People with lupus face incredible daily challenges, from pain and fatigue to dealing with people who just don’t understand the struggles.
Behnam Khaleghi, MD, at Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center works closely with patients, creating treatment and lifestyle plans that help them live their best life while managing lupus.
Here, he shares five tips that promote your well-being:
1. Eat a healthy diet
When dealing with disease, your body uses more protein, vitamins, and minerals than usual. It’s essential to nurture your health by eating nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods. We can also recommend dietary and anti-inflammatory supplements that support your overall health.
2. Manage fatigue
It’s important to listen to your body and rest when you feel fatigued, so it helps to have a plan that lets you rest without feeling guilty. For example, it helps to:
Organize your day
Keep a to-do list, note which tasks are most important, and do them first while you still have energy.
Plan time to rest
Purposefully plan breaks at the time fatigue typically strikes during the day.
Build a support team
Gather a support network of family members and friends you can call for help when you need to rest. For example, you may need to ask family members to take on more chores or ask a friend to run errands, walk your dog, or prepare meals.
3. Practice stress management
You already face the substantial physical and emotional stress of lupus. Anything that adds to that stress weakens your immune system and can trigger a lupus flare.
Everyone has different sources of stress, but a few common examples include getting a cold or flu, over-exercising, and problems at work or with your partner or children.
It helps to find an activity that eases your stress, such as:
- Practicing meditation
- Taking a walk
- Listening to music
- Relaxing in the bathtub
- Getting a massage
- Talking to friends
- Joining a support group
If you feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to consider counseling. A trained professional can help you sort through your stress and recommend ways to better manage or reduce your anxiety.
4. Enjoy gentle activities
Lupus demands a difficult balance between getting exercise and honoring your body’s need to rest. Exercise supports a healthy life by reducing muscle and joint pain and inflammation and also maintaining strength and mobility.
But you also need to avoid intensive exercise and stick with low-impact activities that don’t overstress your body, such as walking, yoga, swimming, and biking.
5. Avoid your triggers
If you have lupus, you probably hear this advice a lot, but it’s so essential, we’re including it here. One of the best ways to thrive while living with lupus is to prevent disease flare-ups.
Most patients have specific things that trigger their symptoms. Having a plan to avoid your triggers helps you stay healthy and well.
If you haven’t already identified your triggers, keep a daily journal to track your diet, exercise, activities, and lupus symptoms. Before long, you’ll see a pattern and will learn your personal triggers.
There are a few triggers that affect many people with lupus, including:
- Fatigue and physical exhaustion
- Physical and emotional stress
- Exposure to ultraviolet light (natural sunlight and tanning beds)
- Certain foods (alfalfa sprouts, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes)
- Viral illnesses (get safe vaccines and avoid people who have a cold or flu)
- Certain medications (sulfa drugs, tetracycline, penicillin and other antibiotics)
We can help if you have a hard time identifying your triggers.
Call Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center today, or request an appointment online if you have any questions about managing your life with lupus.