Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease. The immune system of the body will mistake healthy tissue for bad tissue and will attack it in many parts of the body, in an attempt to fix it.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the affected person. The cause of the autoimmune disease is not clear. Scientists believe it to be caused by a mixture of environmental factors and genetics, though it is still uncertain.
Things that are thought to have an effect and increase the risk of lupus are many and common. Smoking, sunlight, female sex hormones, certain infections, and a vitamin D deficiency have all been linked to an increased risk.
The disease involves an immune response made by autoantibodies that attack a person’s healthy tissues. Most commonly, these are antinuclear antibodies and will result in swelling. It is a long-term disease with onset from ages 15-45.
Ninety percent of the time, women of childbearing age are affected more than men. Diagnosis usually includes laboratory tests and examination of symptoms.
1. Skin Problems
Around seventy percent of those diagnosed with lupus will develop skin problems. It is one of the most common and infamous results of lupus.
The “butterfly rash” that is located on the cheekbones of a person has often been the poster child for the disease. Thick, red, and scaly patches appearing all over the skin is common. [R]
This is a result of the attack on the tissues that are closest to the skin. It is one of the most noticeable and hardest to deal with symptoms.
Hair loss on the skin where ulcers or spots may form is also normal for those suffering from the disease.
2. Blood Issues
One of the more common symptoms concerning children suffering from lupus is blood problems. Anemia will occur in around fifty percent of cases of children with the disease.
Low platelet and blood cell counts will often be found. It is unknown whether this is linked directly to lupus as a disease, or if it is due to the treatments. [R]
One of the antibodies found in SLE is the anti-cardiolipin antibody. This is dangerous because it can cause a false positive on a test for syphilis.
In fact, many of the antibodies are linked with other diseases or disorders.
3. Shrinking Lung Syndrome and Other Lung Problems
Though a rare syndrome in itself, lupus can greatly increase the chances of developing shrinking lung syndrome. This is caused by the inflammation of the pleurae in the lungs.
Another name for this inflammation is pleurisy, and it is the leading cause of shrinking lung syndrome. SLE has the capacity to cause pleuritic pain, creating a reduced lung volume.
A few of the other lung conditions associated with lupus are known as pneumonitis, pulmonary hemorrhages, and pulmonary hypertension.
These are all linked to lupus because the risk of developing them with lupus is heightened.
4. Possible Kidney Failure
Issues in the kidney once diagnosed with lupus are common but often go unnoticed. This is because the passage of blood or protein through urine is often painless.
It is also one of the only ways to see symptoms of kidney involvement. With lupus, acute or terminal kidney failure could be produced. This is because of the failure to recognize the signs.
The glomerular basement membrane and its immune complex deposition is one of the other ways to judge kidney failure in the body.
While super rare, the abnormalities will be grain-like in appearance when tested. It is due to the need for medical testing that doctoral consultation is advised.
5. Muscle and Joint Pain
One of, if not the most common symptom when dealing with lupus is complaints of joint pain. The small joints found in the hand and wrist area are most commonly affected.
The current estimate is that more than ninety percent of those diagnosed with lupus will experience some sort of joint and muscle pain over the course of their time.
These joint pains are often less disabling than their arthritis counterparts and do not generally result in deformities.
Muscle pains following skin deformities have also been reported and are a telltale sign of lupus.
6. Heart Problems
Lupus has been known to have an effect on the heart. An inflammation of the heart’s outer and inner lining has been reported by numerous patients.
Endocarditis—the inflammation of the heart muscle itself- is another concerning symptom of lupus.
While supposedly not infectious, these heart inflammations are, in general, more extreme with lupus than in the general public.
How to Treat Naturally
After diagnosis, the majority (eighty percent) of patients will live an additional fifteen years. This is due to advancements in modern medicine.
Natural remedies, or alternative medicines, can be used to help with the treatment of symptoms. [R] Due to the severity of the disease, it is always recommended to consult a doctor for further help.
1. Avoid Excess Sunlight
One of the most common symptoms of lupus is problems with the skin. Sunlight has been known to make these skin problems- rashes, bumps, and sores- even worse. It can aggravate the skin symptoms, causing increased inflammation and prolonged soreness. [R]
While sunlight by itself cannot be totally avoided, spending long hours in direct contact with the sun’s rays is not advised.
Covering up with long sleeves or pants when outside can also help protect any products of the disease on your arms or legs.
2. Check for Mold in Your Surroundings
Prolonged exposure to mold can lead to severe health issues such as cancer, lupus, tuberculosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue disorder, and the Epstein-Barr virus. Mold will compromise and weaken a person’s immune systems if he or she has regular contact with it.
Check to see if mold is lurking inside your home, office or surrounding environs, and get rid of it or move away!
3. Avoiding Strenuous Activities
Those diagnosed with lupus experience fatigue faster than they would normally. It is much easier for them to become tired, performing even simple, everyday tasks.
This means that avoiding certain activities that may require more physical or mental strain should be avoided when possible.
The consequences of developing chronic fatigue out of stubbornness could lead to the possibility of becoming housebound for weeks or even months at a time.
4. Coconut Oil
An effective way to soothe and relieve the joint pain, swelling, and skin problems associated with lupus is to use coconut oil.
When applied topically, it seeps into the skin and the nutrients and natural chemical compounds within it start to work.
It is mainly for inflammation and dry skin, but it can be used for a variety of things.
5. Eat Foods High in Antioxidants
Incorporating whole foods such as leafy greens and berries into your diet can help with lupus symptoms.
These foods are high in things like fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C which will work together to help.
They can prevent free radical damage and repair possible joint damage caused by the arthritis pains. They can also help lower fatigue.
6. Essential Oils
To help ease the pains of inflammation and joint pain, which are two of the most noticeable symptoms of lupus, essential oils are recommended.
Three drops of either oil mixed with a glass of water is one of the best ways to ingest it. Otherwise, they can be applied topically to the neck area to help with the regulation of the immune system.
The curcumin in turmeric can help fight inflammation and reduce joint swelling and stiffness. Lupus patients are susceptible to develop other conditions such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart diseases, to which turmeric’s properties can also remedy. [R]
8. Vitamin D
Ginger contains gingerols, an anti-inflammatory component that can help with the reduction of muscle aches and improve cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. [R]
10. Watch Alcohol Intake
When suffering from Lupus, it is important to be careful about your intake of alcohol. In moderate amounts, it is perfectly fine.
However, it can mess with drugs prescribed by the doctor such as naproxen or warfarin. It could render them ineffective, or it could increase the risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding. [R]
When this is combined with the already painful symptoms of lupus disease, it is not hard to see why regulating alcohol intake is important.
11. Avoid Excess Sodium
While too much salt in your diet can have health effects regardless, it is particularly important to limit intake with lupus.
Eating loads of salt raise blood pressure. It also puts a person at risk for heart disease.
When you are diagnosed with lupus, you are already at risk for heart disease due to the heart-based symptoms. Thus, it is best to avoid excess sodium to decrease this risk.
What to Eat?
Organic Bone Broth
One of the superfoods that can help to actually reduce the autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms that come with lupus disease is bone broth.
By incorporating it into your weekly meal schedule, it can help relieve some symptoms of pain and swelling. Eight to sixteen ounces daily is the recommended amount.
Drink Plenty of Pure Water
Staying hydrated is perhaps one of the best ways to take it upon yourself to relieve symptoms naturally.
Your body cannot function properly and attempt to ward off symptoms if it is dehydrated.
For clarity of mind and to ensure a working immune and digestion symptom, being sure to drink lots of water is advised.
Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish such as salmon or sardines that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are essential when battling lupus symptoms. They can help reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles. [R]
They also have the potential to help lower heart disease and pain caused by heart liner symptoms.
Organic raw vegetables can help promote an alkaline body. This is crucial when attempting to combat the symptoms of SLE. [R]
Inflammation reduction and digestion improvements can be made by incorporating the nutrients of raw vegetables into your daily diet.
Organic Foods on a Whole
Unprocessed whole foods that are high in antibodies and antioxidants are necessary to remedy the symptoms of lupus.
They can help reduce exposure to things that will make symptoms worse such as toxins or synthetic additives. They are also great for digestion in the body.
What to Avoid?
If suffering from the lupus disease, taking on a gluten-free diet is highly recommended.
Gluten has the ability to make digestion harder, cause inflammation in the stomach, and cause a potential flare-up of lupus. [R]
This means that when you ingest gluten, the risk of causing more symptoms to arise becomes greater.
With many gluten-free options and alternatives on the market these days, the risk just does not seem worth it.
An excess of sugar, especially added sugar, in a diet can be a cause for concern in anyone’s health.
When dealing with lupus symptoms, the added sugar has the capacity to cause increased inflammation all over the body.
This makes many of the symptoms—mainly the external ones—worse. It can also serve to increase pain both inside and outside of the body.
An Excess of Caffeine
An excess of caffeine can cause unnecessary stress by worsening anxiety.
It can also serve to increase any preexisting inflammation as well as increasing pain, dehydration, and many sleep-related problems.
When heavy fatigue is one of the worst symptoms of a disease, sleep-related issues are the ones to avoid. [R]
Trans fats can lead to an increase in inflammation and pain. Thus, it is recommended to cut such foods out of a diet whenever possible.
There have been reported cases of people with lupus being unable to properly metabolize saturated fats. With such, an avoidance is recommended unless it has been cleared by a health practitioner.