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Lupus Risk Factors, Prevention & Tips

lupus risk factors

What are Your Risk Factors?

The exact cause of lupus remains unknown. Lupus is one of several autoimmune diseases-where a person's immune system is triggered to attack his or her own tissues. Research conducted over the past few years suggests that several factors may combine to cause lupus. These include genetic factors, environmental factors and others.

Genetic Factors
Certain genes that play a role in the immune system are associated with the likelihood of developing lupus. However, many people with lupus do not have these specific genes, and other people have these genes but never develop the disease.

Hormonal Factors
Some scientists have put forward their belief that certain hormonal factors may be involved in the development of lupus, particularly in women. These hormonal deficiencies/changes may trigger lupus in a genetically susceptible person.

Female Gender
Women are more likely than men to develop the disease, particularly during the childbearing years.

Environmental Factors
Many researchers believe that something must occur to trigger lupus in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to the disease. This may be an infectious agent such as a virus or bacterium. (This does not mean that lupus itself is contagious. It cannot be transmitted from person to person.)

Chemical Factors
There is preliminary evidence that chronic ingestion of foods and drinks that contain Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, marketed as NutraSweet, etc., may give rise to Lupus or Lupus-like conditions in susceptible individuals - more data should be available soon

Digestive Problems
Some researchers believe that tissue damage and inflammation results from abnormal and ongoing exposure to foreign particles entering the bloodstream. Over time, these particles may provoke immune cells to release large amounts of enzymes and other biochemicals. Normally, these biochemicals play a role in maintaining the natural balance between the reconstruction and breakdown of body tissue; however, if these biochemicals are released in excessive quantities, the balance is disturbed and tissue breaks down.

Wellness Tips

The following tips will help you to manage lupus.

Exercise
If you have lupus, it is important to make sure build daily physical activity into your lifestyle. Exercise is important for maintaining strong muscles, maintaining joint mobility, and aiding flexibility. Exercise may also help you to sleep better and maintain a positive attitude.

Controlling Stress
People with lupus face ongoing emotional challenges as well as physical ones. Since stress can also affect the amount of pain a person feels, it is important to be able to control stressors. Developing relaxation and coping skills can contribute to the feeling of being in control over the condition. Try deep breathing exercises, listen to music or relaxation tapes, or visualize a pleasant activity such as sitting by a peaceful lake or lying on a beach. Exercise programs, participation in support groups, and good communication with your health care team also help to reduce stress.

Learn to Predict Flare-ups
Steps should also be taken to avoid flare-ups. Learning to recognize the warning signs allows your health care provider to treat the condition before it becomes full-blown. Since each person's pattern of lupus flares tends to be unique, it may take a few flare-ups before you learn to recognize your individual symptoms.

Protect Your Joints
Learn to "listen" to your body and stop any activity that gives rise to pain. Alternate heavy or repetitive tasks with easier tasks and build breaks into your daily schedule. Take advantage of the many helpful devices designed for people with arthritis and other joint problems, such as jar openers and wide-handled mugs. Use carts instead of carrying heavy loads and carry a shoulder bag instead of a handheld one.

If You're a Woman

with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), be sure to discuss birth control methods, as well as the best time to become pregnant, with your doctor or other health care practitioner. Birth control methods and pregnancy can change the level of hormones in your body, which may impact your condition.

Revise Your Diet
Add more raw seeds such as pumpkin and flax seeds and fatty fish like salmon or sardines to your food intake; these foods contain health promoting omega 3 fatty acids, to reduce inflammation. Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables; eat more legumes (beans, peas); try to eliminate foods containing hydrogenated oils, cut down on foods rich in animal fats, particularly fatty meats (beef, pork) and high-fat dairy products.

Consult Your Doctor / Healthcare Professional
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