Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), more commonly known as Lupus, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system becomes over-active and begins to attack the organs and tissues of the body.
It is currently estimated that SLE affects nearly two million people, though that number could be significantly higher. The wide range of symptoms associated with lupus often make diagnosis difficult, and it is likely that many more people are suffering with the disorder than is commonly believed. Conventional treatments for Lupus largely depend on drug therapies. Corticosteroids are used to suppress the hyperactive immune system, while a series of anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to reduce the swelling of tissues and joints.
There is currently no known cure for Lupus, and conventional treatments can only work to alleviate the patient’s symptoms. The most commonly prescribed drug therapies for SLE can have devastatingly unforeseen effects upon the patient’s body. Many Lupus sufferers are beginning to look to natural therapies to help manage their symptoms, and to find relief from this often debilitating disease.
Causes and Symptoms of Lupus
While the precise cause of Lupus remains undiscovered, there does appear to be a genetic component that makes certain people more prone to the disorder. SLE appears to be more likely to occur in those people who have a family history of the disease. Certain environmental factors are believed to be triggers for Lupus, including an over-reliance on sulfa drugs and antibiotics. Lupus also appears to be triggered by viral infections, prolonged periods of exhaustion and physical and emotional stress. The most common symptoms of Lupus are:
- skin lesions and rashes
- unexpected weight gain or weight loss
- joint pain
- chest pain
- hair loss
While there is no known cure for SLE, many of these symptoms can be relieved with all natural treatments that are designed to restore the body’s balance to optimum performance levels. Rather than manage these symptoms with drugs, natural therapies concentrate on reducing and eliminating Lupus symptoms through diet, nutrition and meditation.
Diet and Lupus
Dietary choices appear to be linked to the occurrence of Lupus symptoms, as well as to their severity. In fact, many Lupus patients find that their symptoms are triggered by previously undiagnosed food allergies. It is recommended that Lupus patients keep a food journal, taking note of flare-ups and when they occur in relation to daily dietary choices.
People diagnosed with Lupus should begin to transition to a low calorie, low carbohydrate diet. Foods high in animal fat and carbohydrates, have been shown to trigger Lupus symptoms, and should be removed from the diet. A new emphasis on a vegetarian based diet can help to reduce the occurrence and severity of Lupus symptoms, and will improve the patients overall health. Refined sugars and highly processed meats and grains should be eliminated, and foods rich in Omega-3, such as flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds should be introduced to the patient’s diet.
Certain nutritional supplements can also be taken to help reduce the symptoms of SLE. Many Lupus sufferers have been found to have lower than normal stomach acid levels. Regular doses of vitamin B complex can help to correct that imbalance. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids have been proven to help reduce the inflammation that typically plagues Lupus patients if they are taken in the proper form and ratio. While the best source for these fatty acids is diet, all-natural supplements can be taken to help boost the patient’s daily intake.
The Mind Body Equation
One of the major triggers for Lupus is stress, both physical and emotional. Research has shown a direct link between episodes of intense stress and the occurrence of SLE. By learning to manage their stress levels, Lupus patients can begin to reduce the severity and re-occurrence of their symptoms. Deep breathing exercises can help to reduce daily stresses that can trigger Lupus symptoms, and are easily integrated into the patient’s daily schedule. Neuro-feedback and biofeedback can also help Lupus sufferers to relax, and to manage the pain that typically accompanies their disorder.
Mental and spiritual well-being plays a large part in the overall health of the body, and daily prayer and meditation have been shown to be of great help to Lupus sufferers. Setting aside a part of the day to pray, and to meditate on God’s word, helps to ease both physical and emotional stresses while eliminating the depression and anxiety that is so common among Lupus patients. Regular meditation on God’s word, whether individually or with a prayer group, can provide more than comfort for Lupus patients. It can help to recharge the body, and to energize it with the Lord’s healing power.
People diagnosed with Lupus often feel that their lives, and their health, have moved beyond their control. But by making some key nutritional choices, and by focusing on what God is speaking to their heart instead of what their mind and the world system is speaking into their head, Lupus sufferers can take charge of their lives and can return to the path of total health.