Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system sees healthy tissue as foreign invaders, thus attacking it. It’s a lifelong disease that can often be hard to cope with. Although it isn’t as life-threatening as diseases like cancer, living with lupus can still be very challenging. Learning how to cope with the chronic condition can help you lead a fulfilling life despite the symptoms you have.
The immune system is meant to protect your body by fighting off viruses and bacteria with antibodies. However, lupus confuses the immune system. It can’t differentiate between dangerous substances or healthy tissue, thus attacking itself and causing tissue damage. Lupus can even affect some organs and cause severe damage. Although it won’t affect all the organs, lupus can choose which ones it wants to attack.
While the cause of lupus is unknown, different people have different types of Lupus. Some people might have been born with it - in a condition called neonatal lupus. The mother might not show any symptoms of lupus, but their child could show them within their first days of life. Another form of lupus is discoid lupus. This type of lupus only affects the skin and appears as a rash on the face, neck, or scalp. For some people, this might merge into the main condition of lupus or SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).
Coping with Lupus
Even though lupus is a hard disease to deal with, there are multiple ways to cope with it. The first step is to talk to someone that you trust, whether it’s a family or friend. Explain to them how the disease works and how it differentiates from other chronic diseases. Talk about what symptoms you experience and open up about how difficult it is. Talk to them about the treatment that you might undergo and how it might affect you. Having a strong support system can keep you going to fight anything that lupus might throw your way.
Another way to cope with lupus is to remember to take time for yourself. Having lupus doesn’t define you, but it might become hard to remember that. Engage in fun activities like spending time with friends or working on your favorite hobby. Your disease isn’t your identity and remembering that will help you cope. If that doesn’t work out, try talking to a therapist or a support group of other people with lupus. Knowing that there are other people with the same condition as you can help ease any tension you might be feeling.
Communicating with your job and school about your disease can also help you cope with it. Don’t be afraid to request accommodations. In order to get through this, it’s important that you are in a comfortable space that won’t overwhelm you. Your occupation can be demanding, but your overall comfort and health come first. Should you worry about your accommodations not being fulfilled, know that you are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Living with lupus doesn’t mean a death sentence. Although it is a difficult disease, knowing the right ways to cope with it can make it a little bit easier. With a strong support system and the right quality care, you get through your symptoms day by day. At BASS Medical Group, our team of experts can help you find the right tools for living with lupus. Visit our website or call at (925) 350-4044.