Pondering this

Someone please help me understand. If Lupus is an over active immune system, then why do I seem to get every "super bug" that comes my way? I don't get "a little" sick, I get A LOT sick.

This is a great question - thanks for starting this discussion

This is a great question and I have no idea why. However, could it be that our immune system is so stressed attacking our skin and other organs that it ignores day to day viruses and bacteria?

Just a thought. Hope someone has a great answer.

I think the way my doc put was put that it is a compromised immune system...so what is a "summer cold" to everyone else feels like that plague to us. Our immune system doesn't see a "summer cold" and act accordingly...it perceives something far more dangerous to us and acts as though it is fighting a "super bug". Fevers, chills, aches, joint pain are normal for people with a normal summer cold or slight flu. Our systems sense they are fighting much bigger bugs than are actually present.

In some, probably most cases, when you are in a flare you don't actually have any infection. Your immune system can't differentiate between healthy cells and cells under attack from a foreign invader. This is why organ damage can be such a problem. You may not actually have any infection in your organs but your immune system thinks that it does and starts attacking the "sick" cells and destroying them.

As Ann said, what we are usually prescribed are immunosuppressant meds that try to keep your immune system from attacking the healthy cells and destroying them.

As I have labs done about twice a month, and white cell count (an indicator of infection) is rarely above normal, I know that I am in a flare and not "sick" in the way someone with a cold is my immune system just thinks that I am.

Anyway that is the best way I can explain the way it was explained to me, because I thought, oh yeah I'll never catch a cold or be sick again. Well, maybe not, but that doesn't mean my body is not constantly fighting one.

So much gets explained on this site, but your Rheumy could probably explain it better.

Thank you for the great responses!

The way I understand SLE Lupus is that for some reason, the body begins producing antibodies that start attacking itself. There is no explanation why, but once healthy cells become targets for these antibodies and our bodies react with inflammation and pain, etc. The meds we take usually have horrible side effects that suppress the immune response and we are more likely to catch anything and everything and can't fight it off like we used to.


Im right there with you when I catch a cold it feels like the flu, last year I had 4 MSRA infections and A C-Difficle infection. This year I had a UTI and a kidney infection at the same time and I went into kidney failure. Makes me wonder what's in store for me next year.

I was talking with my hubby about this last night, and he came up with an interesting possibility. He said it made sense to him that we get the colds/flus worse because of our heightened immune systems. I had to ponder that for a few moments before I understood what he meant. If our immune systems are extra high, and are triggered by a virus, imagine it being like an enraged guard dog suddenly catching sight of an intruder. Normal dog would bark bark growl, but the enraged dog would launch itself at the intruder instead, slavering and ready to kill. It's possible that this is the way our immune systems work. When a germ invades, it over-reacts, sending us into a bad series of symptoms as our body wages all-out war, rather than the more muted response that would have been appropriate.

Just a thought I figured I'd share!