continue to take all covid precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing even if they are up to date on their vaccines. Continue to take recommended medications regularly and stay safe. 


    Written by
    GuruvigneshwariContent Writer
    AboutM.Pharmacy (Pharmacognosy)
    Tags :Autoimmune diseasesautoimmune diseases symptomsCovid-19