Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition, which involves the damaging of healthy tissues and organs of the body by the immune system. The condition results in severe and constant inflammation of almost all body parts. Lupus diagnosis can be extremely difficult since the condition’s symptoms resemble those of other illnesses like thyroid abnormalities, lyme disease and fibromyalgia.
Although some individuals diagnosed with lupus can live normally, other victims of the condition experience serious symptoms that possibly weaken them. Lupus is characterized by alternating periods of an outburst of symptoms and temporary recovery. Extreme tiredness, headaches, painful joints, skin rashes, lack of sleep, and gastrointestinal problems are some of the most popular lupus signs and symptoms.
Before a precise diagnosis is done, which normally takes several years, a lupus patient may be given drugs for a prolonged period of time that may not be effective. Nowadays, the standard lupus treatments comprise of corticosteroid medicines, NSAID antibiotics, thyroid drugs and hormone replacements. Although these drugs resolve inflammation, they result in various undesirable effects and long-standing health issues.
Lupus patients often suffer from the negative effects of their prescribed drugs; they take them anyway since they don’t have an alternative which can reduce the severity of the disease's symptoms. Luckily, they can manage the symptoms, strengthen their entire immune system and avoid most of the side effects by using supplements, eating healthy foods which counteract inflammation and performing physical exercises.
What Leads to Lupus?
Various factors cause the body’s immune system damage healthy tissues of the body, thus leading to lupus. Medical experts have not come up with the exact cause of lupus, or the reason behind other autoimmune conditions. However, researchers argue that both genetics and lifestyle of an individual both cause inflammation.
Some of the possible causes of lupus are allergies, viruses, emotional strain, and estrogen disturbances when a woman is pregnant or uses contraceptives, imbalance of hormones, indigestion, and metal poisoning.
Individuals Who Are Most likely to Develop Lupus:
- Those with predisposed genes from family members
- Females (the majority of patients with lupus are females)
- People aged between 15 and 45 years old
- African-Americans, Asians, and Native Americans
- Individuals with nutritional deficiencies
- Those with gastrointestinal issues such as leaky gut syndrome
- People with food allergies and sensitivities
- Persons exposed to toxins
Signs and Symptoms
Lupus symptoms are both direct because of inflammation and indirect because of deteriorated stress levels. Lupus patients can develop psychological problems such as nervousness, loss of memory and insomnia, as well as depression. The issues arise as a result of possible spinal cord damage from the lupus, along with brain inflammation and simple difficulty in dealing with the disease.
Some of the major lupus symptoms are:
- Extreme fatigue
- Painful joints and muscles
- Edema, rigidity, and inflammation
- Reduced breath and chest pains
- Extremely high body temperature
- Rashes and sunburns
- Depression and nervousness
- Lack of sleep
- Unclear sight and dry eyes
- Sores and ulcers in the mouth and nose
- Anemia and loss of strength
- Confusion and loss of memory
- Problems such as hypertension and heart disorders, damaged kidneys, lungs, and infections, stroke or convulsions
Dangers and Side Effects of Treatment
Treatments for lupus basically comprise of both prescriptions and changes in lifestyle. To reduce the severity of lupus symptoms, some patients are given various medications in a form of trial and error. The patients may become nervous, and could develop chances of other illnesses as well as an increased dependency on medicine.
Foods That Increase the Severity of Lupus
Eating some of these foods may lead to the start and development of lupus:
- Gluten: Most products that contain flour, wheat, barley and rye consist of a type of protein known as gluten. Due to its difficulty in digestion, gluten can create a vulnerability to gut syndrome, and inflammation may cause an outburst of lupus.
- Trans-fatty acids and saturated fats (at times): Contained in fast, fried and processed foods, these fats can cause inflammation and heart issues. Sometimes it is difficult for lupus patients to digest saturated fats from foods like cheese and red meat as well as creamy and processed foods
- Excess sugar: A lot of sugar causes the immune system to work excessively, thus increasing pain.
- Foods with high sodium content: Due to possible damage of the kidneys by lupus, one should reduce sodium intake. Doing so can promote fluid retention, and prevent inflammation and electrolyte imbalances.
- Alcohol and excess caffeine: Anxiety, swelling, and pain can be worsened by consuming alcohol and caffeine. Consumption of the two can also cause dehydration and issues related to sleep.
- Particular legumes: Some patients may have outbursts of lupus if they eat legumes such as seeds and sprouts of alfalfa, green beans, peanuts, soybeans, and snow peas, thanks to the amino acid L-canavanine.
Additionally, it is paramount to avoid smoking cigarettes and taking drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamines.
Chiropractic: In chiropractic care, your backbone and other connective tissues are manipulated to make them less painful and more flexible.
Acupuncture: Although there is not much evidence to support it, some researches show that lupus symptoms, especially pain, can be treated using acupuncture.
Yoga: Use of yoga exercises can assist lupus patients with flexible joints and can reduce stress. Let your instructor know if you are unable to participate in any particular exercises in advance.
Meditation: This old type of therapy utilizes the ability of the mind to control the body. It helps lupus patients in reducing stress and pain as well as improving overall health.
Herbal Medicine: Some herbs such as feverfew, goldenseal, and paud’arco can help lupus patients. However, consult your doctor before using them since they can affect your other treatments or cause negative effects.
Hydrotherapy: Pain can be relieved by using cold or hot compresses.
Mind/Body Medication: Biofeedback, the creative formation of visual mental images, ways of relaxing spirituality, among other mind/body treatment, may improve a patient's immune system and also relieve joint pains and depression.
Traditional Chinese Treatment: Acupuncture, herbal treatments, changes in diet, and exercises are also helpful.
Nutrition: A healthy diet will help a lupus patient maintain strong bones and muscles, experience less inflammation, maintain an ideal body weight and experience fewer heart issues. Besides, the patient will be able to fight the undesirable effects caused by lupus drugs.
Massage: Individuals experiencing severe pain in their joints and muscles can benefit from massage. The therapy reduces the stiffness of joints as well as improve blood circulation. Nevertheless, individuals with cutaneous lupus should avoid massages to avoid bruising or bleeding out of the skin. Ensure you get the massage from an expert.
You can collaborate with your doctor about other complementary treatments that you want to try. To enhance the effectiveness of recommended medicines, you should bring any supplements you may be already taking to the attention of your doctor.