People living with Lupus experience a range of symptoms and side effects. Some people can work and live life as they usually would. Others may need to slow down or take time off from their day-to-day activities. Regardless of how your body reacts to this disease, it is important that you find ways to maintain happiness in the face of adversity.
With enough support from friends and family members, its possible to learn strategies for coping with stressors like pain, fatigue, or depression. This blog post will explore different techniques for managing these symptoms so that people living with lupus can be happier and healthier.
Living life successfully with lupus can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Discover the best ways for you to cope with Lupus and live your best life!
What is Lupus?
The human body is an incredible machine. The way we heal ourselves and fight off diseases is truly amazing, but the immune system in our bodies can sometimes be a double-edged sword when you think of how lupus works.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that means cells attack healthy tissue instead of foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses that cause disease, leading to inflammation all over the body – joints, lungs, kidneys, endocrine glands, and brain included!
Symptoms are very similar to other autoimmune disorders such as Lyme Disease, thyroid disorder, and fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, because of the similarities, they often go undiagnosed because doctors don’t know what’s going on until more tests have been done.
What are the Causes of Lupus?
Millions of people all over the world suffer from lupus. The cause for most cases remains unknown, but some think it’s likely a combination of genetics and environmental triggers that initiate the condition.
Evidence points to the idea of developing symptoms if you have inherited genes that put you at risk for developing lupus and then come into contact with something in the environment that may trigger it.
Lupus occurs when your immune system attacks healthy cells because it becomes confused by environmental stimuli such as pollens, molds, bacteria, and other substances found outside of the human body.
Risk Factors for Developing Lupus
The factors that may increase your risk of lupus include:
- Your sex – lupus is more common in women, but men can have this disease too.
- Age – Although it affects people from all walks of life and at any age, the average diagnosis for those with lupus happens between 15 to 45 years old.
- Race – Lupus is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.
Symptoms of Lupus
Lupus is a disease that affects everyone who develops it in their own way. Some cases may be mild and some more severe, but no two are ever alike. Signs and symptoms can come on suddenly or develop slowly, with the severity varying between episodes of flare-ups.
Symptoms will depend on which body systems your immune system has attacked. The most common warning sign is a rash that appears anywhere on the skin’s surface with red patches or small purple spots (known as “malar” erythema). Here is a short list of other common manifestations:
- Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
- A butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose or rashes elsewhere on the body
- Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure
- Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Headaches, confusion, and memory loss
If you experience a sudden onset of fever, persistent fatigue for more than 24 hours or an unexplained rash that worsens anyway, you should consult your doctor.
How to Cope with Lupus
There are many things that people with lupus can do to help themselves, including changing their diet, incorporating physical activity, using stress relieving techniques, and staying out of the sun. In the next section, we’ll examine a few tips to help deal with flares and symptoms that arise with lupus.
You can make a simple change to your diet by getting enough fiber from fruits and vegetables, which will lower cholesterol levels. Because they are also lower in carbs, these food groups help maintain blood sugar levels and provide much-needed nutrients to the eyes and skin, which are organs that usually exhibit the effects of lupus.
Inflammation is a common issue with people living with lupus, so many “lupies” spend a lot of time researching diets and supplements to help reduce inflammation.
White potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (both sweet and hot), and eggplant are all nightshade family members. Foods in the nightshade family have been reported by people to trigger symptoms due to their high acidity levels. These symptoms can be intensified in those who suffer from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Exercise is essential for healthy living, but that’s not always possible with a chronic condition like lupus. If your symptoms are so severe as to make movement difficult or painful (or impossible), starting gentle and taking small steps can help you build a healthy routine that is not too taxing on you.
To start slowly: take five minutes for stretching before bedtime. Next week introduce walking outdoors once or twice a day. Then when you are feeling ready, you can add in other activities.
Low-impact exercises may be easier on your joints than higher intensity ones because they don’t put as much strain on them. Walking, biking, certain types of yoga (restorative or gentle), Pilates (preferably without weights), water aerobics, and stretching are all great options that can help you get the benefits from regular exercise.
Stress Management and Lupus
No one is safe from stress. It’s everywhere, and there’s no way to get away from it completely! While you can’t avoid stress altogether, taking some simple steps in your everyday life will help make dealing with it easier for you personally.
- Talking about What You’re Dealing With – Talking about problems with friends or counselors may feel intimidating at first, but don’t let that stop you from trying it out; it could make a big difference in your day. Although there are many organizations that can connect you to support groups, your medical provider may also be able to help.
- Don’t Overload Your Calendar – Ease the stress from your life by looking at your calendar for upcoming weeks and marking any stressful times you know are coming. Then, take time to think about what events in those days will be 100% necessary so that you can say no if it’s not essential.
- Just “Do You” – Practice some tried and true favorites to help relieve stress. If you are getting bored or aren’t feeling like some of the fallbacks are working, ask friends and family to suggest a new activity to try.
Take some time everyday to make sure you are taking care of you.
Lupus and Sun Exposure
Many people with lupus experience increased sensitivity to sunlight. This can trigger symptoms such as skin rashes, itching, and burning. Sun exposure in excess has been found to cause flares of the disease, which triggers symptoms such as joint pain, weakness, or fatigue. Here are a few tips to help manage your time in the sun.
- UV rays are most intense in the morning and early evening. When they’re at their peak, try to spend less time outdoors by planning an early walk or a dinner picnic.
- Even though it’s hot outside, cover up when you go out. Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs as much as possible to protect yourself from the sun. And don’t forget about protecting your face with a wide-brimmed hat too!
- Sunscreen is your best friend. Anytime you spend time outdoors, even during off-peak hours or cooler times of the year, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen every day!
Taking care of your body through exercise, eating well, and reducing skin exposure can help ease the frustration you may feel from battling your symptoms.
Becoming a Lupie Warrior
The most important takeaway from this article is that there are many different ways to live with lupus and its various symptoms. There’s no one size fits all approach, but if you find what works for you then it will be easier to manage the day-to-day challenges of living with a chronic disease.
Find your own coping strategies and share them on social media or in blog posts like this so others can benefit too! Let us know how we can help by commenting below or contacting us at http://silentdisabilities.life/.
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