lupus self care

5 Ideal Ways For Lupus Self Care

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, commonly called Lupus is becoming ridiculously common in the US. About 1.5 million Americans are affected, over 90% of them being women. Women of childbearing age (between 15 and 44) are at the highest risk of lupus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the disease isn’t limited to younger adults. Between 10-20% with systemic lupus are diagnosed before age 18, according to a study in Nature Reviews Rheumatology, and adults can also have “late-onset” lupus that is diagnosed after age 50.

But what is lupus? And how do you do lupus self care?

It is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation all over your body. Inflammation is your body’s response to any injury, germs, or anything alien that doesn’t belong in your body. However, if there is inflammation in a perfectly fine body then your immune system might start attacking and damaging your organs. Interestingly, the disease is never the same in two people as it depends on the individual’s autoimmune system and where it will cause damage. Patients might experience symptoms in different areas of their body including: 

  • Skin
  • Kidney
  • Blood
  • Bones
  • Lungs
  • Brain
  • Joints
5 Ways to Lupus Self care

Symptoms of lupus vary from person to person, from severity to the body parts affected. Some of the most common signs of lupus are a rash and joint pain, says Konstantinos Loupasakis, MD, a rheumatologist with MedStar Washington Hospital Center, but symptoms can also include fatigue, hair loss, mouth sores, and fever. “There’s a great range of manifestations we see with lupus,” he says.

People of colour — particularly African Americans — are at a higher risk of lupus than white people are, and the disease tends to affect populations differently. Most studies find that about 90 per cent of lupus patients are women, according to a review in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. The study also found that men tend to have more damage earlier in the disease and have lower survival rates. Hormones might play a role in the sex differences, but studies haven’t found a conclusive answer, says Dr. Loupasakis.

How can you be tested for Lupus?

Because lupus is caused by activity in the immune system, doctors will want to test for certain antibodies to find out what’s happening on a cellular level. Antinuclear antibody (ANA) levels tend to be high in people with autoimmune problems, and about 98 per cent of people with systemic lupus test positive to the ANA blood test.

Many people who have lupus lead a content life but sometimes lupus can be life-threatening but it is manageable with the right medication and lupus self care. In this blog, we will be exploring some ideal ways for lupus self-care, So, let’s get started. 

5 Tips for Lupus Self Care 

Experts have not yet discovered what causes lupus, some people are born with the tendency to develop it. However, some reasons might lead to it, for instance, it could be your genetics, environment, hormones(especially estrogen), or medical history. 

Symptoms in lupus come in waves called flare-ups, during flare-ups your symptoms are at their peak but during the period of remission, you have mild to no symptoms. So, to avoid these flare-ups and triggers we have compiled some ideal ways to self-care for lupus and implying these ways might help in keeping lupus symptoms to bay. 

  • Avoid Sun exposure: Sunlight can be one of the triggers for lupus, especially ultraviolet rays. One must evade sunlight when it is at its brightest, that means (10am -4pm). Even if you are outside there must be some precautions like wearing good SPF sunscreen, UV spectrum sunglasses, broad hat, and clothing to protect your skin. 
  • Manage Stress: Lupus can also be triggered by the amount of stress you take. Chronic stress might have negative impacts on lupus because stress leads to activation of the immune system which is a root problem for lupus. Try to limit your stress with meditation, journaling, and breathing exercises. 
  • Healthy diet: Consuming a rich diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats will not only help you in lupus but in all over health. Anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish (rich in omega-3s), nuts, seeds, and olive oil will help you avoid inflammation. 
  • Quality Sleep: A quality sleep of 8 to 9 hours will help you reduce your symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Ensure a good quality sleep by avoiding any meal before your bedtime, Stop using screens hours before sleeping, and limit your caffeine. 
  • Stay Active: Lupus can cause joint pains which might be problematic in your daily life.  Low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, yoga, and biking can relieve symptoms like joint pains and stiffness. 

Lupus is different in everyone and so are the triggers which cause flare-ups. To minimize your chances of getting triggered you must understand your triggers. To narrow down your triggers you can keep track of all the things that trigger you and then avoid them.

Types of Lupus (and Lupus Self Care)

Lupus is a chronic disease and individuals with lupus learn to live with it by adopting approaches that fit them the best. The most common type of lupus is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus which means you have lupus all over your body, there are other lupus also including:

  • Cutaneous lupus erythematosus: Lupus affecting only skin
  • Drug-induced lupus: Drugs can trigger lupus symptoms but it is temporary as it will go away once you stop consuming the medication. 
  • Neonatal lupus: Newborns who are born with lupus. 

The prime symptom of lupus includes a butterfly rash on the patient’s face by which sometimes doctors get an idea that one might have lupus. Other than this there are different types of diagnosis which include blood tests, urology where healthcare experts take your pee to check for any infection or underlying disease, and biopsy where they take a part of your skin or kidney tissue to check if your immune system has damaged them or not.  

Drugs can’t cure lupus, but they can prevent flare-ups. Available medications can suppress the immune system, holding back the antibodies that would otherwise be triggering inflammation, which is why self care is ideally the best way out. “The most important treatment for lupus is a medication called Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine). Essentially all patients with lupus should be on this medication,” says Dr. Liebowitz. “The other medications used in lupus — which may include mycophenolate mofetil, cyclophosphamide, and other immunosuppressive medications — depend on the symptoms of lupus and the parts of the body that have been affected.” A rheumatologist will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for a particular patient.

To conclude, lupus might be a chronic disease but with proper guidance, medication, and good lupus self-care it is manageable. Individuals with lupus can lead a fulfilling and content life by following the self-care tips listed above. 

Some drug formulas like Corticosteroids help you reduce inflammation and Immunosuppressants refrain your immune system from damaging your organs. It is advisable to discuss your medical professional or rheumatologist (A medical professional who has expertise in autoimmune diseases) before taking any medication. It is also crucial to visit your healthcare facilitator for regular check-ups (even if you have a lupus self care regime). 

Another important article that you should read on inflammatory diseases (diabetes) and if you get diabetes from eating too much sugar is here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial