We’ve publicly seen the downturn that lupus can take on one’s life. From missed tour dates to multiple hospitalizations, big names like Toni Braxton, Nick Cannon, and Trick Daddy, have disclosed their complicated trials and tribulations with lupus. Bringing the disease to light has done momentous things in the Black community and has opened the floodgates for discussion.
However, many newly diagnosed lupus patients still wonder: Will I still be able to live a long and good life with lupus?
The answer is yes. According to Everyday Health, there are 9 ways to improve your day-to-day life living with lupus. Taking key steps to prevent lupus flares is at the base of living a healthier and better life with lupus. A lifestyle that includes exercise, diet, rest, and support will help manage the daily challenges of the chronic yet unpredictable disease:
Reduce Stress to Reduce Lupus Flares
First things first, what is a flare? The sudden worsening of lupus symptoms is called a flare. “Stress can increase the chance of having a lupus flare and increase lupus pain when symptoms are active, so a low-stress lifestyle is best,” says Olivia Ghaw, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Try identifying all sources of stress in your life, then ask for help. When you have symptoms that constrain your movements like pain, stiffness, and fatigue, reducing stress can help alleviate that pain. Taking time for yourself and finding activities that help you relax and relieve stress is a good place to start.
Exercise for Stress Reduction and Joint Health
“Regular exercise is important for people with lupus in order to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity has been linked to increased inflammation, so exercise is good for joint health and reducing joint pain and it doesn’t have to be extreme”, Ghaw adds.
Try avoiding high-impact exercises and incorporate a regular program of low-impact exercises. Take up activities like swimming or walking that can help reduce stress while improving your strength and movement, and help reduce your risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
A diet centered around fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is best. For protein, eat fish and poultry instead of red meats. Also, make sure you get plenty of calcium for bone and joint health. If fluid retention or high blood pressure is a problem for you, reduce your salt intake.
“While there’s no such thing as a lupus diet, there’s a strong link between lupus and heart disease, so a heart-healthy diet is essential,” Ghaw says.
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Get Enough Sleep
What many don’t consider enough is that one of the most troublesome lupus symptoms is fatigue. Affecting as many as