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How to recognise a lupus flare up

A lupus flare up can often be quite unpredictable and cause crippling symptoms throughout the period of time. As many of you will already know, lupus affects everyone in different ways. For some, a flare up will be extremely rare, as for others, this will be an expected and regular occurrence. This blog will give you an over view of what a lupus flare up is and ways that you can reduce your symptoms.

Lupus is a lifelong (chronic), autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack itself for an unknown reason. This can affect the joints, organs and tissue. The skin is one of the most affected organs, occurring in around 70-80% of all cases. This can cause sores and rashes. Lupus will often overlap with other connective tissue disorders such as scleroderma, dermatomyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.

What is a flare up?

Since lupus is so different for everyone, making it hard to come up with one definition. Essentially, it is the sudden worsening of symptoms, however, like mentioned this will affect people in different ways.

How can you recognise when you have a flare up?

  • Aching or excessive swelling of the joints

  • Weakness or pain in the muscles

  • High temperatures or frequent fevers

  • An increased level of fatigue or extreme exhaustion

  • Hair loss

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness or forgetfulness

  • Abdominal discomfort or digestive problems

  • Developing a rash

  • New or unexplained symptoms

Here are some tips that may help you to reduce your symptoms when you have a flare up

  • Take prescribed medications as recommended by your healthcare team

  • Have lots of physical and emotional rest

  • Get treatment for any infections

  • Exercise (even if it is just a small walk)

  • Eat good, nutritious diet

  • avoidance of direct sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light (this can trigger a lupus flare up)

  • Find ways to manage your stress. Lupus can cause depression and anxiety so it is important that you find ways to take care of your mental wellbeing

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