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Because most people with lupus are photosensitive and sunlight can trigger symptoms from skin rashes to internal organ damage, protecting yourself from sun exposure is a vital part of lupus management. It’s important to know how ultraviolet light from the sun and other sources may stimulate an autoimmune response.
Lupus and Sun Exposure
If you have lupus, protecting yourself from sun exposure is an essential part of managing your condition. Many people with lupus experience photosensitivity or unusual sensitivity to sunlight. This can trigger symptoms such as skin rashes, itching, and burning. Excess sun exposure can also cause flares in systemic lupus, triggering symptoms such as joint pain, weakness, and fatigue. In some cases, it can even cause internal organ damage.
The risks of UV radiation
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of invisible radiation that’s present in sunlight. There are three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. According to research published in Autoimmunity Reviews, UVB rays seem to cause the most problems in people with lupus. UVA radiation can also contribute to symptoms.
If you have lupus, exposure to sunlight may trigger symptoms such as:
• lupus rash or lesions
• fatigue or weakness
• joint pain
• internal organ swelling
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Give these diet tips a try!
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. It causes the immune system to attack the body’s own healthy organs and tissues. Researchers believe that lupus develops in response to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Lupus treatment focuses on lowering inflammation levels to reduce flare-up’s. (1) Following a lupus diet can help lupus sufferers manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Lupus Diet Foods to Eat
1. Organic, Unprocessed Foods
Consuming organic, unprocessed foods can help limit your exposure to synthetic ingredients, pesticides and other toxins. Packaged, processed foods often contain harsh ingredients that can weaken the immune system.
Raw vegetables help create an alkaline environment in the body to lower inflammation levels. They also contain antioxidants, prebiotics, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals that help strengthen the immune system. The best vegetables to eat raw or cooked include leafy greens, garlic, onions, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, beets, mushrooms and avocado. (2)
Fresh fruit is high in vitamins and important nutrients that helps boost the immune system. To help lower inflammation levels, add berries, pomegranate and cherries to your diet.
Certain herbs, spices and teas are beneficial for lupus and other autoimmune conditions thanks to their anti-inflammatory and natural healing properties. Try ginger, turmeric, basil, oregano, thyme and green tea. (3)
5. Probiotic Foods
- Probiotics helps fill the gut with beneficial bacteria to strengthen the immune system and reduce digestive problems. Add kefir, kommbucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and cultured vegetables to your diet.
KNOW LUPUS Public Service Announcement – 60 Second Version
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
Some people are born with a tendency toward developing lupus, which may be triggered by infections, certain drugs or even sunlight. While there’s no cure for lupus, treatments can help control symptoms.
No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Most people with lupus have mild disease characterized by episodes — called flares — when signs and symptoms get worse for a while, then improve or even disappear completely for a time.
The signs and symptoms of lupus that you experience will depend on which body systems are affected by the disease. The most common signs and symptoms include: Fatigue and fever. Joint pain, stiffness and swelling, Butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose. Skin lesions that appear or worsen with sun exposure (photosensitivity).
Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon). Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Dry eyes, Headaches, confusion and and memory loss,.
You should see your doctor if you develop an unexplained rash, ongoing fever, persistent aching or fatigue.
occurs when your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your body. It’s likely that lupus results from a combination of your genetics and your environment. It appears that people with an inherited predisposition for lupus may develop the disease when they come into contact with something in the environment that can trigger lupus. The cause for lupus in most cases, however, is unknown. Some potential triggers include:
Sunlight. Exposure to the sun may bring on lupus skin lesions or trigger an internal response in susceptible people.
Infections. Having an infection can initiate lupus or cause a relapse in some people.
Medications. Lupus can be triggered by certain types of anti-seizure medications, blood pressure medications and antibiotics. People who have drug-induced lupus usually see their symptoms go away when they stop taking the medication.
Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many areas of your body, including your: Kidneys. Lupus can cause serious kidney damage, and kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death among people with lupus. Signs and symptoms of kidney problems may include generalized itching, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and leg swelling (edema).
Brain and central nervous system. If your brain is affected by lupus, you may experience headaches, dizziness, behavior changes, hallucinations, and even strokes or seizures. Many people with lupus experience memory problems and may have difficulty expressing their thoughts.
Blood and blood vessels. Lupus may lead to blood problems, including anemia and increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting. It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis).
Lungs. Having lupus increases your chances of developing an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), which can make breathing painful. You may also be more susceptible to pneumonia.
Heart. Lupus can cause inflammation of your heart muscle, your arteries or heart membrane (pericarditis). The risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks increases greatly as well.
Other types of complications
Having lupus also increases your risk of:. Infection. People with lupus are more vulnerable to infection because both the disease and its treatments weaken the immune system. Infections that most commonly affect people with lupus include urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, yeast infections, salmonella, herpes and shingles.
Cancer. Having lupus appears to increase your risk of cancer.
Bone tissue death (avascular necrosis). This occurs when the blood supply to a bone diminishes, often leading to tiny breaks in the bone and eventually to the bone’s collapse. The hip joint is most commonly affected.
Pregnancy complications. Women with lupus have an increased risk of miscarriage. Lupus increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia) and preterm birth. To reduce the risk of these complications, doctors often recommend delaying pregnancy until your disease has been under control for at least six months.
I decided I would share about lupus and memory loss for this post.
Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) can cause brain fog and memory problems. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself – also known as an autoimmune disease.
Unfortunately, lupus can affect joints, skin, the kidneys, blood cells, the heart, lungs and the brain. When lupus affects the brain is can lead to lupus fog.
Thinking, Memory and Behavior
In about half of people with lupus, the disease attacks the brain and spinal cord. Lupus can also affect the peripheral nervous system, which is made up of the nerve fibers that give skin and muscles the power for feeling and movement. These developments can be very frightening and frustrating. Thankfully, there are steps a person can take to make things easier. Doctors who specialize in these complications are called “neurologists.”
What is the most common kind of lupus brain involvement?
Many people with lupus—at least one in five—have trouble thinking clearly at some point and experiences memory problems, confusion, fatigue, or difficulty expressing thoughts. Called cognitive dysfunction, the condition likely occurs because blood stops flowing as smoothly to the brain as it should. This also can happen when lupus antibodies cross the “blood-brain barrier,” directly damaging brain cells in areas that store memories and other important information. Cognitive dysfunction may come and go, but often steadily worsens over time.
What is lupus fog?
Lupus fog is the forgetfulness or fuzzy-headed feeling that can come along with lupus. Lupus fog can consist of memory problems, but it can also include cognitive impairment as well. Concentration, thinking ability, self-expression and memory problems can all be tied to lupus fog.
Unlike other cognition and memory disorders, like dementia, lupus fog does not get worse over time but can be temporarily worse during a lupus flare-up.
It is not fully understood why lupus fog occurs, but it is theorized that factors such as fatigue, stress and depression can all play a role in lupus fog. Another theory is that lupus fog can be a side effect of medications.
Lupus fog symptoms
Symptoms of lupus fog include:
* Lack of concentration or ability to focus
* Impaired ability to recall or remember information
* Difficulty problem solving, organizing information and critical thinking
* Trouble quickly coordinating hand-eye movements
Living with lupus fog
Another helpful tip that can make living with lupus fog easier is being honest with yourself – don’t be hard on yourself when you can’t recall something. Although it can be frustrating, putting yourself down won’t make it any better. Reaching out to others is also important, so they can begin to understand your condition and be more attentive and supportive of your needs. Family and friends can also be of more assistance if they know what exactly is going on. Lastly, speak with your employer and make them aware, so they don’t just believe you’re not doing a good job.
The more open you are about your condition, the less stress and depression you will feel; two factors that can make lupus brain fog worse.
Living with lupus fog can be frustrating and can affect everything from memory to concentration to thinking ability. But with proper coping mechanisms, living with lupus fog is possible.
What is “lupus fog?”
A part of cognitive dysfunction, some people with lupus get spells of “fogginess” when, for several seconds or minutes, they can not get to information that they know is in their heads. They may read the same sentence over and over again, for example. Or struggle with a normally easy task, like balancing a checkbook or dialing a familiar number.
Here are some tips in order to better live with lupus fog.
* Put information in writing in case you cannot recall it later.
* Stay organized.
* Prioritize your daily tasks.
* Say things out loud; it helps with memory recall.
* Time yourself and schedule tasks.
* Play mind games to stretch your memory, like crosswords and other puzzles.
* Maintain healthy habits, such as exercising, eating well and getting proper sleep.
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