Formerly serving as head of technical support for operations at Bayer Corporation, Donald Lee "Don" Pferdehirt brings more than three decades of chemical engineering experience to his role as president of the Spring, TX-based consultancy firm ChemOps Insights, LLC. Outside of his professional pursuits, Don Pferdehirt is a supporter of the Lupus Foundation of Pittsburgh.
There are four different types of Lupus, the most common of which is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This variation of the disease affects the B cells of a person's immune system and causes them to produce antibodies that react negatively against their own tissues. Common SLE symptoms include fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, and kidney problems. While there is no cure for the autoimmune disease, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine recently discovered patterns of gene activity that might serve as a precursor to the development of SLE.
The study, published in Nature Immunology, involved blood samples from 21 women, nine of which had been previously diagnosed with SLE. In examining the DNA of their B cells, researchers noticed signals of activation in "resting naïve" B cells are being stimulated via receptor pathways. This discovery should support efforts to develop new therapeutic interventions.
A graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Houston, Don Pferdehirt applies over 33 years of experience as a chemical engineer in his role as president of ChemOps Insights LLC in Spring, TX. ChemOps Insights LLC is a consulting firm that assists clients in the development, design, and operational aspects of chemical facilities. In addition to his professional pursuits, Don (Donald Lee) Pferdehirt has offered support to the Lupus Foundation of Pittsburgh.
Over five million people suffer from lupus worldwide, with 16,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US. The chronic autoimmune disease causes joint pain and fatigue and can affect multiple areas of the body including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain. Lupus results when a person’s immune system becomes overactive, attacking healthy tissues.
While there is no cure for lupus, a rheumatologist will help patients develop an individualized treatment plan that will help them manage their symptoms. The plan will take into consideration a person’s age, symptoms, lifestyle, and overall health. Depending on which systems have been affected by the disease, additional specialists may need to be consulted.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and regular exercise can help lessen the symptoms of lupus. Most lupus patients also need to take medications to manage their symptoms. Some of the medications they may be prescribed include:
-Anti-inflammatories and over the counter pain relief can ease a patient’s pain and reduce some swelling.
-Corticosteroids are prescribed to relieve significant swelling.
-Antimalarials are used to enable smaller dosages of other medications. They are also prescribed to treat skin rashes, mouth ulcers, and joint pain.
-Anticoagulants help to prevent blood clots that can be common with lupus.
-Monoclonal antibodies, the first treatment developed specifically to treat lupus, disrupt the activation of B lymphocytes by interfering with BLyS, a protein required for B cell activity.
-A repository corticotropin injection is thought to help the body produce steroid hormones which can support healthy immune system function.
As president of ChemOps Insights, LLC, in Spring, TX, Donald ”Don” Lee Pferdehirt specializes in providing expert-level insight to clients on operations and personnel matters for chemical facilities. Don Pferdehirt is also a longtime supporter of the American Heart Association (AHA).
According to a recent report from the AHA, about half of all American adults suffer from cardiovascular disease. In light of these figures, the organization recently issued new guidelines for the treatment of high blood pressure, which can lead to serious issues like heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Researchers and heart professionals note that some blood pressure levels that were once considered healthy have been shown to be connected to worse outcomes for patients, highlighting the importance of early intervention.
Today, high blood pressure is defined as 130/80, compared to the old definition of 140/90. While the guidelines represent progress in cardiovascular health, cardiologists say emphasizing healthy heart habits is still the number one priority. Eating healthy, getting regular exercise, keeping off extra weight, and avoiding smoking are some of the most common habits that lead to better cardiovascular outcomes.