Living with Lupus?Jason Siddall
Tired? Losing hair? Sore joints? These are just a few of the symptoms associated with lupus. This autoimmune disease has proven tricky to diagnose because it presents many of the symptoms that we see in so many other common ailments. How do we know if we have developed lupus, and what can we do about it?
What is Lupus?
As an autoimmune disease, lupus affects each person differently and manifests itself in different ways. This is a chronic illness in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of focusing solely on fending off foreign agents. The result of this civil war causes inflammation in various parts of the body; the skin, heart, lungs, joints, and our nervous system are all in the firing line.
Sadly, the cause of lupus remains unknown. Abnormal autoimmune functions can be genetic, but can also be triggered by certain medications, a virus or even ultraviolet light, which places us all at risk. Thankfully, it is not contagious and can be managed with medication and wise lifestyle choices.
Symptoms and Risk Factors of Lupus
When you contract chicken pox, the itchy rash and blisters are unmistakable which makes diagnosis and treatment a simple task. Not so with lupus. With the distinctive exception of the butterfly rash on the face, this illness displays a wide range of symptoms which come and go. If you have developed lupus you will likely suffer from a collection of the following, in various degrees:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain, especially in the mornings
- Sensitivity to light
- Hair loss and thinning of facial hair
- Raynaud’s phenomenon (Discolouration of the fingers)
- A butterfly-shaped rash over the nose and cheeks
Because of the relatively unknown cause of this illness, it is difficult to know with certainty why one person will develop lupus over another. It appears that a genetic predisposition toward autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid ailments places a person at risk, but it is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Some believe that external factors play the largest role in the form of certain viruses or chronic infections, as stress.
Women are more at risk than men, with symptoms often developing in their early twenties. In addition, it appears that it is more prevalent in African Americans and those of Chinese or Japanese descent.
Treatment for Lupus
As there is no cure for lupus as such, treatment focuses on the management of symptoms. Most treatments centre around controlling the inflammation and include options such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids. Immunosuppressants are also offered depending on the disease, however, these do come with a host of side effects including liver damage and increased risk of infection.
The very nature of lupus makes it difficult to determine treatments; symptoms come and go seemingly at random and being treated for a particular symptom that no longer presents itself may do more harm than good. It’s wise to talk to your doctor to determine all the options available to you and fully understand how you would like to proceed.
Obviously, taking care of your body and ensuring a healthy diet, enough rest and as little stress as you can get away with, is your first step. However, there are some powerful natural remedies available to include in your treatment program which will help to boost your body’s ability to cope with the stresses of lupus.
Ginger, for example, is well-known as a natural anti-inflammatory which has digestive and respiratory benefits to boot.
Curcumin (an active ingredient in turmeric) is another excellent treatment option. One report states of turmeric, “Researchers set out to determine turmeric’s effects on patients with untreatable lupus nephritis. Twenty-four patients were separated into two groups: 12 patients took a 300-mg capsule of turmeric, made up of 22.1 mg of curcumin, with each meal for 3 months (for a total of 3 capsules a day), and 12 patients took a placebo pill. Turmeric decreased blood pressure, haematuria, and proteinuria markers, while the placebo showed no significant effects.”
Coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and Epsom salt have also been listed as treatment safe and effective home remedies.
If you have been suffering through the misery that is lupus, please give us a call. We take a holistic approach to your health and we work with your body to heal you from the inside out. Call one of our clinics today and let us make a difference in your life.