When you have a chronic condition like lupus, you need to be on the watch for flare-ups at all times. By keeping track of the triggers for your flares, you can learn to manage your condition, keeping as much of your life lupus-free as possible. Flares can derail your whole day, but once you know what common triggers to avoid or lookout for, you’ll be more able to keep your plans and live your life to the fullest.
At West County Rheumatology of St. Louis, Missouri, our team, led by Sona Kamat, MD, FACR, specializes in helping patients diagnose and control their lupus. Dr. Kamat can work with you to put together a plan so that you can avoid triggers and effectively cope with flare-ups when they do happen. Here are some of the most common triggers we observe in our patients.
When lupus flares up
Lupus is a chronic condition that affects your immune system. You might go for long periods of time between flares, when uncomfortable and often confusing symptoms suddenly become an issue. When you have lupus, your immune system turns your body’s defenses against disease on your own organs and tissues, typically impacting multiple parts of your body at once.
The symptoms of lupus can seem unconnected from one another, but all arise from the same immunological condition. Lupus can affect your brain, heart, lungs, joints, and skin. Symptoms of lupus flares include:
- Face and body rashes
- Skin lesions that are sensitive to sunlight
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Whiteness in your bodily extremities
- Problems with your memory
In the middle of a flare-up, your body can also struggle to get rid of your old, dead cells, potentially making your symptoms worse as dead cells pile up on you.
Tracking your triggers
Depending on the severity of your lupus, you might only deal with mild symptoms, or you may suffer from more intense and disruptive flares. If you can keep flares under control by identifying and avoiding your triggers, you can continue to keep living your life with lupus. Dr. Kamat can help you figure out the best plan to keep your lupus under control.
While everyone is different, there are some typical triggers that affect most lupus patients. Watch out for:
- Exposure to sunlight (especially strong ultraviolet rays)
- Colds and viral illnesses
- Certain medications
- Emotional stress
- Physical stress
Genetic predispositions can also contribute to your lupus, as it tends to run in families.
Although you can’t cure your lupus, you can identify your triggers and develop strategies to avoid them and manage your flares. With professional support and regular monitoring, you can keep your lupus from uncontrollably flaring up all the time. You can take back control over the frequency, duration, and intensity of your symptoms. We can recommend medications to support you during flares, as well.
For a lupus assessment and full treatment plan, contact West County Rheumatology today. You can schedule your initial consultation appointment over the phone, or with the online booking tool.