Living with Lupus

Living with Lupus

In the past, I talked about lupus being an autoimmune disease, as well as the three classifications of lupus: discoid, drug-induced, and systemic.

Being diagnosed with lupus is no longer the death sentence it used to be. Many lupus sufferers live long and productive lives. It is all about being positive and hopeful about your success. If you have a negative attitude about your disease, then the negativity is what will make you sick. Many people live with chronic illnesses everyday and live a very happy life. Just because you have a chronic illness doesn't mean you have to live as if you are chronically ill.

With some planning and care you should be able to stay ahead of your lupus and live a life that is full. Here is what I recommend:

Get a good night's sleep

The body needs time to recharge and to perform self-maintenance. It does this when we sleep, so give your body about eight hours of good restful sleep every night.Read more about sleep deprivation

Get plenty of rest

Rest is not the same as sleep. By rest, I mean give your mind and body a break. Try to lay down for a brief rest a couple of times a day. If you can't do this, then take a mind-body break a few times during the day by closing your eyes for 10 minutes and thinking good thoughts.

Be active

Exercise is great for the body and the soul. But don't overdo it, as lupus tends to affect the joints. If you can, try swimming or even walking in a pool. Water is very gentle to the joints and provides a great way to exercise the body. Listen to your body. If you are tired, then rest. You are not in a competition, so please don't overdo it.


Stress can play havoc on the body. There are a variety of ways to manage stress: yoga, meditation, taking a bath, listening to music, journaling, or painting. Everyone is different; find what works best for you and practice it daily.

Talk about it

Keeping your emotions inside can only lead to stress and illness. So talk about your feelings – your fears, what scares you, and the like.

Stay out of the sun

The sun is not a friend of lupus; it can actually trigger a flair-up. Maximum strength sun block, loose-fitting breathable fabric, and even a wide-brim hat will help keep the sun off your skin. Also, stay indoors during the sun's strongest part of the day.

Avoid crowds or people with infections

Your immune system is already compromised. There's no need to tax it further.

Eat nutritiously

Food is fuel for the body. If you give the body good sources of fuel it will have the tools needed to help combat illness and give you energy.

Do not smoke

Nicotine hurts the body; it doesn't help it.Read more about new tests for lung cancer

Do not combine drugs and herbal remedies

Many people today want to be more proactive in their health, and this is good! But always check with your doctor before starting any health care regimen.

Be prepared for your doctor visits

Keep a list of issues, concerns, or changes in your condition. Partner with your doctor; he or she is there to help you.

Be proactive

Learn everything you can about your lupus. Armed with knowledge, you are powerful!

You are not alone – there are many other people in your situation. A support group is only a phone call away. Start or find one in your area! Be an active participant in your lupus care!

Photo Credit: Theophilos

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Linda Mundorff, MPH, MSN, ND, RN, CNC, CTN has worked in health care for over 25 years as a registered nurse, health educator, associate professor, and a naturopathic doctor. She holds several degrees in health education, public health, nursing, and naturopathy. She is a certified nutritional consultant and a board certified traditional naturopath. Dr. Mundorff is the author of several books, including Memories Of My Sister: Dealing with Sudden Death, Medical Terminology: A Student Workbook. Her latest, Take Control: A Guide to Holistic Living, is an innovative health guide, which helps the reader learn how to regain control of their health by discovering the practical effectiveness of combining alternative and modern medicine.