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Lupus (SLE) Sickness
Lupus, otherwise known as systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE), is a disease of the immune system. The lack of proper immunity causes lupus (SLE) sickness to be a cause for concern.
Therefore, the Lupus Foundation of America provides the following list to help avoid lupus (SLE) sickness:
- Avoid anyone who has symptoms of fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. This includes family members. Particularly avoid close, personal contact, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who has been sick.
- Wash your hands, thoroughly and completely, with hot soapy water for at least 15 seconds.
- Remember that some surfaces, like bathroom surfaces, office equipment, and store countertops, can retain the H1N1 virus. So, keep alcohol-based gels or wipes at hand, whether you are at work, at home, or out in public.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. This is how germs spread.
- Use the crook of your arm to shield coughs and sneezes instead of handkerchiefs or your hands. They carry moisture which can spread viruses.
- Stay home from work or school when you are sick.
- Never discontinue your medications without consulting your doctor first, even if you are sick.
Lupus (SLE) Sickness & Infections
Infections pose a risk to all people with lupus. However, the risk of being treated with immunosuppressives or steroids is even higher, according to Lupus.org. Therefore, people with lupus should try hard to prevent possible infections. One way to do so is to talk to your doctor about taking antibiotics before dental treatment or surgical procedures.
The risk of certain types of lupus (SLE) sickness or infection can be decreased with immunization. Most people, with or without lupus, get vaccinated from diseases with little difficulty. Some vaccines will result in a lupus flare, however. This is very rare.
Hundreds of thousands of people with lupus get vaccinated with no adverse reactions. Vaccines that do not use live viruses carry no risk for this at all.
Two types of immunizations can cause adverse reactions in people with lupus. Allergy shots, for one, may cause flare ups. Also, lupus patients may experience difficulty after receiving influenza, or “flu” vaccines. Nevertheless, most medical experts recommend getting immunized and taking other protective measure to avoid the risks of getting sick. You should also speak to your regular physician beforehand when you are about to get any type of immunization or allergy shot.
It is difficult to treat lupus because, even as the immune system is attacking healthy tissue, it is also attacking foreign microorganisms that enter the body. The cure can’t be the destruction of the immune system, so doctors compromise by slowing or even halting immune system activity through a variety of medications.
Most of these medications are very potent and can damage the body with long-term use, so doctors design treatment plans that utilize immunosuppressant medications for only short periods of time. The goal is to control the faulty immune response, and gradually taper off the strong medication as the B and T cell (white blood cells) activity is reduced.
Lupus Vs. Fibromyalgia: Similarities and Differences
Lupus can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms of lupus are common to many other types of disease. Lupus vs. fibromyalgia, for example – they both cause joint pain, muscle aches and fatigue, and they both cycle through flares and periods of remission.
The root causes for these two diseases are quite different, however. Lupus is a disease of the immune system; the white cells normally responsible for eliminating viruses and bacterial infection misidentify healthy body tissue as a foreign microorganism, or more properly, an antigen.
Lupus symptoms vary greatly depending on the severity of the immune system problem and the area of the body under attack. For example, a lesser form of lupus known as “discoid” lupus affects only the skin, while systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common form of the disease, will attack bones and major organs, particularly the small bones in the wrists and hands, the brain and nervous system, the heart and the kidneys.
The exact cause of lupus is not fully understood, but genetics, gender, age and a history of chronic illness all influence whether someone will develop the disease.
Lupus Vs. Fibromyalgia: Comparing Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is not fully understood, either – but it is not an immune disorder. The tests used to determine whether someone has lupus will screen for: unusual immune cell activity (presence of disease and inflammation,) sluggish or clumped blood cells (anemia,) certain types of antibodies (antinuclear antibodies, or ANA, which are commonly found in lupus patients) and protein in the urine (kidney problems.)
These tests do not apply to fibromyalgia and its symptoms.
Fibromyalgia likely develops as a response to constant stress; it is most often seen in people with A type personalities or a tendency toward perfectionism. Repeated physical stressors, such as frequent exposure to heat and cold or muscle strains and injuries, are also thought to contribute to fibromyalgia.
Unlike lupus, fibromyalgia is not life-threatening. It does not involve tissue damage and death, and it is not treated with steroids or immunosuppressant medications. Fibromyalgia can cause sleeplessness, migraines, severe pain and anxiety, and depression.
Diet and Lupus – Lupus Diet Recommendations
Patients diagnosed with lupus have to make significant changes in their lives to cope with the disease. To make useful nutritional changes, they often need lupus diet recommendations: a list of foods and food preparation techniques that will help strengthen their bodies and minimize their lupus symptoms.
Lupus is an inflammatory disease. Hence, the list of lupus diet recommendations should include foods that would typically form part of an anti-inflammatory diet. In general, minimally processed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal.
Lupus patients should also have good dietary sources of protein. Eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, and lamb are excellent choices. They tend to be healthier than beef and pork. Fish is very easy to digest. Hence, it is often the ideal choice for those who have tummy troubles (which are not unusual with lupus). Eggs are very highly nutritious: They include important nutrients and micronutrients.
Lupus Diet Recommendations for Carbohydrates and Fats
The oil or fat content of lupus patients’ food is also an important factor to consider when drawing up lupus diet recommendations. Every human needs to include fatty acids in his or her diet in order to thrive. But that does not mean that all types of fat are good.
One must avoid using shortening to cook. Instead, vegetable oils such as olive oil, sesame oil, and flaxseed oil are healthy options. In addition, when cooking with these oils, deep frying should be avoided, as should heating the oil to very high temperatures (to the point where it starts smoking).
Fats are components of various natural foods such as avocadoes, nuts, and seeds. These are all great dietary choices. One should opt for these instead of highly processed snacks like potato chips or candy. Avocadoes, nuts, and seeds should not be limited to snack-time, though. They can be included in one’s major meals. For instance, mashed avocado can be used as spread for one’s breakfast toast.
Avocado chunks can also be included in sandwiches. As for nuts and seeds, they can be included in fruit or vegetable salads. For a special tangy taste, one can lightly drizzle vegetable salads with extra-virgin olive oil.
Lupus diet recommendations include carbohydrate foods, which provide patients with energy. Whole-grain cereals are preferable to refined cereals. They tend to be more nutritious and also have higher fiber content.
It is important to note, however, that some lupus patients suffer from celiac disease. Not only do gluten-containing, cereal-based foods give them gastrointestinal distress, but they also run the risk of triggering their lupus flare ups. Fortunately, there are plenty of cereals that have no gluten. They include oats and sorghum. Tubers such as yams, arrowroots, and taro and their flours can also make good alternatives to gluten-containing cereals.
Diet and Lupus – Lupus Dietary Restrictions
For those living with lupus, dietary restrictions may be necessary to minimize discomfort and pain. Overall, dietary restrictions are advisable because, when done correctly, they help to promote overall health.
An individual suffering from a form of immune deficiency would thrive on a diet designed to strengthen his or her immune system. Along the same lines, an individual suffering from an autoimmune inflammatory disease like lupus would do well on a diet designed to minimize inflammation and autoimmunity.
Lupus dietary restrictions are often extended to highly processed meats because the additives used to cure the meat are known to trigger lupus flare-ups. Examples of such meats include hot dogs and luncheon meats.
High fat diets are also known to exacerbate the symptoms of lupus. So it is appropriate for lupus patients to adapt alternatives to deep frying when preparing their foods. Poaching, steaming, stewing, baking, and grilling are all acceptable options.
In addition, the type of fat consumed also has something to do with the patient’s overall health. Avocadoes are fatty, for instance, but they are safe to eat. Oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil, and safflower oil are completely out of the question for lupus patients. They make their symptoms worse. Hence, lupus dietary restrictions should be applied to them.
Some patients think nutritional supplements and herbs are the panacea for all medical problems. Taking the right combination and dose of selected vitamins, minerals, and herbs can help ease patients’ symptoms.
However, one can’t simply take any supplement or herbal preparation and hope for the best. One has to seek medical advice on the appropriate herbs and supplements to take for a particular condition.
Garlic, ginseng, and Echinacea are among the herbs that have been observed to increase autoimmunity among lupus patients. As for Iron supplements, they have been noted to enhance pain, inflammation, and progressive damage in the joints.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits is ideal for lupus patients. In addition, lupus dietary restrictions should be applied to dairy, meat, and eggs. These are all sources of high-quality protein, but they can harm the patient because they contain a chemical compound known as arachidonic acid.
For more ideas about diet and lupus, watch the following 3 videos –
Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Lupus Patients
What Foods to Avoid if You Have Lupus
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