How to Reduce Fatigue When You're Living with Lupus

How to Reduce Fatigue When You're Living with Lupus

The autoimmune disorder lupus has a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, including fatigue. In fact, anywhere from 67-90% of women and men with lupus suffer from fatigue that’s severe enough to compromise their lives.

Kimberly Bolling, MD, is a specialist in diagnosing, treating, and managing the symptoms of lupus — including fatigue. She and our team at the Bowie, Maryland, office want you to reclaim your energy and manage what energy you have. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Why you feel fatigued

Fatigue is a nearly universal problem in today’s hectic world. People of all ages are sleep deprived. They don’t eat enough of the nutrients they need to energize their cells. The use of caffeinated beverages and energy drinks has increased in recent years.

But when you have lupus, fatigue can go to a new level and make it hard to perform simple daily tasks or even enjoy your life. Fatigue in lupus can cause:

Type I interferons are key cytokines in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Type 1 interferons are also associated with fatigue, which may partially explain fatigue in SLE. 

In addition, pain and psychological factors may contribute to your fatigue. You may also have another underlying condition that’s causing or worsening your fatigue.

Determine if stress or depression is a factor

Not surprisingly, 17-75% of lupus patients report feeling depressed about their disease. Stress — either about your lupus or other factors in your life — can lead you to feel depressed and anxious, which can worsen fatigue.

In fact, studies have shown that lessening stress can also reduce the symptoms of fatigue in someone with lupus. 

Dr. Bolling evaluates your psychological state and sense of well-being to determine if you’d benefit from counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to learn how to manage stress and reduce its impact on your life. 

Get enough sleep

Either singly or in combination, stress, depression, and pain might also cause insomnia. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can’t repair and refresh its organ systems and tissues. Your brain doesn’t function optimally, which could make you feel groggy, unfocused, and slow to react. 

If you have insomnia, you might benefit from a well-timed nap during the day. Also try adopting good sleep hygiene habits, such as keeping your bedroom totally dark and cool. 

Prioritize your sleep and make sure you go to bed and rise the same time every day, regardless of whether it’s a workday. You can find more sleep hygiene tips here

If your sleep doesn’t improve, you may have an underlying condition, such as sleep apnea, that could prevent you from entering deep, restorative sleep. If Dr. Bolling suspects a sleep disorder, she recommends you for sleep study. 

Find out if you have another health condition

Having other health conditions could increase the odds that you’ll experience fatigue from your lupus. Conditions that may contribute to your fatigue are:

Dr. Bolling conducts blood tests to help determine if there’s an underlying condition or deficiency that’s contributing to your fatigue.

Eat well and exercise

Counter to how you may be feeling right now, exercise can be a way to overcome your fatigue. A sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk for arthritis. It also causes muscle loss over time, which means it becomes harder to accomplish simple tasks because you don’t have the actual strength to do them.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, talk to Dr. Bolling. She helps you design a routine that starts where you are and then builds toward more activities and longer workout times. 

Of course, a workout doesn’t necessarily mean time in the gym. Simply walking, dancing, or gardening may give you a good start.

Be sure you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. That means focusing on whole, fresh foods, especially plant foods. Also choose high-quality proteins, such as pastured meats and poultry, wild-caught fish, and organic grains, nuts, and seeds.

Dr. Bolling also determines if you have a vitamin deficiency that may require you to take supplements. For instance, many people in the United States are deficient in calcium and magnesium. 

Don’t suffer in silence

Lupus is a serious disease, and fatigue is a potentially debilitating symptom. Dr. Bolling has great experience treating lupus and helping patients manage their disease. She may recommend:

If you’re feeling fatigued from lupus, phone our Bowie, Maryland, office today at 301-352-0090 or request an appointment online to set up a consultation today.

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