Lupus is a serious autoimmune disease that can be fatal. If left untreated, lupus can lead to severe health problems affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain. Explore the causes and symptoms of lupus and what natural remedies can be incorporated into your treatment plan to help prevent lupus flare-ups.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder that can affect different organs in the body. The immune system of people with lupus mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, which causes symptoms of the disease. While the exact cause of lupus is unknown, certain factors can trigger an attack, such as stress, sunlight, smoking and infections.
There are different types of lupus, though the most common ones include the following:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) affects different internal organs and increases the risk for heart disease and kidney failure.
- Drug-induced lupus a condition that mimics lupus erythematosus (LE) in its clinical features. It is estimated that drug-induced lupus occurs in one to five percent of patients taking certain medications, such as those for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and tuberculosis.
- Chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CCLE) is an autoimmune skin disorder that can cause red, inflamed lesions on the face, neck and chest. The lesions are typically dry, scaly and itchy. CCLE can also affect other parts of the body, including the arms, legs and scalp. In rare cases, CCLE can lead to organ damage, resulting in serious health problems such as arthritis, kidney damage or even cancer.
- Neonatal lupus is a rare disease that affects newborns. It causes a lupus rash and, in some cases, other lupus symptoms such as a low number of red blood cells.
What are the Common Symptoms of Lupus?
The symptoms of lupus can vary from person to person, depending on one's level of immune response. A butterfly-shaped rash on one's face, covering both cheeks and nose, is the most visible symptom of lupus. In addition to skin rashes, people with lupus can also experience any or all of the following:
- Chest pains
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Lupus?
Lupus can affect anyone, but some people are more susceptible to it than others. While the exact cause of lupus is still unknown, it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Among the contributing factors that may increase your risk of developing lupus are the following:
- A family history of lupus
- Being of African American or Hispanic descent (these races are more likely to develop lupus than Caucasians)
- Aged 15 to 44
- Being a female (women are more likely to develop lupus than men)
The cause of neonatal lupus may be related to the mother's lupus disease or antibodies she has against her baby. The disease usually goes away on its own within a few months after birth, but some babies may need medical treatment for their lupus symptoms.
Natural Therapies for Lupus
While there is no cure for lupus, there are treatments that can help control its symptoms. If you're wondering what you can use in conjunction with medical care to alleviate your pain and discomfort, here are some effective natural therapies for lupus:
Acupuncture for Lupus
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain, so it is worth including it in a lupus treatment plan. It also helps to improve energy levels and overall wellbeing in people with lupus.
Herbal Medicine for Lupus
Herbal medicine is one of the most popular and effective natural therapies for lupus. Herbs have been used to treat lupus for centuries, and they are still considered a valuable treatment option today. Some of the most commonly used herbs for lupus include ginger, garlic, turmeric and rosemary. These herbs help to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and improve overall health. They can be taken in capsule or tablet form, or they can be mixed into food.
Nutrition for Lupus
Nutrition is an important part of managing lupus. A diet for lupus patients must include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and vitamins C, D, E and B-complex. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, dark leafy greens and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, can help to protect the body against inflammation. Eating a healthy diet can help to reduce lupus flare-ups and improve symptoms. It is important to work with a professional dietician to develop a personalised nutrition plan that meets the needs of lupus patients.
Source: Amino Company
Yoga for Lupus
There is some evidence that yoga may help to improve lupus symptoms. A study published in 2006 found that yoga was able to decrease pain and improve quality of life in people with lupus. Yoga can help to improve flexibility, strength and balance, which can be helpful for people with lupus who may have limited mobility. Additionally, yoga can help to promote relaxation and stress relief, which can be beneficial for people with lupus, who often experience high levels of stress.
Aromatherapy for Lupus
Aromatherapy is one of the most popular natural therapies for lupus. Essential oils have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant properties that can help to reduce inflammation, pain and oxidative stress in the body. Some essential oils that are beneficial for lupus include lavender oil, frankincense oil, peppermint oil and geranium oil. These essential oils can be inhaled or applied topically to the skin to help manage lupus symptoms.
Lifestyle Changes for Lupus
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing lupus, as the condition can vary significantly from person to person. However, making some simple lifestyle changes can often help to control lupus symptoms. These include eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress levels. In addition, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption may also be beneficial.
Life can be quite challenging for people living with lupus. If you have this condition, it's important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalised treatment plan that meets your specific needs.