Treating Symptoms at Home
1Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen can help reduce the pain and inflammation from mild lupus symptoms. As an added benefit, these drugs can also alleviate other symptoms of lupus, such as fever and arthritic pains.
- Though these drugs are a cheap and convenient temporary solution to lupus flareups, they shouldn’t be used as a permanent “fix.” Long-term and/or high-dosage NSAID use can cause stomach and kidney damage.
- Consult your doctor before starting even this relatively mild treatment option, as some NSAIDs (especially ibuprofen) have been linked to life-threatening infections like meningitis in people with lupus.
2Wear sunscreen. The sun’s UV rays can trigger lupus flareups. Lupus can also cause increased light sensitivity. Avoid excessive exposure to sunlight and always cover up or apply a high-SPF sunscreen when you can’t avoid sun exposure.
3Protect yourself from other infections. Since lupus affects your immune system, you should shield yourself against infections. Keep up with annual flu and pneumonia vaccinations, and take other precautions such as not sharing glasses/utensils and washing your hands often with warm, soapy water.
4Get plenty of rest. Fatigue is a common symptom of lupus, making an adequate amount of sleep essential for optimum health. Get a full eight hours of sleep each night. If you suffer from insomnia, try to create ideal sleeping conditions by sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet environment. You should also try to engage in a relaxing activity before bed that doesn’t involve a TV or computer screen.
- Adequate sleep can also help bolster your immune system against other opportunistic infections.
- You may also need to take short breaks or naps during the day when feasible.Listen to your body and don’t get frustrated with your need to rest.
- You can find more information at How to fall At sleep
5Exercise regularly. Physical exercise helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (which is a serious concern for lupus patients), and it also combats depression. Additionally, exercise has proven effective at helping those with lupus recover from a flareup.
- The American Heart Association suggests thirty minutes of moderate cardio five days a week, but don’t push yourself too hard. This can be anything that gets your heart rate up—from brisk walking to playing sports.
6Do not smoke. Smoking puts you at a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular conditions, the risk of which is already elevated for lupus patients.Smoking can also complicate the effects of lupus on your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
7Eat a nutritious diet. A healthy diet will boost your immune system, as well as helping to limit kidney and gastrointestinal complications related to lupus. Choose options rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and lean meat protein.
- Avoid foods that appear to aggravate any gastrointestinal symptoms.
- You can find more information on the staples of a healthy diet at how to eat healthy.
8Build a support network. Lupus patients often suffer from chronic pain, which can sometimes be severe or even debilitating. Combined with the fact that lupus patients usually need to avoid sunlight, this can lead to isolation and depression for those with the disease. In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to rely on your friends, family, and loved ones for support as you learn to live with lupus. The emotional benefits of a support circle can’t be overstated.
- Look into lupus support groups in your area as well. You may find sharing with those with firsthand knowledge of your condition beneficial.