Lupus is a chronic autoimmune condition that doesn't currently have a cure, but there are many treatment options available to treat the symptoms, including inflammation, joint pain, fatigue, and your overactive immune system.
Talk to your rheumatologist about your symptoms and other medical issues to develop a treatment approach that will give you as much relief from your lupus symptoms as possible.
There are multiple different types of medications your rheumatologist may prescribe to help control your lupus symptoms and improve your day-to-day functionality.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, are often some of the first medications suggested by rheumatologists to manage mild lupus symptoms. You don't need a prescription for many NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. These drugs help treat the joint swelling and pain lupus often causes. Your rheumatologist may not want you to take NSAIDs every day due to the risk of gastrointestinal issues.
Medications that are typically used to treat malaria are often prescribed to lupus patients. These medications, such as hydroxychloroquine, affect the immune system and can help reduce lupus flares. You'll need to see an eye doctor for regular exams if you're put on an antimalarial drug due to a very rare side effect that can damage the retina.
Steroids, such as prednisone, are powerful drugs that can drastically reduce inflammation caused by a lupus flare. Steroids are usually taken in pill form, but your rheumatologist might prescribe a topical cream or gel to treat skin problems caused by lupus. Steroids can have serious side effects, including thinning bones, weight gain, and high blood pressure, so they're usually used for short periods to treat flares that don't respond well to other medications.
Immunosuppressant drugs help prevent your immune system from attacking healthy parts of your body. Your rheumatologist might prescribe an immunosuppressive if your lupus symptoms are affecting your brain or other organs. Immunosuppressants make it harder for your immune system to fight infection, so it's extra important to avoid sick people, wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching your face if you're on one of these drugs.
One of the best ways to manage your lupus symptoms is to see your doctor regularly. Your rheumatologist can help you track your symptoms and flares and make medication changes as necessary.
Eat a healthy diet and engage in low-impact exercise as regularly as you can to keep your heart healthy. A nutritious diet will also help keep your kidneys and digestive system functioning well.
Don't smoke and stay away from smokeless tobacco. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and could worsen the effects lupus has on your blood vessels.
Many lupus patients have flares triggered by ultraviolet light. Stay out of the sun as much as possible during peak hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wear protective clothing, like long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat, when you must be out in the sun, and generously apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 before you go outside. Reapply for every two hours of sun exposure.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.