Lupus is a lifelong chronic disease that can affect many parts of your life. However, many people with lupus live long and healthy lives. You can take some steps to control your symptoms, prevent lupus flare-ups, and cope with the challenges of lupus.
What can I do to control my lupus symptoms?
The best way to keep your lupus under control is to follow your treatment plan and take care of yourself.
These steps can help.
Learn how to tell when an attack is coming.
Check with your doctors regularly.
Reduce stress by setting realistic goals for yourself.
Limit the time you spend in the sun, fluorescent and halogen light.
Choose healthy foods most of the time.
Get enough sleep and rest.
Exercise moderately when your doctor says or feels good.
Build a support system of people you can trust and turn to for help.
Despite your best efforts to follow your treatment plan and take care of yourself, there may be times when your lupus symptoms are worse. Talk to your doctor about ways to relieve symptoms when this is the case.
What are lupus attacks?
The times when your symptoms get worse and you get sick are called fevers/attacks. Attacks can come and go. One week you may have swelling and a rash and the next you may not have symptoms. Sometimes flares occur without obvious symptoms and are only seen in laboratory tests.
Some fevers are mild, but some are serious and require medical care.
What are some triggers for lupus flare-ups?
Common triggers include:
Working too much and not getting enough rest
being in the sun or being exposed to near fluorescent or halogen light
Disrupting your medications for lupus treatment
Other types of drugs
Even if you take medication for lupus, you may find that certain things trigger a fever. For example, even if you take your lupus medication, your symptoms may flare up after a hard day in the sun or at work.
How do I know if I have a lupus attack?
Lupus flare-ups often have warning signs. If you spot the warning signs and treat them quickly, you can help prevent or make fevers less severe. Before you get a fever, your symptoms may get worse or you may get new signs and symptoms.
feeling more tired
There is no way to know whether a fever will be mild or serious. Mild or moderate attacks may only cause a rash or more joint pain. But severe attacks can damage organs in the body, including fluid buildup around your heart and kidney disease.
Contact your doctor if you get the warning signs of a flare. Your doctor may want to make adjustments to your medication or treatment plan.
Should I change what I eat because I have lupus?
It’s possible. Depending on your symptoms or treatment plan, you may need to make changes in what you eat. Ask your doctor if you need to eat special foods or limit other foods because of your lupus.
If you develop hyperlipidemia (high fat level in the blood) due to your lupus, you may need to follow a low-fat meal plan.
If steroids and other medications are causing you to gain weight, you may want to stick to a low-calorie eating plan.
Because people with lupus need to avoid the sun, they may have a vitamin D deficiency. Your doctor may suggest you take vitamins.
Learn more about healthy eating.
Can I be vaccinated if I have lupus?
Yes, you can get many shots, but not all. Live virus-free vaccines are safe for people with lupus. Lupus also increases your risk for infections such as the flu or pneumonia, so your doctor will likely recommend that you get the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine.
Safe vaccines for people with lupus include:
Flu shot (Make sure you request a flu shot, not a nasal spray. The nasal spray has a live form of the virus that is not recommended for anyone with lupus or living with you.)
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Td / Tdap) vaccine
Live virus vaccines and may not be safe for people with lupus:
nasal spray vaccine for flu
Chickenpox (chickenpox) vaccine
Herpes Zoster (shingles) vaccine
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine
However, some people with lupus have no problems when they are vaccinated with live viruses. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.
What can I do to deal with lupus?
Dealing with a chronic disease like lupus can be difficult. Worries about your health and the effects of lupus on your work and family life can be stressful. Talk to your doctor and others about your symptoms and feelings. You may also want to consider counseling or joining a support group. Many people find it helpful to talk to others who may have similar experiences.