RESOURCES, INFORMATION, AND SUPPORT FOR THE MILLIONS WHO MUST ENDURE ALLERGIES/ASTHMA/AND AUTOIMMUNE AFFLICTIONS
“You do not have to travel down those sneezy, wheezy, often painful, disabling rocky roads alone!”
“Let Henry, a friendly antibody, tell you the inside story about hypersensitive, whacky, out of control immune systems. He’ll be there for you when you need him.” (Sneezing Seasons: The Inside Story about Allergies and Immunology/paperback and kindle.)
1. The Road Back Foundation (www.roadback.org)
3. Dr. Gabe Mirkin (www.drmirkin.com)
5. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org)
6. The Lupus Foundation of America (www.lupus.org)
7. The American Autoimmune-Related Disease
8. The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious
9. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
10. The American Academy of Pain Medicine
11. The National Fibromyalgia Association
12. The John Hopkins Arthritis Center and Mayo Clinic
13. The Arthritis Center of Riverside, California
14. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
15. The National Institute of Arthritis and
Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
16. The Arthritis Trust of America Foundation
17. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America since some
research indicates possible inflammatory and/or
autoimmunity causes (www.alzfd.org)
18. The American Lung Association (www.lung.org/lung-
20. http://www.quackwatch.org Note: Opinions vary with this
site. Many find it helpful to distinguish facts
from fallacies/quackery in a complex world related
to health, disease, and medicine. Others
express concerns that the site sides with more
conservative and/or orthodox treatments rather
than acknowledging some research studies or the
testimonials of many who claim that alternative
choices have worked well. (Or inquire on a
subject, check scam.)
ASTOUNDING FACTS AND FIGURES
FACTS: Statistics vary at times from various sources, but according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America: (sources 4 and 5)*
FIFTY MILLION Americans suffer from all types of allergies (1 in 5 Americans).
Allergy prevalence has increased overall since the early 1980’s across all ages, genders, and racial groups.
Allergies is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. amongst all ages.
Allergies are the 3rd most common chronic disease amongst children through age 18 years old.
Allergies are the most frequent reported chronic conditions in children—limiting activities for more than 40% of them.
Each year, allergies accounts for more than 17 million outpatient office visits, primarily in spring and fall.
Nearly 400 Americans die each year due to drug allergies from penicillin.
There are more than 200 deaths that occur each year due to food allergies.
Ten deaths each year are due to severe reactions to a latex allergy.
Annual costs due to allergies is estimated at nearly 14.5 billion dollars.
Adult allergies (hay fever) is the 5th leading chronic disease and a major cause of work absenteeism accounting for 4 million missed or lost days each year.
Daily asthma statistics are alarming too:
Nearly twenty-five million Americans suffer from asthma.
Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children.
44,000 asthma attacks occur daily.
36,000 kids miss school daily
27,000 adults miss work daily
4,700 people visit the ER daily
1,200 are admitted to the hospital daily
9 ASTHMATICS DIE DAILY!
*(FOR SOURCES SEE PAGES 141-144 in book: Sneezing Seasons: The Inside Story about Allergies and Asthma)
Corporeal Geno Getson (Vessel Patrol Officer)
Sergeant Deb Doss (Special Forces: Food Allergies)
Karin and Ronnie (a couple of antibody converts)
“The body, mind, spirit, and friendly, well-educated antibodies are the heroes. After all, if we are going to keep chasing life and cheating death as the wise doctor, Sanjay Gupta, advocates—we need that genuine holistic healthcare outlook.”
To hopefully help increase awareness and a better understanding of allergies and immunology, for those not as familiar as others, I have included a list of terms related to the story. It might help to have handy access to the following site while reading the book: http:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Main_Page: With the insertion of a word and one simple click, you can look at definitions. I have, however, included some of the most important terms here.
I have already introduced you to some of the main characters, so you will know who and what they are when their names come up, especially during the human-body-inner-immunological-wars that Henry is trying to win in order to save lives.
allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person’s immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment.
allergen is a type of antigen that produces an abnormally vigorous immune response in which the immune system fights off a perceived threat that would otherwise be harmless to the body.
antibody (Ab), also known as an immunoglobulin (Ig), is a large Y-shaped protein produced by B cells that is used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses. The antibody recognizes a unique part of the foreign target, called an antigen.
antigen is the substance that binds specifically to the respective antibody.
autoantibody is an antibody (a type of protein) manufactured by the immune system that is directed against one or more of the individual’s own proteins. Many autoimmune diseases are caused by autoantibodies.
autoimmune diseases arise from an inappropriate immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body.
autoimmunity is the failure of an organism in recognizing its own constituent parts as self, thus leading to an immune response against its own cells and tissues.
anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It typically causes a number of symptoms including an itchy rash, throat swelling, and low blood pressure. Common causes include: insect bites/stings, foods, and medications.
asthma (from the Greek ἅσθμα, ásthma, “panting”) is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
B cells belong to a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes, making them a vital part of the immune system. B cells can be distinguished from other lymphocytes, such as T cells and natural killer cells (NK cells), by the presence of a protein on the B cells outer surface known as a B cell receptor (BCR). This specialized receptor protein allows a B cell to bind to a specific antigen. The principal functions of B cells are to make antibodies against antigens, to perform the role of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and to develop into memory B cells after activation by antigen interaction. The abbreviation “B”, in B cell, comes from the bursa of Fabricius in birds, where they mature. (Latin: Bursa cloacalis or Bursa fabricii) The bursa is present in the cloaca of birds and is named after Hieronymus Fabricius who described it in 1621.
cell is the basic structural, functional and biological unit of all known living organisms. Cells are the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and are often called the “building blocks of life”.
corticosteroids are a class of chemicals that includes steroid hormones naturally produced in the adrenal cortex of vertebrates and analogues of these hormones that are synthesized in laboratories. Corticosteroids are involved in a wide range of physiological processes, including stress response, immune response, and regulation of inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism, protein catabolism, blood electrolyte levels, and behavior. Prednisone is an example of a synthetic corticosteroid drug that is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant drug. It is used to treat certain inflammatory diseases (such as moderate allergic reactions) and (at higher doses) some types of cancer, but has significant adverse effects. Because it suppresses the immune system, it leaves patients more susceptible to infections.
cytokines (secreted proteins and signaling molecules) the term “cytokine” has been used to refer to the immunomodulating agents, such as interleukins and interferons. They are regulators of host responses to infection, immune responses, inflammation, and trauma.[2
desensitization (also known as allergen immunotherapy) is a method to reduce or eliminate an organism’s negative reaction to a substance or stimulus. Cellular level administration of small doses of toxin produces an IgG response which eventually overrides the hypersensitive IgE response.
eosinophil granulocytes, are white blood cells and one of the immune system components responsible for combating multicellular parasites and certain infections in vertebrates. Along with mast cells, they also control mechanisms associated with allergy and asthma.
epinephrine (also known as adrenaline or adrenalin) is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. Epinephrine has many functions in the body, regulating heart rate, blood vessel and air passage diameters, and metabolic shifts; epinephrine release is a crucial component of the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.[Due to its vasoconstrictive effects, adrenaline is the drug of choice for treating anaphylaxis. Allergy patients undergoing immunotherapy may receive an adrenaline rinse before the allergen extract is administered, thus reducing the immune response to the administered allergen. Adrenaline is also used as a bronchodilator for asthma if specific β2 agonists are unavailable or ineffective.
epipen (epinephrine autoinjector) is a medical device used to deliver a measured dose (or doses) of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline).An Epipen is used for the treatment of acute allergic reactions to avoid or treat the onset of anaphylactic shock.
granulocytes are a category of white blood cells characterized by the presence of granules in their cytoplasm. There are three types of granulocytes, distinguished by their appearance under Wright’s stain: neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.
histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter. Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils and by mast cells found in nearby connective tissues. Histamine increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins, to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues.
hypersensitivity (also called hypersensitivity reaction or intolerance) refers to undesirable reactions produced by the normal immune system, including allergies and autoimmunity. These reactions may be damaging, uncomfortable, or occasionally fatal. Hypersensitivity reactions require a pre-sensitized (immune) state of the host.
immunity is the state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. It is the capability of the body to resist harmful microbes from entering it.
immunodeficiency (or immune deficiency) is a state in which the immune system’s ability to fight infectious disease is compromised or entirely absent.
immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a class of antibody or immunoglobulin (Ig) “isotype” (related protein/genes) that’s found only in mammals IgE also plays an essential role in type I hypersensitivity, which manifests various allergic diseases, such as allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, food allergy, and some types of chronic urticaria and atopic dermatitis. IgE plays a pivotal role, too, in allergic conditions, such as anaphylactic reactions to certain drugs, bee stings, and antigen preparations used in specific desensitization immunotherapy.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is an antibody isotype (related proteins/genes). Each IgG has two antigen binding sites. Antibodies are major components of the immune system. IgG is the main antibody isotype found in blood and extracellular fluid allowing it to control infection of body tissues. By binding many kinds of pathogens—representing viruses, bacteria, and fungi—IgG protects the body from infection. It does this via several immune mechanisms.
immunotherapy is a medical term defined as the “treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response”. Immunotherapies designed to elicit or amplify an immune response are classified as activation immunotherapies, while immunotherapies that reduce or suppress are classified as suppression immunotherapies.
isotype usually refers to any related proteins/genes from a particular gene family. In immunology, the “immunoglobulin isotype” refers to the genetic variations or differences in the constant regions of the heavy and light chains.
leukotrienes are a family of eicosanoid inflammatory mediators produced in leukocytes . As their name leukotrienes implies, leukotrienes were first discovered in leukocytes, but have since been found in other immune cells. Leukotrienes use lipid signaling to convey information to either the cell producing them (autocrine signaling or neighboring cells (paracrine signaling) in order to regulate immune responses. Leukotriene production is usually accompanied by the production of histamine and prostaglandins, which also act as inflammatory mediators. One of their roles (specifically, leukotriene D4) is to trigger contractions in the smooth muscles lining the bronchioles; their overproduction is a major cause of inflammation in asthma and allergic rhinitis. Leukotriene antagonists are used to treat these disorders by inhibiting the production or activity of leukotrienes.
lymphocyte is a kind of white blood cell in the vertebrate immune system, specifically, a landmark of the adaptive immune system.Under the microscope, Lymphocytes can be divided into large lymphocytes and small lymphocytes. Large granular lymphocytes include natural killer cells (NK cells). Small lymphocytes consist of T cells and B cells.
lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system, comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha “water goddess”) directionally towards the heart. The primary function of the lymph system is to provide an accessory route for these excess 3 litres per day to get returned to the blood. Lymph is essentially recycled blood plasma. Lymphatic organs play an important part in the immune system, having a considerable overlap with the lymphoid system.
macrophages, (Greek: big eaters, from makros “large” + phagein “eat”), are cells produced by the differentiation of monocytes in tissues. Their role is to phagocytose, or engulf and then digest, cellular debris and pathogens, either as stationary or as mobile cells. They also stimulate lymphocytes and other immune cells to respond to pathogens. They are specialized phagocytic cells that attack foreign substances, infectious microbes and cancer cells through destruction and ingestion. They are present in all living tissues, and have a function in regeneration.
mistaken identity Allergic reactions occur when a person’s immune system reacts to normally harmless substances. The hypersensitive person’s body causes a false alarm reaction as it “perceives” a threat. Those who are not hypersensitive—mount significant Immunoglobulin E responses only as a defense against real threats, such as: infectious diseases. However, for allergic individuals, a trigger that causes a reaction can be a simple spec of dust or a tiny digestion of food.
mast cell is a resident cell of several types of tissues and contains many granules rich in histamine and heparin. Although best known for their role in allergy and anaphylaxis, mast cells play an important protective role, as well, in being intimately involved in wound healing and defense against pathogens. The mast cell is very similar in both appearance and function to the basophil, a type of white blood cell. However, they are not the same, as they arise from different cell lines.
monoclonal antibodies (mAb or moAb) are monospecific antibodies that are the same because they are made by identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell, in contrast to polyclonal antibodies which are made from several different immune cells. Given almost any substance, it is possible to produce monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind to that substance; they can then serve to detect or purify that substance. This has become an important tool in biochemistry, molecular biology and medicine. One monoclonal antibody, Omalizumab (trade name Xolair), is a humanized antibody. It inhibits human immunoglobulin E (IgE) and is useful in moderate-to-severe allergic asthma.
monocytes are a type of white blood cell and are part of the innate immune system of vertebrates including all mammals (humans included), birds, reptiles, and fish. Monocytes play multiple roles in immune function. Monocytes play multiple roles in immune function. Such roles include: (1) replenish resident macrophages and dendritic cells under normal states, and (2) in response to inflammation signals, monocytes can move quickly (approx. 8–12 hours) to sites of infection in the tissues and divide/differentiate into macrophages and dendritic cells to elicit an immune response. Half of them are stored in the spleen.[1
neutrophils are a type of phagocyte and are normally found in the blood stream. During the beginning (acute) phase of inflammation, particularly as a result of bacterial infection, environmental exposure, and some cancers, neutrophils are one of the first-responders of inflammatory cells to migrate towards the site of inflammation.. Neutrophils are recruited to the site of injury within minutes following trauma and are the hallmark of acute inflammation.
pathogen (Greek: πάθος pathos “suffering, passion” and γενής genēs “producer of”) in the oldest and broadest sense is anything that can produce disease. Typically the term is used to mean an infectious agent (colloquially known as a germ) – a microorganism, in the widest sense such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus, that causes disease in its host. The host may be an animal, human, a plant, or even another microorganism.
phagocytes are the cells that protect the body by ingesting (phagocytosing) harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead or dying cells. Their name comes from the Greek phagein, “to eat” or “devour”, and “-cyte”, the suffix in biology denoting “cell”, from the Greek kutos, “hollow vessel”. They are essential for fighting infections and for subsequent immunity. The professional phagocytes include cells called: neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, and mast cells.[10
proteins are large biological molecules consisting of one or more chains of amino acids. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms, including catalyzing metabolic reactions, replicating DNA, responding to stimuli, and transporting molecules from one location to another.
Samter’s triad (It is named for Doctor Max Samter.)  Semester’s triad is a medical condition consisting of asthma, aspirin and NSAID sensitivity, and nasal/ethmoidal polyposis. It usually begins in young adulthood (twenties and thirties are the most common onset times) and may not include any other allergies. Initial reports on the link between asthma, aspirin and nasal polyposis were made by Widal in 1922. Further studies were done by Samter & Beers in reports published in 1968. It wasn’t until 1968 when Samter and Beers described patients with the symptom triad of: asthma, aspirin sensitivity and nasal polyps that the condition became recognized and known as Samter’s triad. Chronic hyperplastic sinusitis (enlargement caused by excessive multiplication of cells) is now considered a fourth hallmark of the disease, with the preferred name now being aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD).
T cells or T lymphocytes are a type of lymphocyte (itself a type of white blood cell) that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. They are called T cells because they mature in the thymus.
White blood cells, or leukocytes (also spelled “leucocytes”), are cells of the immune system involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials The name “white blood cell” derives from the fact that after centrifugation of a blood sample, the white cells are found in the buffy coat, a thin, typically white layer of nucleated cells between the sedimented red blood cells and the blood plasma. The scientific term leukocyte (from the Greek word leuko- meaning “white” and kytos meaning “hollow vessel”, with -cyte translated as “cell” in modern usage) directly reflects this description.