Systemic Lupus Erythematosus


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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a generalized chronic disease that can affect your quality of life. It can impact your ability to cope with everyday tasks. The unpredictable nature of the disease and symptoms such as fatigue are contributing factors.


Symptoms improve - Symptoms such as pain, fatigue and intensifying weakness can be unpleasant. Many suffer from constant joint pain and this is a reason for many doctor visits. Pain (being the most bothersome) influences everyday functioning, limiting your ability to perform duties such as household chores, exercise or even social activities. Once lupus is well managed you should have less of these symptoms and can enjoy an improvement in quality of life.

Better body image – Some of the symptoms of SLE can result in you feeling sensitive about your appearance. (For example, rashes on your face, dry skin and hair loss.) As a consequence, you may experience lowered self-esteem. Once your condition is being properly treated, these symptoms are likely to subside. You should experience an improvement in body image and self-esteem.

Work and economic conditions – Your functioning at work can easily be affected if you have constant pain and fatigue. Not only the physical side of working will be affected, but you may also have trouble concentrating and memory loss. This can place strain on your work life and financial situation. Due to the fluctuating nature of the disease, you might have to be many days absent from work and this can lead to loss of income. With better disease control, your productivity at work is likely to improve.

Improved psychological and emotional health – Depression and anxiety are common in people living with SLE. It can be challenging dealing with the fear of when your next flare-up will occur, or with the emotional distress of having a chronic disease. Please speak to your doctor if you are struggling and get help. Commit to attend therapy sessions if this is part of your management plan.

Despite the limitations and inconvenience of the disease, you can certainly aim for optimal results. Take your medication as prescribed. Even when you feel better and have not had a flare up in a while, taking your medication correctly can avoid relapsing. Optimizing your treatment by following a healthy lifestyle and eating balanced meals can improve the outcome of your disease.

Contact your doctor if you have any concerns.


Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Olesińska M, Saletra A. Quality of life in systemic lupus erythematosus and its measurement. Reumatologia. 2018;56(1):45-54.

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