How Can I Prevent And Manage Lupus Fatigue
You can help manage your fatigue by:
- Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night or planning to nap the following day
- Treat symptoms that affect your ability to fall asleep
- Create an optimal sleeping environment with the right amount of light and sound and the right temperature for you
- Have a comfortable bed and bedding
- Try sleep-inducing foods, like camomile or peppermint tea
- Avoid caffeine 4-8 hours before bed
- Avoid blue light 2 hours before bed
- Follow a relaxing nighttime routine and try to maintain a consistent sleeping and waking schedule
- Speak with your doctor about medication options for sleep
Treat Underlying Conditions That May Cause Fatigue
âFatigue with lupus is sometimes caused by an underlying medical problem, such as anemia, fibromyalgia, depression, or a kidney or thyroid problem. And in some cases, it can be a side effect of medication,â says Meenakshi Jolly, MD, MS, director of the Rush Lupus Clinic and assistant professor of medicine and behavioral medicine at Rush University. âIn these cases, we can often treat the fatigue by treating the condition or changing the patientâs medication.â
Ask your doctor to check if your fatigue may be related to another condition or a medication. If it is, find out about treatment.
How Do You Get Energy When You Have Lupus 6 Ways
Fatigue is the most common symptom of systemic lupus erythematosus . If you are struggling with lupusfatigue, there are things you can do to boost your energy levels, such as making dietary changes and exercising regularly.
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Strategies For Managing Fatigue
Many people with lupus experience fatigue, or feeling tired throughout the day. For some people, fatigue can make it hard to do everyday activities like taking a shower, cooking dinner, or going to work.
The good news is there are steps you can take to feel better. By understanding and working with your bodys limits, you can learn to live well with lupus fatigue.
Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor about how fatigue affects your daily life. Your doctor may do some diagnostic tests to make sure your fatigue isnt caused by another condition, like a thyroid problem or low levels of iron in your blood . Ask your doctor for advice and resources on how to deal with lupus fatigue.
Before going to your appointment with a close friend or family member, check to see if its permitted for them to accompany you. If its permitted, they can help you talk to the doctor about your symptoms and remember details you may have missed. If they cannot come along, see if its possible to video chat with them while youre in the room with the doctor.
Choose the activities that are most important to you and plan your day around them. That way, you can get the most important things done and make time to rest when you need to.
Connect with others who can help
Build healthy habits
Making these changes to your daily routine can make a big difference in how you feel.
The Many Causes Of Fatigue: It’s Not Just Lupus
Dr. Berman said there are many factors that contribute to fatigue. Disease activity from lupus itself especially during flare ups can cause fatigue. Other problems that can be caused by lupus, such as anemia may also be a factor in fatigue. However, fatigue is not always related to lupus and it is important to think about all the causes of fatigue to help improve it. She encouraged the group to think about other medical issues that could contribute to fatigue, such as pain, sleep problems, anxiety and depression, as well as medications and other medical conditions which should also be addressed. Unfortunately, among doctors who do not specialize in lupus, there may be a tendency to blame everything on lupus itself. Dr. Berman said that can be dangerous, and described some other conditions to discuss with your doctor.
Medications can cause or contribute to fatigue as well. Dr. Berman stressed that every person is different and therefore will experience medications differently. If you are doing well on your current medications, then there is no reason to believe you will not do well in the future. Below is a list of medications that may contribute to fatigue, however. Reviewing your list of medications with your doctor may be in order!
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Treating Lupus Flares With Medications
Why Does Lupus Cause Hair Loss
One of the complications of lupus can be damage to your skin and hair loss. People with lupus can develop scarring on their skin and scalp from rashes. This can cause your hair to thin and fall out. You could also experience hair loss as a side effect of some medications that treat lupus hair loss can be a side effect of steroids. If your hair is thinning or falling out, talk to your healthcare provider. Sometimes, changing your medications can help with this issue. Your provider might also recommend using gentle shampoos .
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Lupus Brain Fog: How I Defeated It And You Can Too
Brain fog is embarrassing, frustrating, and one of the crappiest symptoms to experience, especially because as you talk and look fine, people judge rather quickly, too quickly.
So, as my co-workers, friends, and family would get frustrated, so would I. I easily made myself look incompetent so many times as I reverse my nouns with verbs or completely forget mid-sentence simple words.
On top of that, sometimes I would slur my words and forget how to pronounce words like interesting really, I did.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, keep reading.
It was heartbreaking because this was my new reality and those are the moments that people remember you for as compared to the normal times of conversation.
So, instead of sulking and accepting those negative feelings longer than necessary, I decided Im done relying on conventional medicine as my only treatment because I was on track to starting immunosuppressive therapy and my rheumatologist wanted me to avoid it at for as long as possible.
On top of that, I saw others doing so much better with Lupus when they added different areas of medicine in addition to their current treatment plan.
If my symptoms were felt most days out of a month and/or Im experiencing many side effects, its a huge sign that current treatment isnt good enough and we shouldnt accept that as the new normal.
I knew there had to be a better way out from this rabbit hole of a symptom.
So, Im going to explain how brain fog occurs and why.
Prioritize Activities When Living With Lupus
Itâs easy to feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do. Keeping an activity schedule for day-to-day basics can be a way to help organize your time. This way, you can plan for the things you need to do and make sure you have enough time to rest in between.
When planning your schedule, do the things that are most strenuous when you feel your best. And try to break up bigger projects into smaller tasks. But try to be flexible. If you donât have enough energy one day, donât force yourself to do everything on your list. Reschedule those tasks instead.
âEvery morning, I think about my day and prioritize the most important things I need to do,â says Utterback. âThen I decide what I can realistically handle. Usually itâs just three or four tasks. But I do what I can each day and try not to get upset with myself if I canât get everything done.â
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Who Does Lupus Fatigue Affect And How Does It Affect Them
An estimated 40% of Lupus patients experience persistent severe fatigue. Fatigue experienced by Lupus patients differs from fatigue experienced by healthy individuals. Lupus-related fatigue feels similar to having the flu and is not made better by rest or sleep. It can make everyday tasks, like showering, difficult and can be made worse by such tasks.
Listen To Your Body And Understand Your Limits
Aerobic exercise gets your blood flowing, which makes it an effective drug-free treatment for lupus fatigue. If you are unable to engage in aerobic exercise, then any daily movement or strength-building activity can help. Consider taking exercise classes designed for your level of fitness.
Alternate your daily activities with short rest periods. Avoid taking naps during the day, though, as they can interfere with your nightly sleep pattern.
Plan and prioritize your activities carefully. Accomplish essential tasks first, while you have energy, so that you can delay non-essential activities as necessary. Group your errands, for example, and schedule rest periods in between tasks. Shop online when possible and have items shipped to you. Prepare meals in advance, and arrange for help around the house. Agree to only those activities and events that do not leave you exhausted, and politely decline the rest. Your health should always come first.
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Foods That Make Lupus Worse
Some foods that can contribute to lupus and make autoimmune disease symptoms worse include:
- Gluten: Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye and most flour-containing products. Gluten intolerance is common because its difficult for many people to digest properly. This can increase leaky gut syndrome, inflammation or trigger a lupus flare-up.
- Trans fat and sometimes saturated fats: These fats are found in fast food, many fried foods and packaged/processed foods, and can lead to inflammation and heart problems. Some people with lupus have a hard time metabolizing saturated fats and should limit cheese, red meat, creamy foods and packaged foods.
- Added sugar: Too much sugar can overstimulate the immune system and increase pain.
- High-sodium foods: Because lupus can damage the kidneys in fact, lupus nephritis is a type of kidney disease caused by systemic lupus erythematosus its best to try to keep sodium and salt levels low to prevent fluid retention, worsened swelling and electrolyte imbalances.
- Alcohol and too much caffeine: These can increase anxiety, worsen inflammation, damage the liver, increase pain, and cause dehydration and sleep-related problems.
- Certain legumes: Alfalfa seeds and sprouts, green beans, peanuts, soybeans, and snow peas contain a substance that has been shown to trigger lupus flare-ups in some patients . Negative reactions in certain patients are believed to be caused by the amino acid L-canavanine.
How Is Lupus Fatigue Treated
How your fatigue is treated will depend on what seems to be causing the issue. For instance, if you have an infection, treating the infection with antibiotics should improve your energy levels. If a medication seems to be the issue, your doctor may prescribe a different drug or suggest taking it at a different time of day.
Anemia, or low red blood cell count, affects about 50 percent of people with lupus and the main symptom of anemia is fatigue. If your anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, you will be given iron supplements. If it is caused by inflammation, antibodies, or steroids, other medications might be prescribed. If kidney issues are preventing the creation of key hormones that stimulate red blood cell production, you may be prescribed a drug called erythropoietin.2
In general, controlling your lupus flares as much as possible will also reduce feeling exhausted since inflammation makes you feel tired.
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Things To Remember When Exercising With Lupus Fatigue
1. Understand and accept that Its ok to rest.
Exercise on days that you feel like your energy is up and allow your body to rest on days when you feel like its really needed.
2. Choose the right type of exercise.
On the days that your energy is low, allow your body to rest, and if you do get that little bit of energy back that day try something lighter in intensity i.e gentle walk, home-based stretches.
3. Efficiency is key.
If fatigue is getting the better of you the last thing you want to do is spend hours exercising. Get your exercise done short and sweet, this way you wont over do yourself. Focus on compound exercises that use more than one muscle group and choose your preferred exercises.
4. Pace yourself.
Start gradually and build up slowly. Starting with too much or increasing too quickly can bring on symptoms and set you up for disappointment when you don meet that the next week. Use the 10% rule to gauge how much to increase, that is, increase the duration and intensity of your workout by 10% per week.
5. Set small, short term goals.
Having Lupus comes with its ups and downs so you never know whats around the corner. Setting long term unachievable goals will only set you up for disappointment. Try focusing on setting small incremental goals, this way you are more likely to achieve the smaller goals and keep a positive mindset.
Keep A Diary To Track Lupus Fatigue And Learn To Say No
âOne of the most difficult things for people with lupus is learning to say no,â says Jolly. But if you want to have energy for the activities that are most important to you, then itâs a must. Focus on listening to your body and saying no to activities you know will leave you exhausted. Do what you need to do for yourself.
Keeping a diary is a good way to track how you feel. âA diary can be a great tool to help you learn what types of activities make you feel good and what makes you feel lousy,â says Jolly. âIt can really help some people connect the dots.â
Stress can also add to fatigue, so try to avoid activities you know will increase your stress level. Instead, try to build relaxing activities into your day.
âHaving lupus forces you to look at your life differently, but it doesnât have to be negative,â says Utterback. âLupus has actually given me a lot of gifts, such as teaching me to slow down and learning how to put myself first.â
Meenakshi Jolly, MD, MS, director of the Rush Lupus Clinic and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Behavioral Medicine at Rush University.
Ann S. Utterback, PhD, lupus patient, Arlington, VA.
Adam Brown, lupus patient, Baltimore.
Lupus Foundation of America web site, âExercise, Fatigue, and Photosensitivity.â
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: âPatient Information Sheet #2, Preventing Fatigue Due to Lupus.â
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Avoid Too Much Sun And Use Sunscreen
UV radiation can cause skin rashes and/or a lupus flare-up, so dont forget to use your sunscreen throughout the year. Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of about 70 all over your body, even the covered parts, since normal clothes can offer protection equivalent to about SPF 5 only. Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats for further protection from the sun, especially if you are photosensitive. Certain medications can make you more photosensitive too. In addition, limit your time out in the sun.34
Objective Assessment Of Fatigue Using Validated Pros
Because fatigue is a highly subjective symptom, the standardised assessment of fatigue using validated patient-reported outcomes is an important step. The use of validated PROs also allows for an individual follow-up of fatigue intensity and symptoms over time, and may help in underlining the benefit of a therapeutic intervention at the patient level. It is also a way to show that the physician is genuinely interested in understanding and treating the cause of fatigue, which is important from the patients perspective, and helps in establishing a trusting physicianpatient relationship. Among a total of 16 different fatigue PROs which have been used in SLE, the FSS and the short-FSS are the most used ones, but the MFI and the Fatigue-VAS have also been used, although less commonly . The FACIT-Fatigue score is commonly used in clinical trials but has been infrequently used in routine clinical practice.
Main determinants of fatigue in patients with SLE.
Fatigue has been associated with several SLE-specific organ manifestations:
Other clinical manifestations of SLE have been associated with fatigue: in the FATILUP study, we found arthritis and oral ulcers to be individual SLE Disease Activity Index score components associated with severe fatigue. This may underline a more specific role for painful disease manifestations in SLE.
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