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Lupus is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease that, despite not having a cure, can be controlled with the use of drugs that help reduce the action of the immune system, such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, in addition to care such as the application of daily sunscreen, for example, according to the rheumatologist or dermatologist's guidelines, which helps to control and avoid crises, according to the manifestations of the disease in each person.
All lupus patients need medical follow-up, but the disease is not always active, and it is usually possible to maintain daily activities, such as working or performing leisure activities, in a normal way, for example. example.
The main symptoms that arise in this disease include red spots on the skin, especially in regions exposed to light such as the face, ears or arms, hair loss, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, pain and swelling of the joints and malfunction kidneys, for example.See the complete list of lupus symptoms to identify this disease.
The main treatment options, which are also available through SUS, are:
1. Sun protection
The use of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, but preferably above 30, is an important way to avoid the formation of skin lesions present in discoid-type or systemic lupus with cutaneous manifestations. Sunscreen or sunscreen should always be applied in the morning, and reapplied at least once more throughout the day, depending on local lighting and the possibility of exposure.
In addition, the use of clothes and hats are important to prevent the action of ultraviolet rays on the skin, when you are in sunny environments.
2. Analgesics and anti-inflammatories
Medication to relieve pain can be anti-inflammatory, such as Diclofenac, or analgesics, such as Paracetamol, which are very useful for periods when pain control is needed, especially when the disease affects the joints.
Corticosteroids, or corticosteroids, are medications widely used to control inflammation. They can be used topically, in ointments used on skin lesions to help improve them and make it difficult to increase the size of the wounds and blisters.
They are also used in oral form, in pill form, made in cases of mild or severe lupus or situations of exacerbation of the systemic disease, in which there may be damage to blood cells, kidney function, or organ impairment like heart, lungs and nervous system, for example.
Dose and duration of use depend on the severity of the situation in each case. In addition, there is the option of injectable corticosteroids, more used in severe cases or in which there is difficulty in swallowing the tablet.
4. Other immunity regulators
Some drugs that can be used together with corticosteroids or used separately to control the disease are:
- Antimalarials, such as Chloroquine, especially in joint disease, being useful for both systemic and discoid lupus, even in the remission phase to keep the disease under control;
- Immunosuppressants, such as Cyclophosphamide, Azathioprine or Mycophenolate mofetil, for example, are used with or without corticosteroids to weaken and calm the immune system for more effective control of inflammation;
- Immunoglobulin, is an injectable drug, made in severe cases in which there is no improvement in immunity with other drugs;
- Biological agents, such as Rituximab and Belimumab, are new drugs resulting from genetic engineering, also reserved for severe cases in which there is no improvement with other alternatives.
5. Natural Options
Some day-to-day attitudes, practiced at home, in conjunction with treatment, are also important to help keep the disease under control. Some options are:
- No smoking;
- Avoid alcoholic beverages;
- Practice physical activity 3 to 5 times a week, during periods of disease remission;
- Eat a diet rich in omega-3, present in salmon and sardines, for example, 3 times a week;
- Consume foods that are anti-inflammatory and photo-protective, such as green tea, ginger and apple, for example, in addition to other types of fruits and vegetables.
Check out this video, with more options and tips, to learn how to eat well and live better with this disease:
In addition, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet, avoiding the consumption of foods rich in sugar and fat, as they contribute to an increase in triglycerides, cholesterol and sugar levels, which can cause weight gain and diabetes, which can uncontrol the disease.
Other precautions include avoiding live virus vaccines, except under medical advice, monitoring blood calcium and vitamin D levels, which may decrease with the use of steroids, undergoing physical therapy to prevent and treat joint pain, in addition to avoiding stress, which can influence disease outbreaks.
Caring for lupus in pregnancy
It is possible to get pregnant when you have lupus, however, preferably, it should be a planned pregnancy, at a less severe time of the disease, and should be monitored throughout the period by the obstetrician and rheumatologist, due to the possibility of exacerbation of the disease. disease.
Furthermore, medications are adjusted for pregnancy and lactation so that they are as less toxic as possible to the baby, usually with the use of low-dose corticosteroids.