How to Best Support a Loved One After a Lupus Diagnosis

Lupus

Learning about lupus and the most common issues one experiences is the best way to support a loved one after diagnosis.

Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that affects over 1.5 million people in the United States. Although lupus can affect both genders, the disease is most prevalent in women, particularly women of color. Lupus causes the body to attack healthy cells and tissues, often damaging the joints, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, skin, brain and lungs.

No cure for lupus exists currently, but many people with lupus live long, healthy lives when they understand how to best control symptoms, proactively take steps to prevent flare-ups, and develop healthy coping techniques. If someone you love receives a diagnosis of lupus, learn all you can about the disease to be better prepared to help provide proper care and support. The following information will help you and your loved one understand the disease and how to best manage care.

Learn how to best control symptoms

Symptoms are unpredictable and vary by the individual. Your loved one may experience muscle or joint pain, fatigue, hair loss, fevers, rashes around the face, headaches, seizures, or chest pain. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as lupus flares.

Recognize the warning signs of a lupus flare. You can help prevent flares or reduce the severity if you can identify warning signs and quickly get treatment. Before a flare, existing symptoms might get worse, or new symptoms may develop, such as extreme fatigue, fever, stomachache, or dizziness.

Contact your loved one’s doctor right away, if symptoms escalate. Report new or worsening symptoms so that your medical team can recommend the best treatment plan for your loved one.

Take steps to prevent lupus flares

Although all lupus flares cannot be prevented, those with the disease can proactively take steps to prevent more flares by avoiding common triggers, and family caregivers can help by thinking through what they can do to help reduce workload and support healthy habits.

Common lupus triggers include:

  • Overwork and stress
  • Lack of sleep and rest
  • Sun exposure
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Stopping lupus medicines

Develop healthy coping techniques

Maintaining regular, healthy habits is an important part of living successfully with lupus, and when family members all commit to supporting these habits for their loved one and themselves, everyone will benefit.

Healthy habits include:

  • Practice stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, and setting realistic goals
  • Choose healthy foods most of the time
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep and practice healthy sleep habits by keeping electronics out of the bedroom and avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • Exercise regularly at a moderate level with physician approval
  • Maintain good mental health and seek help and support if needed
  • Build a support system of people you can trust and go to for help and assistance
  • Maintain regular medical care

Visiting Care Giving Services, the experts in senior care in Chesterfield, provides trusted in-home care, partnering with families to deliver care and assistance for individuals diagnosed with lupus or a variety of other chronic health conditions. We provide medical, non-medical, and respite care services in the comfort and familiarity of home. Contact us at (636) 493-9058 for additional resources about lupus or quality senior care in Chesterfield or the surrounding areas.