Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks its own organs and tissues. Inflammation from lupus can affect your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lupus is two to three times more prevalent among Black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian American, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women than among white women. Black lupus patients are also more likely to have organ system involvement, more active disease, and lower levels of social support compared with white lupus patients.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for lupus, but the right combination of medications may control your immune system.
If you pay attention to your body’s signals, you can learn to recognize the signs of an approaching flare-up. Here are a few simple ways to gain more control over your condition:
1. Eat well.
Regular, balanced meals keep your energy up. Doctors often recommend cutting back on salt, eating calcium-rich foods, and having fish regularly. The fatty acids in fish may decrease inflammation. Experiment and see what works for you. Whatever you do, avoid alfalfa sprouts — they contain canavanine, a natural toxin that harms the immune system and leads to flare-ups.
2. Don’t smoke.
Smoking can worsen the effects of lupus on your heart and blood vessels. If you smoke, quit.
3. Get lots of sleep, and take steps to reduce the stress in your life.
When you’re stressed out, your immune system suffers. Mind-body healing methods help some people feel more relaxed, positive, and in control of their lives.
4. Stay active.
Even if you feel tired or achy, try to take a walk or bike ride every day. Also, doing some strength-building exercises can keep your muscles and bones from weakening.
5. Stay out of the sun.
Ultraviolet rays can trigger an immune response in people with lupus. Every time you go out, you should