Symptoms of Lupus vs. Sjogren's
Yes, I'll admit that I start poking around on the net when I get an idea in my head about something. I'm worried that my mom's Lupus is moving into her lungs so I'm poking around and it seems that Lupus and Sjogren's effect the lungs and pulimanary system in much the same way. My mom has been horse for quite sometime and I always just thought it was from the trach tube they put in years ago when she was in ICU.
Well, now I'm reading and finding out that it could be something completely different. AND with the pneumonia, how often she's getting it, the fevers and now the fact that the pneumonia is not getting any smaller in chest x-ray.....I'm freakin' out.
Yes, lung problems with Sjogren's include pneumonia, various forms of bronchitis, obstructive long disease, and interstitial lung disease. Dry mouth is the most common symptom of Sjogren's syndrome. However, it can cause lung problems such as aspiration pneumonia. This happens when a person breathes in food instead of swallowing it (dry mouth can keep you from swallowing food properly), and the food gets stuck in the lungs. Pneumonia can also develop when bacteria in the mouth migrates to the lungs and causes infection, or when bacteria gets into the lungs and coughing doesn't remove them. Some people with Sjogren's don't produce enough mucus in the lungs to remove the bacteria, and others are too weak to be able to cough.
Pneumonia is treated with various antibiotics, depending on the person and the type of infection. It is important to get treatment for pneumonia to prevent lung abscess (a hole in the lung caused by severe infection).
People with Sjogren's also tend to have lung problems caused by inflammation, such as bronchitis (affecting the bronchial tubes), tracheobronchitis (affecting the windpipe and bronchial tubes), and laryngotracheobronchitis (affecting the voice box, windpipe, and bronchial tubes).
So, you are not wrong in thinking that Sjogren's may have something to do with your mothers hoarseness and pneumonia. Have you or she discussed this with her doctors? It is important that they evaluate her to see if, indeed, Sjogren's is the primary cause for her symptoms.
Please keep us posted and let us know how she is doing?
Peace and Blessings
She's still in the hospital. She's been there for over a week now and I don't see much improvement. They tell me that the pneumonia in her lung has not gotten much smaller then it was a week ago and last night she was running a fever again. They are continuing with the IV antibiotics. She's gotten her second dose of Vanco and she gets Leviquin (sp?) every 48 hours.
I have talked to her doctors about the Lupus and all the things that go along with it, but to my knowledge (I've been sick, so I haven't gone to see her for a couple of days. She's mad but I don't want to make her sicker..)she has not yet seen the rhumetologist yet. I still don't know what her Lupus tests came back looking like and they tell the cat scan was "negative". I don't know if that means it was negative for something in particular or what.
Did I mention how much I hate doctors? I hate it when I can't be there to be on top of everything...grrrrrrrr...Heck of a time to get sick! I'm still hacking up a lung and my nose is trying to run off my face. *sigh*
I don't want to frighten you more here, but it's really important that your doctors monitor your mother's blood levels of vancomyacin while she is on the drug - it can build up in the system quickly and without any kidney function to clear the drug, she is at much higher risk for side effects. So her nephrologist needs to be heavily involved in any decisions about antibiotics - because most have to be used with extreme caution in a renal patient. If your mom complains about ringing in her ears, or her hearing seems to affected, let her doctors know right away because these can be signs that her vanc levels are too high. If she hasn't been seen by an infectious disease specialist or a pulmonary specialist, you may want to push for a consult, because her "pneumonia" might actually be a fungal infection or some other illness that wouldn't respond to antibiotics. Unfortunately people whose immune systems are suppressed become much more vulnerable to things like PCP, which can be overlooked in an older patient because most doctors only see them in AIDS cases. So you want to make sure they have ruled out other possibilities for the infiltrates in her lungs. If you don't feel that you are getting answers to your questions, don't hesitate to get the hospital's ombudsman or patient care representative involved - their job is to help you navigate the medical system and be an advocate for you.