In my efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I am constantly trying to “be one” with my body and pay attention to any signs that it may be attempting to communicate with me. In the past, I’ve ignored signals and continued living my life however I felt I needed to. This has only caused increased pain, frustration, and anxiety. It would be entirely foolish for me to ignore the old saying, “learn from the mistakes of others”, and continue repeating the cycle of inconsistent consideration of my body’s needs. Lupus patients are constantly at risk of causing increased Lupus activity in their bodies. It’s important to be aware of the signals that your body sends, as well as what you can do when they suddenly arise!
Signs of a Lupus Flare
Increased Pain/Weakness in Muscles: Lupus patients are constantly in pain, but the weakness associated with Lupus flares increases one’s level of discomfort a great deal! Patients will often have a difficult time completing even the simplest of everyday tasks involving getting out of bed, walking short distances, and doing household chores (ex. washing dishes). I usually feel like my entire body is very achy. Daily soaks in epsom salt and warm water are usually very helpful. When the aches and pains become more than I can handle, I also resort to Tylenol to help ease the pain. When you begin to experience increased pain and/or weakness in your muscles, it is important for you to decrease extensive physical activity and refrain from over exertion. If you would like to work out, yoga is a great way to provide your body with physical activity without pushing it to its limit. It will help loosen up your muscles and provide some relaxation.
Unusually High and Frequent Fevers: This seems like common sense–if you begin to get frequent fevers, see a physician–but many patients tend to overlook this symptom. I personally did not know that fevers were symptoms of Lupus flares until my recent hospitalization. I was experiencing 103°+ fevers daily and chose to just take Tylenol and get on with my day. In the event that you begin to experience these symptoms, it is extremely important that you immediately see a physician! Seeing your doctor sooner than later can not only save you from a great deal of pain, it can also save you a ton in hospital bills!
Increased Fatigue/Exhaustion: One of the worst symptoms associated with Lupus is fatigue. During flares, I begin to feel like I can’t get out of bed, make it past 10:00am, or sit through a conversation. In the past, I’ve actually sat in professional meetings and struggled to stay awake–falling asleep at the table-completely unintentionally! Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done about fatigue. When I see my body getting to this level, I force myself to get a minimum of 9-10 hours of sleep. Providing the body with additional rest may help the situation but I’ll be honest–it’s tough!
Achy/Swollen Joints: While I rarely get joint pains anymore (thank God!), this is very common in many Lupus patients. In combination with muscle aches and fatigue, joint pain can definitely result in immobility. I have increased my turmeric and ginger intake during these times and again, taken daily epsom salt baths. Both of these practices can help with inflammation in your body and ultimately ease up on your joints. Magnesium is also a natural pain killer that our body needs but doesn’t produce, so incorporating it into your supplemental intake during the on-set of flares can help relieve some pain as well.
Frequent Headaches: Everyone gets headaches every now and then, but it is important for Lupus patients to pay close attention to their bodies and moments of frequent headaches. This may definitely be a signal that your body is trying to send to you…listen to it and take proper action!
The Development of a Rash: A rash was the initial signal that I received from my body during my most recent flare. I was unaware that this was its way of letting me know that it was in crisis. The most common type of rash that develops in Lupus patients is called a “Butterfly Rash”. This is distinguishable because it takes on the shape of a butterfly on the face of the patient. It usually covers the bridge of the nose, cheeks, and spreads up to the eyes as well as other parts of the face. In addition to the common butterfly rash, patients may develop a red, lesion-type rash all over the body. This was my experience. The rash started on my chest and arms and spread to my stomach and legs. Topical steroids prescribed by my physician followed by increased steroid intake was the only thing helped. I personally recommend seeing your dermatologist immediately. He/she may decide to perform a biopsy of the rash to confirm whether or not it is associated with your Lupus or not because it’s important to treat each condition appropriately.
Remember, I am in no way a physician or professional! I am merely sharing my personal experience and suggestions based upon what I’ve been through. Always consult with your physician prior to making any changes to everyday routine and/or methods of Lupus management. Be well!
Subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by email!
If you know anyone suffering with Lupus and/or any other “Invisible Disease”, please feel free to share with them directly!
Copyright ©2017 Joezette Joseph. All Rights Reserved.