How can I help a Family Member who has Lupus?

Understanding lupus

Lupus, also called Systemic lupus Erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic immune system disorder in which the body’s immune system produces certain chemicals (auto-antibodies) that act against its own tissues. There is no effective treatment that can provide a complete cure. But there are a variety of measures that can be implemented to control symptoms or prevent damages to vital organs including brain, kidneys and lungs.

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Read here about some effective Lifestyle and Coping skills for lupus patients.

Helping your loved one with lupus takes three basic human qualities: courage, patience and a warm heart.

Why lupus management is so important

Lupus is an immune system disorder that has no identified cause, no preventive measure and no cure. You have to understand that “no cure” does not mean “no care”. Given below are the reasons why you should take care:

  • To improve quality of life
  • To prevent complications
  • To extend lifespan
  • To prolong the remission period
  • To maintain overall health

The Roadblocks Ahead

“One-size-fits-all” is something you cannot expect in the case of lupus. An extreme range of clinical presentations and inter-individual differences in response to treatments make the whole journey to wellness even more elusive. Therefore, it becomes imperative for you to learn about the difficulties in advance so that you can plan an appropriate strategy to cope with them later. Here are some common, but modifiable, difficulties associated with lupus treatments:

  • Chronicity and high inter-individual differences in clinical presentation and response to treatment: Lupus is a chronic immune system disorder which can affect your loved one for a lifetime. To make the things more complicated, the symptoms of lupus can vary widely among individuals. You have to personalize your approach so that you do not miss individual problems and their unique remedies.
  • Widespread disease effects: Since lupus can damage tissues in every organ, your care should be directed towards preventing damages to vital organs like heart, brain, and the kidneys.

What can you offer?

For lupus, medications are not enough. There are various aspects of treatment all of which need to be properly addressed to improve quality of life and extend life-span.

You must:

  • Motivate your loved one to make routine visits to the doctor.
  • Ask him/her to follow the doctor’s instructions strictly, and monitor to amend any deviation.
  • The most important emotional support that you can offer to your loved one is “Assurance”. You have to make sure that lupus cannot and should not change relationships. Also, assure that your loved one should not feel alone and lost, just due to the illness.
  • Help in adhering to the prescribed medications and treatments: Sticking to doses and frequency of intake of lupus medications is absolutely required as s/he has to take many potent medications of which the blood levels should be constantly maintained to get optimum drug effects.
  • Encourage the patient to follow a healthy lifestyle: Learning the value of a healthy diet, exercise and other lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and having a positive turn of mind helps to maintain overall health of the patient. You can take your loved one for a vacation, ask to join an aerobics class, or simply you can meditate together. Another indispensable aspect of a healthy lifestyle is personal hygiene. As the patient is required to take immune suppressing medications, s/he is at an increased risk of catching infections. You can teach them simple hygiene practices such as hand-washing, avoiding ill people, and reporting any preliminary signs of an illness.
  • Talking to the patient about how his/her feelings, moods and other emotional states can keep away Depression and Anxiety. You can help by talking, motivating, and teaching ways to lift the mood. If needed, you can make provisions for specialized counseling classes.

Want to know more about management of lupus? Get expert advice, and specialized treatments from the Best Doctors in your town.

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