What Is the Outlook for People With Lupus?
The outlook for lupus varies, depending on the organs involved and the severity of symptoms. The disease often includes periods of symptoms followed by periods of remission or lack of symptoms. Most people with lupus can expect to have a normal lifespan, especially if they follow their doctor's instructions and their treatment plans.
What Can Be Done to Improve Quality of Life With Lupus?
There is no cure for lupus, but there are steps you can take to improve your sense of well-being and your quality of life, including:
- Exercise. Low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, and biking can help prevent muscle wasting and lower your risk for developing osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). Exercise also can have a positive impact on mood.
- Get enough rest. Pace yourself, alternating periods of activity with periods of rest.
- Eat well. People with lupus should eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can interact with your medications to cause significant stomach or intestinal problems, including ulcers.
- Don't smoke.Smoking can impair circulation and worsen symptoms in people with lupus. Tobacco smoke also has negative effects on your heart, lungs, and stomach.
- Play it safe in the sun. People with lupus may develop rashes or disease flares when exposed to the sun. All lupus patients should protect themselves from the sun; limit time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., wearing sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen when you are out in the sun.
- Treat fevers. Take care of fevers and infections promptly. A fever may indicate an infection or a lupus flare-up.
- Be a partner in your care. Build an honest and open relationship with your doctor. Be patient. It often takes time to find the right medication and dosage that works best for you. Also, follow your doctor's treatment plan and don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Get to know your disease. Keep a record of your lupus symptoms, which parts of your body are affected and any situations or activities that seem to trigger your symptoms.
- Ask for help. Don't be afraid to recognize when you need help and to ask for it. Consider joining a support group. It often helps to talk to others who have been through similar experiences.
Living With Someone Who Has Lupus
If someone close to you has lupus, your life will likely be affected, as well. It is important to understand your loved one's illness and what he or she may be expecting from you. The following are some tips for living with someone who has lupus:
- Learn about lupus and its treatment. Understanding the illness can help you know what to expect, and provide better support and understanding.
- Don't push. Give your loved one enough space to deal with the illness and regain some control over his or her life.
- When possible, go with the person to the doctor. This is a good way to offer support and to listen to what the doctor says. Sometimes, a person feels overwhelmed and cannot take in everything the doctor says.
- Encourage the person to take care of himself or herself and to follow the doctor's treatment plan, but do it gently. Be patient and don't nag.
- Be open with the person. Talk about your own fears and concerns, and ask the person about his or her fears and needs.