About 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, an autoimmune disease that overwhelmingly affects women. Lupus usually develops between the ages of 15-44, causing widespread symptoms that can affect every aspect of a person’s life.
Lupus is a condition in which the immune system begins attacking healthy tissues and organs. The inflammation and tissue damage caused by the disease can affect many parts of the body, including the kidneys, heart, skin, brain, joints, lungs, and blood.
7 tips for living with lupus
If you have lupus, the team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center wants you to know that, in addition to medical treatment, there are some things you can do to help reduce or relieve your symptoms. Here are seven simple tips that can help you lead a healthier, more comfortable life.
1. Practice stress management
Feeling stressed may seem like a natural part of life, especially if you have a lot of responsibilities. However, stress can worsen lupus symptoms. You can reduce symptoms brought on by stress by learning stress management techniques or building some “me time” into your daily schedule.
2. Improve your sleep habits
For people with lupus, fatigue is a common symptom. But don’t be tempted to nap all day. Instead, get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night, and schedule a daytime nap or rest period if you can. Regular exercise can also help battle lupus fatigue.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is bad for everyone, but if you have lupus, it’s even more important to qut. Smoking can exacerbate your symptoms and speed up progression of the disease.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise is good for health overall, but if you have lupus, it’s really important to stay active. Regular activity — even something as simple as taking daily walks — can help you reduce stress, maintain a healthy weight, support joint health, and relieve inflammation.
5. Focus on nutrition
Strive for a healthy diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Vitamin D deficiency can cause symptoms to get worse in some people, so ask your doctor about whether you should add a vitamin D supplement to your diet.
6. Avoid the sun
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is a fairly common cause of symptom flare-ups. Try to stay indoors during midday when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Wear sunscreen, and avoid direct sunlight streaming in through your windows, too.
7. Join a support group
Because lupus can cause so many symptoms, it can be easy to feel frustrated or even depressed. Seeing a counselor or joining a lupus support group — online or in person — can help you get the guidance and comfort you need to feel your best.
Proactive treatment is essential
Although about 90% of people with lupus are women, the disease can affect men, too. There’s no cure for lupus, but it can be successfully managed, and the disease can go into remission.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, being proactive in your medical treatment is critically important for staying healthy. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Houston Kidney Specialists Center today.