|Treatment Tips for Lupus|
|Monday, 03 January 2011 21:07|
Good self-care is essential to managing lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE). Learn to recognize your body's warning signs of a flare. Warning signs may include increased fatigue, joint pain, rash, or fever. When you notice any of these signs, take steps to control your symptoms.
Stress may trigger lupus symptoms. Keep your stress level as low as you can.
- Keep your daily schedule as simple as possible.
- Keep your list of obligations to others to a bare minimum.
- Delegate to others.
- Exercise regularly. A daily walk, for example, can reduce stress, clear your head, improve your mood, and help fight fatigue.
- Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and guided imagery to calm your body and mind.
Fatigue is common in people with lupus. To fight fatigue:
- Get plenty of rest. Some people with lupus need up to 12 hours of sleep every night.
- Pace yourself. Limit tiring activities.
- Ask others for help. Don't try to do everything yourself.
- Take short breaks from your usual daily activities. Consider cutting down on work hours or getting help with parenting responsibilities, at least during periods when lupus symptoms are severe.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity boosts energy and helps you stay in good condition. Walking and swimming are good forms of exercise for people with lupus.
- If you suspect that depression is contributing to your fatigue, get prompt treatment from your doctor, a mental health professional, or both.
Take care of your skin. Ask your doctor about the use of corticosteroid creams to relieve skin symptoms that are particularly troublesome. If you are bothered by the way a lupus rash looks on your face or if you have scars from lupus, you can try makeup, such as Covermark, to cover the rash or scars.
Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) light triggers disease flares in up to 70% of people with lupus. Exposure to ultraviolet light, as from sunlight, can trigger or start skin rash, joint pain, or fatigue, or it can make these symptoms worse. To minimize your exposure to ultraviolet light:
Good general care is essential. A healthy lifestyle not only improves your quality of life but may also reduce your chances of having more frequent and severe flares. Good care includes:
Other good health habits that will help protect you include:
Some people with lupus are sensitive to antibiotic drugs called sulfonamides (sulfa drugs). These include Bactrim, Septra, and many others. Your doctor can prescribe drugs that do not contain sulfa, if needed.
If you have lupus and are a woman in your childbearing years, pay special attention to pregnancy-related concerns, both before conceiving and while pregnant. Most women with well-controlled lupus can take birth control pills if they choose that method of birth control, and for most women lupus will not interfere with becoming pregnant or with pregnancy. But some women with lupus, especially those with active disease, are at higher risk of complications with pregnancy. All women of childbearing age should check with their rheumatologist when they are planning to become pregnant.
Home treatment and regular checkups are sometimes sufficient for managing mild lupus or for periods of remission. Be sure to have your doctor monitor your condition on a regular basis. These regular checks are important to detecting and treating progressive organ damage.
It is important that the people in your life understand what lupus is, how it affects your life, and how you can best cope with it. Help them understand your limitations and needs when your symptoms flare. Support groups are great places to learn coping strategies from others.
Source: Healthwise, Incorporated (2008), A Lupus Guide: Home Treatment; the full guide can be viewed here.