Lupus, A.K.A, systemic lupus erythematosus, is a systemic autoimmune disease (or autoimmune connective tissue disease) that can affect any part of the body. Living with it can have a profound effect on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. There isn’t a cure for this disease, but there are ways to live with it and manage it. Here are five tips to help you live with it.
- Avoid environmental triggers: For someone who has lupus, some of the materials in the air can trigger a flare up. If this is the case for you, talk to your doctor about what certain things trigger a flare up and what you can do to manage it while in public, Some flare ups are triggered by cigarettes smoke, cleaning products, alcohol and many more. It’s best to try and avoid these triggers if you can, if not, tell your doctor and he/she will help you map out a plan.
- Sleep: Not getting enough sleep can be linked to lupus in some people, if you are someone who doesn’t get much sleep, tell your doctor and ask if they can prescribe something to help you relax, or you can opt for sleepy time tea. A person with lupus should try and aim for 8-9 hours of sleep. But if this isn’t the case for you, try to take naps during the day when you can, but try not to stay in bed for too long.
- Stress: We all have stress in our lives, but living with lupus might stress you out even more. Whether it’s the dread of going out in public for fear you might have a flare up, or money wise. Stress can worsen lupus and cause you to stress even more. Try to reduce some of the stress in your life. Keeping a journal or talking walks can help with stress or even listening to music. Whatever it takes, try not to stress as much because the more you stress, the more likely it is that you will have flare ups.
- Diet: Changing your diet and eating habits around can help with such disease. Try and stray away from a lot of junk food and alcohol. Talk to a nutritionist and your doctor before changing eating habits. You can also check out patient stories at the Disease Proof website.
- Exercise: Lupus may limit some activities. So it’s important to find things you enjoy doing and take time to do them. These activities can be as simple as reading a good book or doing thoughtful things for others. “The American College of Rheumatology suggests people with lupus perform four types of exercise: flexibility, strengthening, aerobic, and body awareness. Flexibility exercises include stretching and range-of-motion movements. They can reduce stiffness and help make you more limber. Strengthening exercises – like resistance training or weight-lifting — work muscles more vigorously and contribute to better joint support. Aerobic exercise — “cardio” — includes activities such as dancing, water exercises, bicycling, or walking. These exercises use the body’s large muscles. Aerobic exercise improves heart and lung function.”
Living with lupus can take a toll on anyone, but it’s not impossible to manage and take control of. There are a lot of things one can do to help with control lupus. If you have any questions, write them down on a list and bring them in for your next doctor check up. Just because one has lupus, doesn’t mean their life is over.