September 19, 2014 |  written by IVX Health

How to Stay Healthy While Taking Immunosuppressive Meds

While immunosuppressive drugs are vital in helping to treat these conditions, they have the unfortunate side effect of increasing the risk of infection and illness.  But there are ways to battle that side effect and stay healthy while on immunosuppressive medications.  Read on for those strategies.

What is an Immunosuppressive Medicine?

Many chronic conditions are considered to be autoimmune diseases, meaning they involve some form of immune system dysfunction. It’s common for the immune system to be overactive, leading to increased inflammation and the symptoms commonly seen with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease. This means that many treatment options for these conditions involve reducing the strength of the body’s immune system, and are called immunosuppressive medicines or treatments.

The immune system is the part of the body that handles fighting off infections, so when taking an immunosuppressive medicine, your body is more susceptible to falling ill. Because of this, it’s important to be conscious of your body’s additional needs when being treated with an immunosuppressive medicine. At IVX Health, almost all biologic infusion and injection therapies are to some degree, immunosuppressive.

A Healthy Diet Is Your First Line of Defense

When on an immunosuppressive treatment plan, your diet can be a useful way to support your body and strengthen it when fighting off potential infections.  A diet that consists of fiber-rich foods plus vitamins and minerals can go a long way toward helping you battle infection and illness while on immunosuppressants.  Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will give you the variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants your body needs to ward off invaders such as viruses and harmful bacteria.

Decrease Stress

Stress is a normal part of life for anyone, but people with chronic conditions on immunosuppressive medicines need to be extra diligent about reducing their stress levels.  You can’t remove all stressors from your life, of course, but you can find ways to help relieve stress, such as yoga and meditation classes.  Yoga has the added benefit of aiding physical strength, and meditation has been shown to have calming effects on the central nervous system.

Make a Good Night’s Sleep a Priority

Sleep is restorative, plain and simple.  Your body heals and builds up energy reserves during sleep, and sleep helps decrease inflammation in the brain, which allows you to wake up feeling well-rested and with more energy.  Some chronic conditions can make falling and staying asleep difficult, especially during a period of heightened symptoms, called a flare-up. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try the following strategies:

  • Don’t nap too close to bedtime.
  • Drink most of your water for the day before dinner.
  • Avoid caffeine in the evening and late afternoon.
  • Avoid alcohol — even though it might make you feel relaxed or even sleepy, it actually causes poor sleep and higher wakefulness throughout the night.
  • Try to turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes  before bed.

Staying Strong through Immunosuppressive Treatments

Though immunosuppressive medicines can make you feel weak or fatigued, if you try to maintain healthy routines and practices, you can ensure your body is strong enough to defend itself against becoming ill. While these immune power-reducing medicines are often a necessary part of your treatment plan, they don’t have to completely change your daily health and mood.

At IVX Health we provide private suites at all of our centers for patients receiving biologic infusion and injection therapies. To make the treatment process as comfortable as possible, we provide complimentary snacks and drinks, blankets, as well as a leather recliner with seating for guests and flat screen TV in all suites. To experience how IVX is redefining the patient care experience, contact us to find a location near you.

Treatment at IVX Health

If biologics like Remicade, Actemra or Orencia  are a part of your chronic illness treatment plan, then consider choosing IVX Health for your ongoing care needs. IVX Health makes it possible to receive your therapy in a comfortable, convenient, and private environment.

With a private suite for every patient, you can watch your favorite Netflix show or movie on the big screen TV in each room, use a laptop or other mobile device to surf the web, or simply hang out with family and friends. We always have chairs for guests, and each center has a family room that is spacious and private if you need to bring your kids to your treatment. We also offer flexible appointment scheduling – including evenings and Saturdays – at any of our convenient locations.

At IVX Health, we truly are invested in helping you live your best life. If you’re ready to experience a new kind of infusion clinic, click here to learn how to move your infusion or injection therapy to IVX Health.