Lupus Erythematosus

What is Lupus Erythematosus?

Systemic lupus erythematosus (called SLE or simply lupus) affects about 1 in 2000 people, but overwhelmingly strikes women (85% of cases are women between the ages of 10 and 50) and occurs in Blacks more frequently than other races. The disorder occurs because your body's immune defenses become confused and attack your tissues as though they were foreign. We have discussed in detail how this mistaken identity occurs under Autoimmune Disorders. Please read that discussion for more information about this process.

Lupus ErythematosusA long list of drugs can stimulate the development of a lupuslike illness that in most (but not all) cases disappears when you stop taking the drug. The most common definite offenders are: chlorpromazine, a drug used in mental illness and to stop vomiting; hydralazine, a blood pressure drug; isoniazid, a drug used to treat tuberculosis; methyldopa, a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease; and procainamide and quinidine, two heart rhythm drugs. An even longer list of possible offenders includes such commonly used drugs as sulfa antibiotics and propranolol (Inderal).

The attack on the body in lupus can affect the skin, the kidneys, the blood vessels, the eyes, the lungs, the heart, the nervous system, and the joints—virtually every "system" of the body, and hence the name systemic lupus. But although this widespread involvement can occur, the disease may be quite mild in some cases. What can you do nutritionally to help? Let's look in Lupus Erythematosus diet.

What makes Lupus Erythematosus worse?

• A diet high in saturated fat may hasten the onset of such disorders and worsen the symptoms. Recommendation: The basic guidelines you should follow are to eat 30% of your daily calories as lean protein, 40% of your calories as low-glycemic carbohydrate, 20% of your calories as polyunsaturated fats, and limit your intake of saturated fats to 10% of your total calories per day. Please refer again to the discussion in Section we, Macronutrients, on page 23 for more complete instructions on how to compose this kind of eating program.

• Food allergies and sensitivities may play a role in the development of lupus or in triggering flare-ups. Uncovering the culprit in food allergies is sometimes quite tedious, because so many substances could be responsible. You may want to consult an allergy specialist to do some skin and blood testing to help narrow down your search. Once you have a list of suspected foods, you must undertake what's called an elimination trial to be sure. Take each suspect in its turn, completely eliminate it and all foods containing it from your diet for a minimum of 3 weeks. If your symptoms disappear or improve, that's great. To be certain it wasn't just a coincidence, however, you must challenge yourself by eating or drinking the suspect to see if symptoms return. If they do, you've found at least one culprit that you can say with certainty makes your disorder worse. Avoid it from then on and move on to test the next suspect on your list in like manner. You can easily see how time-consuming and tedious such a search can be, but if a food allergy is making your life miserable, it's worth the effort to find out.

 
 
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