Lupus Symptoms, Causes and Alternative Treatments

Autoimmune diseases overwhelmingly strike women - are often misdiagnosed — and is a major women’s health issue.

What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder (the body is attacking itself) of the connective tissues that affects eight times more women (between the ages of 20 and 40) than men. Among ethnic backgrounds, those of African, Native American, and Asian descent develop the condition more frequently than those of European ancestry. Lupus can be mild such as discoid lupus (DLE), affecting exposed areas of the skin, and sometimes the joints, to life-threatening (systemic lupus erythematosis), affecting more organs of the body.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms vary according to the severity of the illness and which organs are affected. Initial signs include arthritis, a red “butterfly” rash across the bridge of the nose and on the cheeks (in SLE), or more of a red, circular, thickened areas that leave scars (in DLE). Lupus is the Latin word for “wolf,” and erythema means “redness”; the typical red skin sores are said to resemble a wolf’s bite.

Other symptoms include weakness, prolonged and extreme fatigue, and weight loss. SLE may occur very abruptly with a fever and mimic an acute infection or it may occur very slowly over months and years with only several episodes of fever and fatigue. SLE may be classified as mild if the symptoms are mainly fever, joint pain, rash, headaches, pleurisy, and pericarditis, but is often chronic with periods of improvement and relapse. There can also be years of remission in between periods of symptoms.

What causes Lupus?
The exact cause is unknown at this time. However, hormones are believed to aggravate it, particularly estrogen, which is why more women are affected. It also seems to be related to the use of estrogen therapy and birth control pills. This would make it then, to some extent, hormone-dependent.

Suggested Alternative Treatments
Allopathic medicine does not consider there to be a cure for Lupus, but many alternative practitioners report “cures” by eliminating causes and treating the body as a whole, beginning with adjustments in diet and appropriate supplementation.

It is suggested that people with lupus eat frequent smaller meals and limit cow’s milk and beef products. Increase vegetables and consume fish several times a week (omega-3 fatty acids). Alfalfa sprouts or tablets which contain L-canavanine sulfate and should be avoided, along with L-tryptophan which may produce substances in the body that may promote the autoimmune process. Adhere to a whole foods diet. You may also want to discuss a fasting, or a Detoxification program with your doctor as an avenue to establish a complete cleansing and remission.

Herbs and supplements such as cat’s claw, black walnut, omega-3 fatty acids and flaxseed oil are purported to lessen inflammation. Lupus, like so many autoimmune diseases, creates changes in your ability to absorb nutrients from your gut, so dietary supplements may help with restoring the balance, especially during a flare. Here’s a complete list, as well as food sources, for these important vitamins and minerals.

Colloidal Silver may be used as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiarthritic remedy. Echinacea should be avoided, or used with caution. Be sure you are getting the proper amount for your condition by discussing these options with a professional health care provider. Note: Medicinal herbs should be taken with caution, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

In addition to diet and supplements, you may want to consider acupuncture as this procedure is individualized towards each person’s unique profile and specific health conditions.

Since lupus can flare up during times of extreme stress, regular exercise and stress management are very important.