Lupus is a chronic disease that can affect any tissue or organ in the body. Although, anyone can get lupus, 90% of people who have lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 45.
With lupus, the immune system is not able to tell the difference between intruders like bacteria and the body’s own tissues. As a result, the immune system starts to target parts of the body such as joints or skin, causing inflammation and other symptoms of lupus.
The symptoms range from mild to severe and vary depending on the tissues targeted by the immune system.
Symptoms can include:
- A red, scaly skin rash across the upper cheeks and bridge of nose
- Joint pain and swelling
- Small ulcers inside the nose and/or mouth
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Kidney issues that can lead to swelling of the feet
Symptoms of lupus present during active periods known as flare-ups. However, there are also times during which the symptoms improve and the disease is inactive for some time. This is known as remission.
How to manage lupus
Although there is no cure for lupus, lifestyle changes and medications can help control it.
EAT A WELL BALANCED DIET – Lupus increases you risk for several medical conditions, including osteoporosis, heart disease and kidney disease. A healthy lifestyle that includes a well=balanced diet decreases your change of developing the conditions.
EXERCISE – This is strongly encourages for people with lupus, especially during remission. Regular exercise with a mix of strength and cardio activities for 150 minutes per week can prevent joint stiffness, promote a healthy weight and reduce stress.
STAY UP TO DATE ON IMMUNIZATIONS – people with lupus are encouraged to get a flu shot every year.
USE SUN PROTECTION – Increased sensitivity to sunlight is common among people with lupus, potentially causing rashes or triggering flare-ups. To limit sun exposure, wear a broad-brimmed hat and protective clothing, and use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
QUIT SMOKING – Smoking increases you risk for developing heart disease, which is already elevated in people with lupus. Smoking can also decrease the effectiveness of certain medications.