Lupus: Lifestyle Management

Reviewed by JoAnn Zell, MD

What Can I Do?

Lifestyle changes often help decrease symptoms. These changes include:
  • Getting extra rest during a flare

  • Reducing stress

  • Avoiding sun exposure with clothing and/or sunscreen.

Such lifestyle changes, combined with medication, can control lupus symptoms in most people living with lupus.

As mentioned above, recent evidence also suggests that people with lupus may have an increased risk of heart attacks as compared with the general population. Because of this risk, you should try to stay healthy and avoid smoking.

To help reduce risk of heart disease:

  • Follow a low-fat, low cholesterol diet

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Avoid smoking

  • Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce blood pressure.

 

It is also important to find ways to cope with the stress of having lupus. Exercising and finding ways to relax may make it easier for you to cope.

Types of exercise that you can practice include:

  • Range-of-motion exercise helps maintain normal joint movement and relieve stiffness.

  • Strengthening exercises help keep or increase muscle strength.

  • Aerobic or endurance exercises improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight and improve overall function.

 

Be sure to check with your health care professional before starting an exercise program.

A good support system can also help – friends, family, faith-based and other community groups can be an important part of your support system. Many people with lupus have found support groups to be very useful. Besides providing support, taking part in a support group can make you feel better about yourself and help you to keep a good outlook.

 

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