Wellness Strategies Between Lupus Flares

Keeping Healthy Between Lupus Flares

Lupus patients can benefit from exercise.
Lupus patients can benefit from exercise.. ML Harris/Getty Images

Lupus is a cyclical disease, one dominated by periods of illness and wellness –- flares and remission. While the disease is a cyclical one, flares tend to be unpredictable.

Since lupus tends to affect patients in different ways, you’ll soon discover those lifestyle changes that best help you manage your disease. However, it is also important to remember that establishing healthy lifestyle habits while in remission could help combat the greater effects of flares when they arise.

Remember, while lupus is a chronic disease, between flares, which typically occur two to three times a year, most patients with lupus function at about 90% of normal capacity. These healthier periods are more than enough reason to use that time to get your body in the best shape.

Here are some simple steps you can take to help ensure you’re in the best health and ready to take on a flare when it occurs:

  • Keep exercising: Important in terms of good health, but can also help lupus patients by maintaining joint mobility, flexibility and strong muscles, since lupus often attacks these areas of the body.
  • Be an advocate for your joints: Listen to what they’re telling you. Any activity that gives rise to pain could be a deal breaker between you and your disease. Alternate activities and use of assistance devices (like jar openers) to relieve some of your joint stress.
  • Control your stress level: Since some researchers believe that stress could be both a lupus trigger and a flare trigger for those with lupus, reducing stress is a must. Stress also has a direct effect on pain: it often increases its intensity. Do your best to manage those areas of your life that cause the most stress. Additionally, please consider relaxation techniques and deep breathing exercises as a tool to help reduce stress. Exercise, already mentioned, is another way to control and reduce stress.
  • Make necessary changes to your diet: Some research suggests that you can help reduce chronic inflammation by ensuring that a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds, are included in your diet. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and legumes (beans and peas), while knocking out foods containing hydrogenated oils, rich in animal fats, and high-fat dairy products.
  • Recognize flare warning signs: If you’ve been newly diagnosed with lupus, you’ll soon discover this piece of advice everywhere you go. Get in tune with your disease. If you can tell when a flare is about to occur, you and your healthcare provider can take steps to control the flare before it gets too far along. And make sure you contact your doctor when you recognize a flare coming on.

Sources:

Lupus Wellness Tips from Recovery Medicine.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment. All About Arthritis.com.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid. MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements. MedlinePlus, Nov. 1, 2006

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