6 Lifestyle Tips for Lupus

How Exercise, Dieting, and Relaxation Can Help Combat Your Lupus.

Lupus doesn’t have to control you. In fact, there are things you can do to take charge of lupus. These things may help you maintain a better quality of life, and they may help prevent a lupus flare.

Lupus Lifestyle Tip #1

Stop smoking: Lupus symptoms can be exacerbated if you smoke. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, and for those who have lupus that affects the heart or blood vessels, smoking can be especially detrimental.

If you’re a smoker, it’s important to stop right away. Talk to your doctor about tools that can help you quit smoking.

Lifestyle Tip #2

Protect yourself from the sun: Being sun smart is key when you have lupus. Avoid being in the sun for a long period of time because sunlight can cause a lupus rash to flare and may even trigger a lupus flare. If you’re going to be outside, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher, and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Don’t forget your sunglasses and hat, too!

Because you need to keep out of the sun, you’ll most likely need to take a vitamin D supplement. Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun, so when you’re trying to avoid the sun, it’s important to take a vitamin D supplement to make sure you’re getting enough of it.

Lifestyle Tip #3

Eat a healthy diet:  Focus on eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats such as those found in salmon.

However, watching how much fat you take in is especially important if you have lupus. That’s because you’re more prone to developing hyperlipidemia (the medical word for high cholesterol levels, which means you have high levels of fat in your blood, making you more prone to heart disease). If you have hyperlipidemia, eat a low-fat diet.

Lifestyle Tip #4

Keep active: Staying active with a low-impact exercise routine helps you maintain flexibility in your joints and boosts your overall feeling of well-being. It’s thought that low-impact exercises can help strengthen bones and muscles without aggravating inflamed joints.1 Examples of low-impact exercises you can do are walking and swimming. Before you start exercising, get your doctor’s okay.

Lifestyle Tip #5

Slash your stress: We all deal with stress, and it’s important to manage it. But when you have lupus, it’s especially essential to deal with your stress because stress can exacerbate your symptoms. Each day, take some time to relax. You can do deep breathing or meditation exercises—just find what helps you cope with stress.

Read more about how to cope with stress [link to Coping with Lupus article, when created] and other feelings when you have lupus.

Lifestyle Tip #6

Rest often and sleep well: Fatigue is a very common symptom of lupus, so getting enough rest and sleep is important.

Don’t try to make these healthy lifestyle changes all at once. Instead, take small steps to help you maintain your overall quality of life and to help prevent lupus flares.

Updated on: 11/19/15