Natural Lupus Treatment | Autoimmune Specialist in Blountville, TN
Lupus is a name that is used to refer to systemic lupus erythematosus, a lifelong illness characterized by the immune system creating antibodies that attack the body itself.
Lupus frequently results in chronic pain due to swelling; many parts of the body can be damaged by lupus, but the most commonly damaged organs and tissues include the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidney, and nervous system.
Conventional treatment for lupus often involves non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and naproxen, steroids, and drugs that limit immune system activity (immunosuppressants). While these medications frequently prolong the lives of lupus patients, they have significant side effects and health risks.
Alternatively, natural treatment options include dietary modifications and nutritional supplement therapy. The goal of natural treatment for lupus is to help decrease widespread inflammation and autoimmune reactions in the body in order to extend remission time and prevent the periodic onset of symptoms.
Lupus can be debilitating, but relief from symptoms is possible. To schedule a consultation with Blountville autoimmune specialist who specializes in lupus, call (423) 301-6964 or contact Tri-Cities Functional Medicine online.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic (long-lasting) autoimmune disease that can affect multiple tissues and organs. Lupus occurs when the body's immune system attacks its own cells and tissues, which can cause widespread inflammation (painful swelling).
There are several kinds of lupus:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus, which affects many body tissues
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus, which only affects the skin and results in rashes or sores
- Drug-induced lupus, which can be caused by certain medications, most notably hydralazine and procainamide
Lupus is characterized by times of remission (no or few symptoms) that are interrupted by periodic symptoms known as flares. Ninety percent of lupus patients are designated female at birth, and onset ordinarily occurs when patients are of childbearing age (20 to 35).
With the exception of drug-induced lupus, causes of this illness are not precisely known; suspected causes and risk factors include genetic predisposition, viral infections, and sun exposure.
Lupus diagnosis is usually made after a complete physical examination, a combination of blood and urine tests, and a medical history. Imaging tests such as chest X-rays and echocardiograms (EKGs) can determine whether lupus is affecting the heart and lungs.
Symptoms of Lupus
The severity and course of lupus symptoms varies considerably for each patient, ranging from relatively benign to rapidly progressive and fatal. Symptoms may develop slowly or rapidly and can be temporary or permanent, and also depend on which body system is most affected by the disease. The most common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Photosensitivity and lesions that worsen with sun exposure
- Butterfly-shaped facial rashes and rashes all over the body
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Dry eyes
- Accelerated atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Pulmonary disease
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Gastrointestinal problems
Lupus can also cause neuropsychiatric disorders, with symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, personality changes, impaired memory, and confusion.
Traditional Treatment for Lupus
There is no known cure for this illness, so lupus treatment usually focuses on symptom management. Traditional treatments include:
- Corticosteroid cream for rashes
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for mild joint or muscle pain and fever
- Antimalarial medicines to treat fatigue, joint pain, and rashes
- Immunosuppressants that slow down the immune system to control inflammation
- Biologics, which are antibodies that change immune response
- Corticosteroid pills if other medicines are not controlling symptoms
Practitioners of traditional medicine may also recommend that lupus patients:
- Not smoke
- Exercise during periods of remission to help prevent joint stiffness
- Staying out of the sun or wearing protective clothing to limit sun exposure
Conventional Lupus Treatment vs. Natural Lupus Treatment
Conventional treatment may be required for individuals with severe lupus, but some of these treatments increase the risk of gastrointestinal damage, heart disease, cancer, and acquiring infections. In truth, the use of conventional treatment along with natural therapies can provide a foundation for healing severe cases by addressing the underlying causative factors of lupus. In mild to moderate cases of lupus, using natural treatments alone may be enough.
Natural Lupus Treatment
Dietary and nutritional supplement strategies may help decrease inflammation in the body and help prevent tissue damage and flares.
Lupus Diet and Nutrition
The major focus of dietary therapy for lupus is to eliminate possible food allergies, increase the intake of antioxidants, and decrease intake of fats and oils. Some natural medicine experts believe that the removal of potentially allergenic foods from the diet (known as an elimination diet) can prevent food antigens (allergy-causing substances) from escaping into the bloodstream and triggering an autoimmune response.
Lupus patients may want to see an allergist in order to determine which potential allergens to cut from their diet.
Potentially allergenic foods may include:
- Gluten (found in wheat, barley, oats, and rye)
- Dairy and dairy products
- Foods in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers)
Other foods that may be pro-inflammatory and beneficial to cut out may include:
- Red meat
- Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, cereal, and pasta)
- Animal fats
- Artificial colors and flavors
After following an elimination diet for about 3-4 weeks, potentially allergenic foods may be reintroduced back into the diet one by one every 3-4 days. If a specific food is found to aggravate symptoms, it should be permanently removed from the diet.
Vegetarian and vegan diets may be beneficial due to the fact that high levels of a pro-inflammatory fatty acid called arachidonic acid are found in animal products. Foods that may be anti-inflammatory and benefit to consume include:
- Cold-water fish
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
- Nuts and legumes
- Fruits and berries
Natural Supplements for Lupus
Supplements that may be helpful in treating lupus symptoms, mostly by reducing inflammation, may include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory acids found in fish oil
- Probiotics that help regulate the immune system
- Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory chemical found in the spice turmeric
- Indole-3-carbinol, a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage which helps support estrogen metabolism
- Vitamin D3, which helps regulate the immune system
- Antioxidant vitamins (A, C, E, selenium) that help prevent damage to cells from free radicals
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterine) supplements, which has been found to combat neuropsychiatric symptoms of lupus as well as joint pain and fatigue
Request Your Appointment Today
To meet with an autoimmune specialist in Blountville who can assist you in managing lupus symptoms, call (423) 301-6964 or contact Tri-Cities Functional Medicine online.
Tri-Cities Functional Medicine
Address105 Woodlawn Dr
Johnson City, TN 37604
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm