When a person has lupus, their immune system has a hard time differentiating healthy tissue from invading viruses and bacteria. As a result, it attacks healthy tissue, including the joints, skin, kidneys, and other organs. People living with lupus experience a wide range of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, immune deficiency, skin rashes, sun sensitivity, and arthritis. Lupus is a chronic condition, which means symptoms are experienced long term.. The symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication, but most people have to deal with flare-ups and persistent symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Lupus tends to occur in waves, called flare-ups. These flare-ups may happen or be worse than usual when a person is excessively tired. People with lupus may find they are tired more often regardless of exertion, and this can cause a cyclical issue. Getting as much sleep as possible is essential, including resting or napping during the day.
Medication is usually the best line of defense against lupus-related symptoms, and most people with the condition need multiple prescriptions. To effectively treat symptoms, it is important to follow the dosing schedule and directions from doctors and pharmacists. Over-the-counter medications, natural remedies, vitamins, and other prescriptions should only be taken under the direction of a doctor who is aware of all other medications.
Advances in medical treatments — specifically, prescription medications — have significantly improved the prognosis for people with lupus. Unfortunately, with long-term consumption of medication often comes long-term side effects, in this case, heart and lung issues. Because people with lupus are already at risk for these secondary conditions, they should take care to avoid other activities that could negatively impact these systems. For these and general health reasons, people with lupus should avoid smoking.
Lupus affects the skin and causes rashes on the face and other parts of the body. In most cases, exposure to UV rays from the sun worsen the rashes. Doctors recommend using sunscreen and covering up. Too much unrelieved time out in the sun can also cause people with lupus to feel ill or woozy and increase the frequency or intensity of flare-ups.
Certain ingredients in antibiotics can cause side effects, such as fever, skin rashes, and sun sensitivity. These symptoms tend to be similar to what a person with lupus experiences during a flare-up and therefore often worsen these symptoms. Certain antibiotics and heart and blood pressure medications are the most likely to cause these side effects, so if a person needs to take antibiotics for an unrelated reason, it is vital the prescribing doctor be aware of their lupus diagnosis.
The use of certain types of hormonal birth control is known to increase lupus flare-ups in. The best birth control methods for those with lupus are barrier methods, such as condoms, nonhormonal IUDs, diaphragms, and spermicide. Always make sure doctors at the clinic know about the lupus diagnosis, as well as any other symptoms or conditions.
Pregnancy in lupus can be difficult and risky — the fetus may become stressed during flare-ups. Additionally, fatigue is a common side effect of pregnancy and lupus alike, so flare-ups can become more severe when a woman with lupus is carrying a baby. Anyone with lupus should plan their pregnancy to avoid flare-ups as much as possible and remain under the close supervision of a doctor throughout their gestation.
So-called miracle cures appear now and then, claiming to cure chronic diseases and improve the quality of life of those who experience them. While research is ongoing into treatments that could improve life for people with lupus or cure the condition, medical professionals urge patients not to try treatments that are untested or that could interfere with existing medications without discussing any additions or changes with their doctor. Sometimes, these "cures" can have dangerous side effects.
One of the most important things a person with lupus can do is eat wholesome, healthy food. A healthy diet keeps the body from having to deal with gastrointestinal or other issues caused by poor digestion, allowing it towork as efficiently as possible and reserve its energy for combating symptoms.
People with lupus need to monitor their energy levels and avoid overexertion that can lead to fatigue and flare-ups. However, a routine of moderate, low-impact exercise can help with symptoms. Activities such as yoga, swimming, and water aerobics can alleviate joint pain, a common symptom of the condition. Exercise also helps to regulate mood and energy levels and keep the body generall healthy.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.