There have been quite a few mentions of Lupus and it seems that many want to know how to live with Lupus. Today I’m going to discuss some alternative ways to help with that. Before I begin with methods, etc. Here is a little background information on the disease and its symptoms.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America upwards of 1.5 million people are living with the diagnosis of Lupus just in America. There are many more people suffering with Lupus who have not been diagnosed.
What is Lupus? It is a chronic (meaning an ongoing illness, possibly lasting for many years) autoimmune disease that can affect any organ or part of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood & kidneys.
Exact causes of Lupus are not known but often there are other family members who also have some form of autoimmune disease. Triggers for symptoms can be anything from reactions to medications, stress (whether it is physical or emotional) and trauma.
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the area of the body being attacked by the disease. Lupus patients can suffer from skin eruptions, joint pain and swelling, general fatigue, hair loss, anemia, headaches, problems with blood clotting, unexplained fever, a rash on the nose and cheeks (called butterfly rash) and Raynaud’s Syndrome (fingers turn white and blue and tingle when cold). There can also be symptoms related to the kidneys, heart and digestive system. These symptoms usually run in cycles where they are more severe at times.
There are many alternative treatments that can be employed to help those who suffer with Lupus such as acupuncture, herbs and supplements and even meditation to reduce stress can be helpful. Often people try these alternatives without consulting their health care professional which can be dangerous. ALWAYS consult your health care professional before you try or begin ANY new regime or treatment of any kind.
Let’s discuss some of the treatments that have given some relief or good results.
Anyone who suffers with autoimmune disease should adhere to a whole foods diet. The diet should be high in whole foods. Processed or preserved foods should be avoided as they are loaded with chemicals that can trigger an increase in symptoms.
Get more protein from lean meats, fish and beans rather than red meat.
Use coconut oil, olive oil and grapeseed oil for cooking.
Avoid refined foods like white breads, pasta and sugar.
Also avoid stimulants such as alcohol, coffee and tobacco products.
And last, but not least, drink plenty of water. To know how much water to drink divide your body weight in half and multiply that by 1.2 – that’s how many ounces of water you should drink each day. Use filtered or bottled water. Tap water contains small quantities of substances that can trigger immune system responses. Be sure your bottled water does not have minerals added – it’s usually much higher in sodium content.
Vitamin A can help to reduce inflammation related to IBS (irritable bowel), lungs and skin. It can also help prevent cell damage which can help with joint pain.
Vitamin D helps to lower the risk of osteoporosis and can be helpful with other symptoms. Research is being conducted with regard to immune system regulation with vitamin D.
Vitamin E helps prevent cell damage and is known to be a powerful antioxidant which promotes heart health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are anti-inflammatory. They are found in oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel and Herring. Supplementing with Omega-3 will help, but try to eat the fish often as results are better. CAUTION – if you are on blood thinners, especially with Omega-3 supplements.
DHEA helps to reduce symptoms and might help to reduce corticosteroid dosages.
Magnesium is great for associated muscle pain.
Probiotics help to normalize the bacteria in the gut.
SAM-e can relieve the pain of swollen joints and can be used in place of NSAIDS such as ibuprofen. It can be quite expensive to take a therapeutic dose (400 mg 3-4 times daily), but after a few weeks this can often be reduced to a maintenance dose of only 200mg twice daily.
Flaxseed is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolonic acid and can reduce inflammation and help with kidney function. Again, use CAUTION if using blood thinners.
Green tea extract is a powerful
anti-oxidant that may help reduce tissue damage. In a study done in 2011 at Oregon State University green tea extract was found to increase production of regulatory T-cells which play a major role in immune system function and, therefore, improvement and suppression of symptoms. The good thing about thisi that there are pharmaceutical drugs developed for this purpose but there are issues with them related to toxicity when used long term. These issues are not a factor with the use of green tea. You can review that study here.
Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory which I have discussed further in the herbs section above and in other posts.
Evening Primrose oil can possibly help with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
HERBS TO AVOID
Devil’s claw, feverfew, willow, echinacea, astragalus and alfalfa sprouts or anything with alfalfa in it – these can actually stimulate the immune system creating a rampant increase in symptoms.
Also, soy products are high in phytoestrogen. Estrogen is known to increase symptoms in Lupus.
Low impact exercise done on a regular basis can actually help with symptoms of Lupus. Try to get 30 minutes in five days a week (to keep joints from stiffening).
I hope this has helped you in your quest to learn how to live with lupus. Please leave comments and any questions you may have so that we can all explore this together. Thanks so much for visiting again.