At least 1.5 million U.S. adults have lupus, but since it is hard to diagnose at first, the number may be substantially higher. Many consider it a sibling of arthritis because one of its most prominent and frustrating symptoms is joint pain. But its name refers to more aesthetic issues.
Lupus means “wolf,” referring to the rash that develops over the cheeks and nose (supposedly wolf-like). The exact cause and the key to unlocking the disease remain unknown. One thing is for sure: genetics play a big part in whether you get it. But it doesn’t begin or end with family ties.
An average person lives with lupus four years before it is found. An official diagnosis comes if you have at least four of 11 symptoms: mouth ulcers, arthritis, kidney disorder, neurological disorder, immune disorder, sensitivity to light, the presence of “antinuclear antibodies,” butterfly-shaped rash on the face, red rash that is thick and scarring, inflamed tissues, and disorders of the brain.
The mainstream treatment involves a ton of drugs. Painkillers, corticosteroids (to fight inflammation), drugs that suppress the immune system and painkilling injections could help fight the symptoms.
On the natural front, there are several options. Flaxseed could prevent your body from activating a substance that triggers lupus and has substances that could reduce joint pain. Fish oil could be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, another autoimmune disease, and studies have found evidence that it may be useful for lupus, too. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps heal tissues. Vitamin C and zinc both aid the immune system and could reduce the risk of healthy tissues being attacked. Lupus patients are often low in vitamin E, which could help clear up rashes. Patients are also low in DHEA, one of the body’s major hormones that’s available everywhere as a supplement. DHEA is a special option, as it has been proven to reduce lupus symptoms.
Plus, you need to get a good night sleep and keep a healthy diet that delivers a bounty of nutrients. Stay smart when it comes to the sun, as UV rays can make lupus flare up. Try to limit stress in your life and exercise daily. Avoid alfalfa sprouts (they contain a substance that worsens lupus) and cut down on dairy, red meat, and alcohol.