10 Tips to Improve Living With Lupus

Smart Steps to Prevent Lupus Flares

1.Smart Steps to Prevent Lupus Flares

Healthy lifestyle choices are an important part of living with lupus. “This autoimmune disease can cause a lot of inflammation, most commonly in your skin and joints. But lupuscan also affect other parts of the body,” says Olivia Ghaw, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Learning how to manage the daily challenges of a disease that’s both chronic and unpredictable is key to living well with lupus.

Reduce Stress to Reduce Lupus Flares

2.Reduce Stress to Reduce Lupus Flares

A sudden worsening of lupus symptoms is called a flare. “Stress can increase the chance of having a lupus flare and increase lupus pain when symptoms are active, so a low-stress lifestyle is best,” Dr. Ghaw says. Sound impossible? The first step is to identify all sources of stress in your life. Asking for help when you have lupus symptoms that limit your functioning — like pain, stiffness, and fatigue — is one way to reduce stress. Taking time for yourself and finding activities that help you to relax and relieve stress are others.

Exercise for Stress Reduction and Joint Health

3.Exercise for Stress Reduction and Joint

Health

“Regular exercise is important for people with lupus in order to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been linked to increased inflammation, so exercise is good for joint health and reducing joint pain — and it doesn’t have to be extreme.” In fact, you should avoid high-impact exercises. A regular program of low-impact exercise, such as swimming or walking, can help reduce stress, improve strength and movement, and reduce your risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. Ask your doctor which exercises are best for you.

Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

4.Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet

“While there’s no such thing as a lupus diet, there’s a strong link between lupus and heart disease, so a heart-healthy diet is essential,” Ghaw says. Build your diet around lots of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. For protein, stick to fish and poultry instead of red meat. Also make sure you get plenty of calcium for bone and joint health. If fluid retention or high blood pressure is a problem for you, reduce your salt intake.

Get Enough Sleep

5.Get Enough Sleep

One of the most troublesome lupus symptoms is fatigue. It affects as many as 80 percent of people with the condition. “Lack of sleep can contribute to fatigue, and it’s also been linked to increased pain sensitivity,” Ghaw says. Lupus-related fatigue has also been linked to a lack of exercise, another concern. Get at least seven hours of sleep every night and allow time for rest during the day. You might even want to take a short nap when possible, but don’t spend all day in bed. Once you’ve slept a healthy number of hours, get up and get moving.

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