Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner


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For more wellness, click a link to the left

What is lupus?


Lupus is a chronic inflammation of the connective tissue. It can start as a rash, most often in young adult women, and is more prevalent in African Americans or those of Asian descent.


The rash starts as one or more red, circular, thickened areas of the skin behind the ears, on the face, or on the scalp. Fever, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and all-over muscle and joint pain can follow. Urinary tract infections are common. The heart and lung can also become involved. There are alternating periods of remission and flare-ups.


What causes lupus?


It's not clear what all the causes of lupus are, but some cases have been traced back to a a severe allergic reaction to drugs or vaccines.


What increases your chances of getting lupus?


Severe physical and mental stress, streptococcal infections, pregnancy, and abnormal estrogen metabolism are some of the factors that can increase your chance of getting lupus.


What are the medical approaches to lupus?


Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) are often prescribed, but have side effects such as hemorrhage, high blood pressure, damage to the digestive system, kidneys and liver, headaches, hearing disturbances, shortness of breath, blood sugar changes, weight gain or loss, mineral imbalances, impotence and breast enlargement, muscle weakness and cramps, among others.  Steroid creams are often given for rashes, and prednisone for more serious symptoms are used. Immunosuppressive drugs such as Cytoxan are often prescribed, but may damage the liver, kidneys, heart muscle, lung, hair and blood. Long-term use of steroids can lead to glaucoma, cataracts, osteoporosis, skin changes, mental changes, ulcers, increased susceptibility to infection, and ulcers.


What are your chances of surviving lupus and thriving?


Holistic approaches work well with mild cases and even people with more serious forms can expect symptom relief.


What self-care measures can you take if you have lupus?


* eat lots of chicken, fish and green vegetables, especially steamed roccoli, kale, arugula, artichokes and beet and collard greens


* drink 8-10 glasses of water every day


* avoid chocolate and whole wheat and any foods you react to with symptoms such as watery eyes, headache, bloating, congestion, fatigue, excitement, itching, or increased heart rate (without exercise or stress)


* avoid alfalfa sprouts, eggplant, and peppers


* take additional amino acids as a supplement or use Bragg Aminos (from the health food store) in salad dressings, soups, and on chicken and fish


* buy flaxseeds and use a coffee grinder to grind them; use in cereals, soups, salads and/or add a tablespoon to a glass of water and drink


* take a multivitamin* and a multimineral* every day with meals


* take a probiotic* (acidophilus or bifidobacteria) to aid in digestion


* drink 3-4 ounces of aloe vera gel or aloe vera juice* after meals to soothe the digestive system


* take the herb astragalus* for fatigue (follow directions on the bottle)


* use the spice turmeric (the non-irradiated version)* on your food; it's an excellent anti-inflammatory


* eat a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries (let defrost first) every day to keep your bladder healthy and ward off kidney infections


* massage above below and all around the ankle bone to strengthen kidneys and bladder and above the hip bones in the back


* massage a couple of inches to the side and below back of knee to improve circulation and reduce pain in joints


* massage in depression a couple of inches below kneecaps to improve digestion and absoprtion of nutrients


* take a warm bath and put in a few drops of at least 3 essential oils: myrhh, pine, black pepper, and/or basil


* do yoga, stretching exercises, and/or tai chi daily


* avoid stress and listen to a relaxation tape daily, especially before bedtime


* avoid sunscreen (wear a hat and clothes that cover you instead), hormones, makeup (except hypoallergenic kinds), scented shampoos, perfume, after shave


This article on lupus is for information purposes. For treatment, consult your health care practitioner. Copyright www.carolynchambersclark.com



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