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 conditions 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 the 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, whether or not they use immunosuppressants. Patients using rituximab should definitely consult a rheumatologist before vaccination.

Suggestions for rheumatology patients are as follows;

1. Rheumatology patients, especially ankylosing spondylitis and osteoporosis patients, should pay attention to their daily exercises and do it regularly at home.
2. It should not be forgotten that gaining weight increases the problems especially in the knee joints.
3. Solid oils should be avoided, and a Mediterranean diet with a predominance of olive oil and vegetables should be adopted.
4. Oily fish rich in Omega-3 should be consumed frequently, and Omega-3 supplements should also be taken if necessary.
5. Vitamin D intake should not be neglected.
6. In addition to fish, foods rich in calcium such as dairy products and almonds should be consumed to keep bones strong.

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