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Living With Lupus: How to Reduce Flares and Prevent Complications

A diagnosis of lupus often comes as a shock, but it can also provide a sense of relief to have answers to what are usually a range of unexplained symptoms. Living with lupus means navigating a life where your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your tissues and organs. 

The unpredictable nature of lupus, characterized by periods of flares-ups and remissions, can be challenging. However, with the right strategies and lifestyle changes, you can reduce flares and lower your risk of complications, leading to a more stable and fulfilling life.

At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, Barbara Kage, MD, specializes in helping patients with rheumatic conditions such as lupus find effective solutions. 

Lupus affects various parts of the body — your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart, and lungs. Flares can range from mild to severe and cause a range of symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, rash, and fever. Identifying your individual triggers and symptoms is crucial in managing lupus effectively.

Lifestyle changes to manage lupus

Here are some practical yet powerful steps you can take to reduce flares and combat complications:

Adopt a balanced diet

Nutrition plays a role in managing lupus. Foods high in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation, while omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon and mackerel can also be beneficial. Avoid foods that may trigger inflammation, such as red meat, high-fat dairy products, and processed foods. 

Regular exercise and stress management

Exercise is highly beneficial for helping you maintain healthy joints, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or yoga are particularly beneficial. 

Stress is a common trigger for lupus flares. To help manage stress, try techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing. Additionally, hobbies and activities that relax you can be an integral part of your stress management strategy.

Adequate rest

Fatigue is a common symptom of lupus, making it crucial that you prioritize rest. Aim for quality sleep and allow yourself to rest when your body signals the need. Establishing a regular sleep routine can significantly improve fatigue.

Sun protection

UV rays can trigger lupus flares, particularly skin-related symptoms. Wear protective clothing, use sunscreen with a high SPF, and avoid direct sun exposure, especially during peak hours.

Regular checkups

Regular appointments with your health care provider are essential for monitoring your condition and adjusting treatment as needed. This includes routine blood tests and other examinations to check organ function and detect any potential complications early.

Medication adherence

Taking any medications as prescribed is crucial in controlling lupus. Always discuss any side effects or concerns, and don’t adjust your medication or stop taking it without professional advice.

Vaccinations

People with lupus have a higher risk of infections due to both the disease and its treatments. Stay up-to-date with vaccinations, including the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine. 

Building a support system

You can greatly benefit from having a strong support system when living with lupus. This can include family, friends, health care professionals, and support groups. Sharing experiences and learning from others who understand what you’re going through can be incredibly empowering.

While lupus is a part of your life, it doesn’t define who you are. With the right strategies, you can lead a fulfilling life despite the challenges of lupus. For top-quality lupus management, contact Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut in Manchester to schedule a visit with Dr. Kage.

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