While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a serious danger for all segments of the society, this also points to an anxious process for people struggling with rheumatological diseases, which are an important immune problem.
Immunosuppressive drugs called immunosuppressive are used in the treatment of many of these ailments. Therefore, the risk that both the rheumatological disease itself and the drugs used in the treatment may adversely affect the body's defense system increases the anxiety level of the patients. Prof. Dr. Erdal Gilgil gave information about what rheumatology patients should pay attention to in the coronavirus process.
Rheumatic diseases do not increase the risk of getting Covid-19!
Today, published data do not show that rheumatic diseases increase the risk of getting Covid-19. In addition, there is no information that rheumatism patients with coronavirus experience Covid-19 more severely than normal individuals. However, if there are other diseases such as chronic renal failure, COPD, cancer in addition to rheumatic disease, these may increase the severity of the disease.
Rheumatology patients should not disrupt their treatment
Scientific data show that most of the drugs used in rheumatic diseases do not increase the risk of Covid-19, so treatment should be continued without interruption. Exceptionally, the disease may be more severe in patients receiving rituximab or corticosteroids greater than 10 mg per day. Therefore, patients using these drugs should be more careful and in close contact with rheumatology specialists. It is not right for rheumatology patients to change or terminate their treatment by their own decision because an increase in rheumatic disease activity can lead to much more serious problems.
Despite immunosuppressive drugs, the protective effect of the vaccine is great
The results of the Phase 2 studies of the Sinovac vaccine have shown that the vaccine is effective. This vaccine Indonesia, was completed in the Phase 3 studies conducted in Brazil and Turkey. Although the Phase 3 study results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the results announced by the researchers show that the vaccine is effective and safe. Field vaccination does not appear to have caused serious adverse effects so far. For this reason, it is very important to be protected from Covid-19 by vaccination.
Immediately get vaccinated when it's your turn
Rheumatology patients are included in A1, A2 and A3 groups with chronic patients according to the vaccination scheme determined by the Ministry of Health. Immunosuppressive drugs may slightly reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine, but still create an adequate vaccine response and protection in patients taking these drugs. Except for the patients who use rituximab, every rheumatology patient should have their vaccinations without waiting, regardless of whether they use immunosuppressants or not. Patients using rituximab should definitely consult a rheumatologist before vaccination.
Suggestions for rheumatology patients are:
- Rheumatology patients, especially those with ankylosing spondylitis and osteoporosis, should pay attention to their daily exercises and do it regularly at home.
- It should not be forgotten that gaining weight increases the problems especially in the knee joints.
- Solid oils should be avoided, and a Mediterranean diet with a predominance of olive oil and vegetables should be adopted.
- Oily fish rich in Omega-3 should be consumed frequently, and if necessary, omega-3 supplements should also be taken.
- Vitamin D intake should not be neglected.
- In order to keep the bones strong, calcium-rich foods such as dairy products and almonds should be consumed as well as fish.