Lupus 101: What You Need To Know About Latinas And The Disease

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How does lupus affect a person's day-to-day routine?

Dr. Carlos Lozada says that with the proper treatment, people with lupus can live relatively normal lives. However, a few extra precautions, must be taken -- such as avoiding unneccessary sun exposure.

"Broadly speaking, in general, we do advise our patients with lupus to protect themselves from the sun, because the UV effects of the sun can activate the disease," he says. "It is very good advice to have the patient try to avoid unneccessary sun exposure, to use good sun protections, and to avoid being outside in the middle of the day unless there is a good reason."

While staying safe in the sun is important for all Latinas, it's especialy important for lupus patients, as the disease tends to be more active when exposed to sunlight. However, Dr. Lozada says that patients do not have to remain indoors with their blinds shut all day long. They simply have to exercise more caution in their outdoor activities.

Additionally, Dr. Lozada says patients with lupus should expect to visit the doctor fairly frequently to monitor the progress of the disease. They should also expect to take treatments, which are often in the form of tablets. . “They are not particularly difficult treatments to take,” he says. “But you do have to go to the laboratories every so often. You do have to get blood taken out before you go to the doctors for your appointments. You do want to schedule more periods of rest. But that has to do with what kind of symptoms you’re having. If your joints and tiredness are part of your particular involvement with the disease.”

One last word of advice?  Because one symptom of lupus is tiredness, people must be sure to get plenty of R&R. “Schedule more rest periods,” he says. “Manage your work a day a little bit. That is not to say that we want to limit what our patients can do. It is actually a point of emphasis that we want to see our patients doing what they enjoy doing and what they have to do.” 

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Cristina Arreola, Associate Editor

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