Recovery & Support for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
People with systemic lupus erythematosus may have periods of remission, when symptoms subside or go away completely. But there is no cure; it’s a chronic condition, one that must be managed over the long term. Your NYU Langone rheumatologist works with you to control symptoms during flare-ups and supports you during remission to ensure that you stay symptom free for as long as possible.
In addition to the medications prescribed to manage your symptoms, your rheumatologist may suggest that you make certain changes to support your immune system. These can reduce the frequency or severity of lupus flare-ups.
Our doctors often recommend that people with lupus sleep 8 to 10 hours each night, maintain a healthy diet that’s low in fat and sugar, and get 90 minutes of light to moderate exercise per week.
Lupus can cause mouth sores, so your doctor may advise you to brush your teeth twice daily, keep your mouth hydrated by drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day, and visit your dentist for a cleaning every six months.
Because lupus increases your susceptibility to viruses and bacteria, your NYU Langone doctor may recommend that you get vaccinated against influenza (flu) and pneumonia.
It’s important to avoid ultraviolet light from the sun or tanning booths, which can trigger skin symptoms. Wear UVA/UVB protective sunscreen, a hat, and long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoid direct sunlight.
Physiatrists, doctors who specialize in rehabilitation medicine, and physical therapists at NYU Langone’s nationally renowned Rusk Rehabilitation can help you manage joint pain associated with lupus. Because stress can trigger flare-ups, it’s important that people with lupus reduce overall stress levels. In addition to physical therapy treatments, the center also offers acupuncture, meditation, and bodywork designed to reduce stress and ease pain.
Pregnancy and Lupus
Women with systemic lupus erythematosus may have an increase in symptoms or additional symptoms during pregnancy. It’s important to talk to your rheumatologist about the risks associated with pregnancy when you have lupus.
Living with a chronic health condition can be stressful, and lupus can sometimes cause depression. Your doctor can refer you to an NYU Langone psychologist or social worker for group or one-to-one therapy if you’re experiencing mood changes or need someone to talk to. NYU Langone specialists also offer lectures and support groups specifically designed for people with lupus at the Hospital for Joint Diseases.
Researchers at NYU Langone regularly participate in clinical trials for systemic lupus erythematosus. These scientific studies are designed to test emerging treatments and therapies for the condition, such as new medications. Your NYU Langone rheumatologist can help determine whether a clinical trial is appropriate for you.