Care of the Lupus Patient
Potential Manifestations of Infection
Respiratory Tract Infections
- Sore throat
- Productive or nonproductive cough
- Runny nose
- Back and muscle pain
- Wheezing or rales
Urinary Tract Infections
- Flank pain
- Urinary frequency
- Tenderness or pain
The patient with lupus often has special nutritional needs
related to medical conditions that may arise during the course of the disease.
These conditions include steroid-induced osteoporosis or diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease. For the SLE patient to maintain
optimal health, the nurse must work closely with the patient, dietitian, and
physician to develop a nutritional plan specific to the patient's disease and
- Weight changes
- Alteration in nutritional status due to drug therapy or complications of
Potential Manifestations of Nutritional Problems
- Weight loss or gain
- Loss of interest in food
- Dry, rough, scaly skin
- Dull, dry, brittle, thin hair
- Loss of lean muscle mass
- Listlessness, apathy
- Poor muscle tone
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
Objective: Determine the Causes of Patient's Altered
Conduct a physical assessment of patient, including weight,
height, and percentage of body fat.
Assess patient's nutritional intake by asking her or him to
keep a food diary.
Assess patient's current medications and doses.
Determine dietary and nutrient intake and vitamin/mineral
supplement intake, food sensitivities (allergies may provoke a flare), food
preferences, and experience with fad diets to "cure" lupus.
Assess patient for signs and symptoms of SLE-associated
conditions, including osteoporosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular and kidney
Monitor laboratory values such as hemoglobin, hematocrit,
serum ferritin, serum iron, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, VLDL, triglycerides,
and plasma protein levels.
Assess patient for signs and symptoms of
Assess patient's knowledge of nutrition and understanding of
a healthful diet.
Assess patient's ability to purchase and prepare
Assess patient's activity level.
Assess cultural, socioeconomic, and religious factors that
may influence patient's diet.
Objective: Educate Patient about Healthful Eating to
Prevent Alteration in Nutritional Status
Encourage patient to maintain a healthful diet, and discuss
nutritional claims of "curing lupus," which are often
Provide patient with information on the basics of a
well-balanced diet and its importance in a chronic disease such as
Instruct patient to take iron supplements only if iron
stores are depleted.
Suggest vitamin and mineral supplementation, if
Refer patient to dietitian for assistance in dietary
planning for serious conditions associated with SLE.