It is only natural that you and those around you are going to have a lot of questions about lupus. Rest assured that over time you will learn more and more how the disease affects you personally, which activities help you to feel better, which medications help you the most, how much sleep you need, foods and ingredients that may initiate a flare of your symptoms, how your body responds to stress and many more questions that affect your day to day life. You will learn to make certain adjustments to manage your disease and this will enable you to live a good life despite being diagnosed with lupus.
Some of the most commonly asked questions in the initial stages of learning to live with lupus are discussed below.
It is a good question and one that many people will ask. The short answer is – we don’t know. Scientists are working hard to find out why some people develop lupus while others do not. The answer may be the key to warding off the disease before it takes hold.
Is lupus genetic?
There is good evidence that genetics play a role in deciding who will develop lupus. But just how large a role that is differs from person to person. Some people are more susceptible, genetically, to developing the disease. Whether or not they actually develop lupus may depend on their lifestyle or which viruses or medications they come into contact with.
Can other people ‘catch’ lupus from me?
Lupus is NOT infectious or contagious. There is no need for you to quarantine yourself.
Can I take oral contraceptives (the pill)?
You will need to discuss this with your doctor, but in many women with lupus, oral contraceptives can be used without problems.
Do certain things trigger lupus flares?
While there are no universally accepted triggers, you may find that sun exposure, certain foods, medications or activities affect your condition. Emotional stress is commonly implicated in lupus flares. It may be useful to keep a note of the things you did or ate prior to a lupus flare – this may help you to identify any triggers.
Am I going to have lupus for life?
At present there is no "cure" for lupus, but there is effective medication that will bring the disease under control – often permanently. As you grow older, it is likely that the disease will settle down.
Is there a special diet I should follow?
No, but you should eat a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet and try to maintain ideal body weight. If you know that a particular food triggers your lupus, it is obviously wise to avoid it.
Everyone has questions and it is essential to learn as much as you can about living with lupus so that you can better manage your condition. Should you have any specific questions you think should be included here please contact the Lupus Association of NSW Inc on 1800 802 088 (Freecall NSW Country & Interstate) or if you are in Sydney call 02 9878 6055 or email us.