First off, I’d like to give you all some background information on Lupus since it is a disease that is misunderstood and lacks clarity…
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. This “attack” is responsible for chronic inflammation and ultimately affects the proper functioning of organs. Think of how you have an allergic reaction to something and run for Benadryl… in this case your immune system has an “allergic reaction” to your body’s tissues and organs and there is no cure.
Types of Lupus include:
1) Discoid- affects only skin
2) Systemic- General and affects whole body
3) Drug Induced- rare and only occurs w/ presence of medications
4) Neonatal- passed on to baby from mother
Symptoms of Lupus:
Fatigue, fever, joint pain/stiffness, rash( pictured above), skin lesions induced by sunlight, shortness of breath, chest pain, dry eyes, headaches, confusion, memory loss, and fingers/toes that tune white or blue when exposed to any form of cold. Symptoms range from mild/severe,sudden/gradual,
temporary or permanent
What are Triggers/Causes of Lupus?
This is still unknown and yet to be determined. Continued research implies that your genetics and environment are most responsible for the onset of this disease.
Genetic risk factors include:
1) Being a female – Lupus is more common in women
2) Age- Mostly affects people between the ages of 15-40
3) Race- most common in African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians
As for your environment, I have listed 2 really common causes:
1) Sun- can trigger lupus skin lesions to appear
2) Medications: Anti- seizure & blood pressure meds, and antibiotics can all cause the onset of Lupus.
Now that I’ve covered the basics on Lupus,
How can you or a loved one cope with Lupus?
Some popular tips I have found include:
Get regular exercise- This can help boost energy levels.
A simple activity such as walking can do wonders for your energy levels.
Get enough rest- Aim for 8 hrs of sleep or even take rest periods throughout the day is possible and necessary.
See my post on getting a good nights sleep
Organize your time and follow a schedule- This prevents you from doing too much and building a regular pattern to doing tasks/activities without being over fatigued. Plan your most strenuous activities for the time of day that you have the most energy.
Build relaxing activities into your daily routines -Helps you slow down and prioritize yourself. You clearly won’t be at your best for anyone
(family, work and children), if you’re not at your best for you.
Use sunscreen of at lease 55 SPF and wear protective clothing to minimize sunlight exposure
Maintain a low-fat/low cholesterol diet and avoid the following: (Cow/Goat milk, eggs, processed meat ( ie: hotdogs), beans and mushrooms to name a few.
Incorporate the following into your diet: brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruits & veggies, mackerel, sardines, salmon. and tuna are all rich in vitamin D.
(which helps alleviate symptoms)
Don’t skip meals-helps maintain energy
* Some supplements that you may find useful (of course with Dr’s approval) include: Vitamin D, Fish oil and Cod liver oil*