Lupus-Related Fatigue

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 15, 2021

Studies related to lupus have found that 53% to 80% of people with lupus experience fatigue as one of the symptoms. The severity of fatigue in this condition is comparable to other diseases like multiple sclerosis and Lyme disease.

Fatigue in lupus also increases the risk of work disability, decreases the quality of life, and increases healthcare costs. When taking active steps toward lupus management, it is essential to know about the strategies to deal with lupus-related fatigue.

How to Manage Fatigue?

In some cases, fatigue can be so severe that people may have to stop working. It can also affect the overall quality of an individual's life. 

Currently, there is no apparent reason to explain why fatigue affects so many people with lupus. Some factors related to fatigue in lupus are poor mental health, poor physical health, lack of social support, and age. 

People who have poor coping strategies or suffer from anxiety and depression may also be at a higher risk of lupus fatigue. Your healthcare provider will rule out the other causes of fatigue, such as kidney failure and anemia, before concluding that fatigue is due to psychological factors. 

You can take some active steps to manage fatigue. 

  • Talk to your doctor about it. When you go for check-ups, tell your doctor if you have been feeling more tired than usual. They will provide lupus-related sources that may help you manage fatigue better. 
  • Take a close friend or family member with you to your next appointment so that they can learn how to support you when you are feeling fatigued. 
  • Get undisturbed sleep at night. You may also take a rest during the day, but make sure you are not napping for long hours frequently, as this can interfere with your nightly sleeping patterns. 
  • Plan what you will do with your energy reserve for the day. Use it to do essential tasks. The remaining tasks can be done the next day. 
  • Shop online for groceries if all that walking tires you. 
  • Prepare meals for the week on your good days. Doing this will save you from the worry of meal prep on days you experience extreme fatigue. 
  • Ask for help doing household chores. 
  • Don't push your body to do things it is not ready for. If you have to cancel plans or prioritize certain events over others, don't feel ashamed or guilty. 
  • Join a support group. Your peers may share some tips to fight fatigue. A support group will also make you feel less alone. 

Show Sources

International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: "Fatigue in systemic lupus erythematosus."
Lupus Foundation of America: "Strategies for managing fatigue."
Mayo Clinic: "Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults."

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