Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects the organs and joints. When a person has lupus, the immune system has a hard time differentiating healthy tissue from viruses and bacteria. As a result, it attacks healthy tissue throughout the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, and other organs. Many individuals living with lupus experience skin rashes, sun sensitivity, and arthritis. Lupus is chronic, which means there is no cure. However, most symptoms of lupus can be managed with lifestyle changes or medication.
Lupus is a disorder that tends to occur in waves, called flare-ups. These flare-ups tend to occur or worsen with overexertion, so people with lupus are wise to adjust their lifestyle accordingly. This means doing their best to ensure a full night's sleep and allow for naps or daytime rest when necessary.
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Prescription medications are usually the best line of defense against lupus-related symptoms, and multiple medications are generally needed. 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 the doctor managing a person's lupus.
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Individuals with lupus are living longer than ever before. This is due to advances in medical treatments — specifically, prescription medications. Although these medications are increasing life expectancy, they have the potential to produce long-term side effects, including heart and lung issues. Cigarette use is often associated with conditions of the heart and lungs. Therefore, it is recommended that those with lupus do not smoke.
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Lupus affects the skin and causes rashes on the face and other parts of the body. In most people with lupus, these rashes worsen with exposure to UV rays. Sunshine can also cause people with lupus to feel ill or woozy and can cause lupus to flare up after too much exposure.
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Certain ingredients in some 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 result in worsening of lupus symptoms. Certain antibiotics and heart and blood pressure medications are the most likely to cause these side effects.
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The use of certain types of hormonal birth control is known to increase the incidence of lupus flare-ups in individuals who have already been diagnosed. The best birth control methods for those with lupus are barrier methods, such as condoms, nonhormonal IUDs, diaphragms, or spermicide.
Pregnancy in lupus can be difficult and risky. The fetus may become stressed when flare-ups occur during pregnancy. Fatigue is a common side effect of pregnancy as well and can worsen flare-ups when they occur. Those with lupus should plan pregnancy during a period of remission and only under the supervision of a doctor.
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Often, so-called miracle cures come around that are claimed to cure chronic diseases and improve the quality of life of those who experience them. It is important, however, that those with lupus continue to follow the advice of their licensed practitioner and continue with lifestyle and medication recommendations to control their symptoms.
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One of the most important things a person with lupus can do is to eat wholesome, healthy food. Eating a healthy diet allows the body to work as efficiently as possible and helps combat some symptoms of lupus naturally, as well as digesting and processing medications that relieve symptoms.
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Those with lupus must not overexert themselves to avoid fatigue. However, a routine of simple low-impact exercise can help immensely. Activities such as yoga, swimming, or water aerobics will help to alleviate joint pain caused by arthritis, which occurs often in those with lupus. Exercise also helps to regulate mood and energy levels.
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