7 easy, drug-free ways to live life better with lupus

Lupus symptomsOver five million people have lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to “view” the body’s own tissues and organs as enemies. Symptoms of lupus include tiredness, a facial rash that looks like a butterfly, kidney issues, swelling by the eyes, and painful joints. If you have lupus, you know it can flare up and settle down. It can also leave you at higher risk of having cancer or an infection, and lupus can even be fatal, though between 80 and 90 percent of people with lupus are expected to enjoy a normal life span.

The other good news is that life with lupus can be successfully managed, with drugs that range from NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can help fever and joint pain; to DHEA, a male hormone that works on alopecia, tiredness, and memory loss; to Plaquenil, a drug that fights skin issues; to corticosteroids, which can soothe sore joints; to immunosuppressives.

Yet lupus drugs have significant side effects. Plaquenil may be harsh on the stomach or give you a headache. NSAIDs can also affect the stomach and make it more likely you have a stroke. Corticosteroids can up your risk of infection or change your mood. Diabetes is even a potential consequence.

Natural strategies, such as incorporating or avoiding certain foods and supplements, and changing your lifestyle, will not cure lupus — nothing will — but they could help. And considering how easy they are to incorporate, aren’t they worth trying? Just remember to consult with your doctor first.

Gena Hymowech

By Gena Hymowech

Gena Hymowech has over two decades of experience writing for health, entertainment and lifestyle publications, including Yahoo Beauty, Men's Journal and Self. She has covered medical conditions ranging from acne to lupus, and has also worked as an online communications assistant to nutritionist, diabetes educator, mindfulness expert and health author Laura Cipullo. Gena has researched natural options for her own health issues, and enjoys sharing her passion for the subject with others.