Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus, is an auto-immune condition that causes long-term pain and inflammation. According to the National Library of Medicine, lupus is more common in people between 10 and 50 years of age, women, African-Americans and Asians. The causes for lupus, however, are unknown, and almost anyone can develop the disease.
Living with lupus can be a challenge, but with treatment from specialists and lifestyle modifications, it’s possible to live a full life with the disease.
Symptoms of lupus
The symptoms of lupus can vary from person to person. In addition to a butterfly rash that appears on the face that most people associate with lupus, there are mouth sores, fever, hair loss, fatigue, and chest pain. There can be a general malaise and sensitivity to sunlight, and people with lupus should wear protective clothing when going outside in the sun. Pain and inflammation, known as lupus arthritis, can affect joints such as the hands, knees, fingers, and wrists.
Lupus lifestyle changes
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, managing lupus in your life requires being aware of your flares and adjusting some areas of your life to reduce stress. Tension and stress may make you feel alienated and alone, something that no one with an auto-immune condition should have to feel. By acknowledging your condition, informing those around you, and doing some simple re-thinking of your life, you are going to be able to cope and living a better quality of life with lupus.
Coping with lupus around friends and family
During non-flare times, you’re probably going to feel like normal. However, friends and family will need to know what flares are and how they affect you. It is better for them to know and understand than for you to try and keep them in the dark and suffer through it alone. Have an open line of communications where you can feel free to explain when you aren’t able to do something and where they feel comfortable asking questions. They may not know much about the condition, your limits, why you can feel good one day and horrid the next, they may even think you are contagious. Knowledge can help immensely in this area.
Work and travel with lupus
Depending on what you do for a living, lupus may or may not affect you in this area. Some are able to work full or part time just fine with the condition, while others may not. Always try to adjust work habits to help with flares and triggers for your symptoms. Traveling, whether for work or pleasure, should not be put off because of lupus. While you may have to alter certain elements of the trip to make it more comfortable, it shouldn’t be a game changer.
For people living with lupus, it can be difficult to feel like they can have normal lives. The symptoms and treatment for the disease can take a toll, both on your time and your overall health. But making a plan with your doctors and specialists, being open and honest about your condition, and learning to manage the disease while on the go, your life can be defined by what you do instead of your disease.
Brian believes the more you stay active, the more you maintain an overall positive outlook in life. He enjoys blogging about ways to keep busy, and in turn ways to stay healthy. Check out his blog at http://www.eatbreatheblog.com/.