Life With Lupus

lupus-butterfly

Lupus is more common in women than in men and as many as 1 in every 250 women are affected.But not only women are susceptible as roughly 10% of all diagnosed cases occur in men and children.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, over 1.5 million people in the U.S.A. suffer from lupus.

 

Types Of Lupus

Several types of lupus exist, including Discoid (Cutaneous), Drug-Induced Lupus (DIL), Neonatal Lupus and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), of which the latter is the most common. “Borderline” lupus may also be used to describe individuals who have blood work and/or symptoms indicating that they may have lupus.

This condition is classified as an autoimmune disease by which the body’s immune system turns on itself and starts attacking healthy tissue.

The condition is not contagious and the exact cause is unknown, but evidence suggests that lupus develops in response to a combination of factors, including:

  1. Environmental – No specific environmental agent has yet been 100% identified, but flare-ups are commonly reported as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light (UVB, in particular), infections (including the effects of the Epstein-Barr virus), and exposure to silica dust in agricultural or industrial settings. Other examples of triggers include infections, exhaustion, injury, any stress to the body, antibiotics and more.
  2. Hormones – Because lupus affects predominantly women, evidence suggests a link between lupus and estrogen, but this is as of yet unconfirmed.
  3. Genetics – No single gene or group of genes has ever proven to be the cause of lupus, but it does appear to run in certain families.

Signs & Symptomslupus-type

With lupus, no two cases are ever the same. Affected individuals experience symptoms which come and go, and they may not even experience any symptoms for a long time. When it does flare up it can happen unexpectedly, and there is no telling how long it will last. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases may even be permanent.

Lupus is known to affect several parts of the body, and complications arise largely due to the onset of inflammation. For more on inflammation, please read Inflammation & Your Body.

The signs and symptoms of lupus will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease.

Circulatory System 

Lupus inhibits the body’s ability to produce red blood cells, causing anemia. Inflammation of the heart and blood vessels also lead to the interference of normal blood flow, and several other complications and conditions may arise, including pericardium, myocardium, endocarditis, atherosclerosis and more.

Hair

Hair starts to thin and break easily due to the inflammation of the skin. This is most evident in the eyelashes, eyebrows, and body hair. Permanent hair loss may occur when lesions form on the scalp.

lupus-lungsJoints

Chronic inflammation in the joints wear them down and inhibit their function. This can be extremely painful and uncomfortable.

For information on how to relieve joint pain, please read Joint Pain Remedies.

Lungs

Shortness of breath is common while it may even hurt to breath.

Due to the inflammation of the lungs, the increased risk of contracting pneumonia high.

Liver & Kidneys

Inflammation in the kidneys leads to a loss of function. Similarly, inflammation leads to the liver becoming enlarged. Jaundice and autoimmune hepatitis are not uncommon.

Pregnancy

Lupus may complicate the childbearing years of women affected by this condition, and they carry higher risk of miscarriage. Flare-ups of lupus are also common during pregnancy due to the stress on the body. Fortunately, with the correct care, most women diagnosed with lupus can have a lupus-during-pregnancyhealthy baby.

Muscles

Inflammation in the muscles lead to aches and pains, and muscles may even appear red, swollen and warm to touch.

Other common symptoms people affected by lupus experience includes:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes

Therapies And Treatments

There are several forms of therapy which have proven to hold positive results for individuals affected by lupus. These include:

MassageSmiling woman receiving massage at the spa resort.

Massage can be greatly beneficial as well as therapeutic. It improves circulation and helps relieve joint stiffness. If you suffer from cutaneous lupus or lupus that affects the skin, you may want to avoid intense massage as it can lead to bruising and bleeding under the skin. When booking a massage be sure to book with a licensed massage therapist and make them aware of your condition.

Chiropractic

A chiropractic approach will include manipulating your spine and other connective tissue, resulting in increased mobility of the joints while reducing pain.

Acupuncture

Data taken from studies conducted by the Arthritis Foundation of America have shown that acupuncture may be useful in treating pain associated with lupus. This is a great drug-free approach for individuals unable to take conventional medicine.

Yoga

Stress increases inflammation and therefore increase pain. Yoga has been known to help people with lupus for reducing stress levels as well as assisting you in keeping your joints limber. Before enrolling in your local yoga class, however, talk to your instructor about special restrictions you may have due to your joint symptoms.

Meditationmeditation-for-lupus

Meditation makes use of the mind’s ability to relax while you focus on breathing and a sense of well-being.

For many individuals, where the mind goes the body follows.

Many patients rely on meditation as a means of treatment.

Diet

Since lupus is associated with food allergies, it may be wise, as a first course of action, to look at your diet. For starters, avoid refined sugar at all cost.Individuals affected by lupus also greatly benefit from introducing natural anti-inflammatory agents like flaxseed and Moringa Oleifera into their diet. Also include sources of Omega 3, Vitamin A, hydrochloric acid, vitamin B complex, Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and several others.

For some healthy diet tips, please read, Healing Your Body With Gerson Therapy.

Day To Day Life

Psychologically lupus can take a severe toll. Forgetfulness and difficulty thinking area also very common complaints among lupus sufferers. Moodiness and subtle changes in personality increase over time. A feeling of

day-to-dayA feeling of social isolation also envelopes some sufferers, which inevitably leads to depression and feelings of guilt. Due to lupus’ unpredictable nature,

Due to lupus’ unpredictable nature, sufferers also regularly report feelings of anxiety.

Some of the above therapies and treatments are bound to help people in one way or another, but every case is different.

Drug-free treatments are certainly possible and should naturally be your first option to avoid any further complication arising from side effects. With the help of a specialist you can adjust your respective treatment method and frequency to suit your unique situation.