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Lupus – Systemic Treatment for a Systemic Disease

Published on September 30th, 2015 by Dr. Jennifer Nardella and Dr. Meghan Haggarty

Lupus is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that affects the blood and connective tissue.  The two main types of Lupus are: discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) which affects the exposed areas of the skin and sometimes the joints and Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is a more serious and potentially fatal condition affecting the body’s organs.

With lupus, something goes wrong with your immune system, the part of the body that fights off viruses, bacteria, and germs. Normally, our immune system produces proteins called antibodies that protect the body from foreign invaders. When you have lupus, your immune system cannot tell the difference between these foreign invaders and your body’s healthy tissues, so autoantibodies are made that damage and destroy healthy tissue. These autoantibodies cause inflammation, pain, and damage in various parts of the body.

A person with lupus may experience:

  • Joint pain, sometimes swelling
  • A red rash across upper cheeks and bridge of the nose
  • Extreme fatigue
  • An unusual reaction to sunlight
  • A red scaly rash
  • Small, painless sores inside the nose or mouth
  • Swelling in feet and legs, weight gain
  • Abnormality in blood chemistry evident in blood tests

Diagnosis/Assessment:

Several factors can play a role in triggering this complex disease. It is believed that hormones play a part in the alterations of the immune system that takes place in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). High estrogen and low DHEA can increase the symptoms in a patient with SLE. Tests can evaluate the level of these hormones, and additionally the body’s inability to detoxify the estrogen properly.

There is a possible association with celiac disease, gluten intolerance with Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE). This can be assessed with each patient’s particular situation to make the pertinent nutritional recommendations.

Treatment:

While there is no cure, most people with lupus can lead normal lives with proper treatment.  Any treatment plan will depend on the type and severity of symptoms.

Natural treatments can include:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – shown to curb inflammation. Increase Omega-3 intake by eating oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring or mackerel), flaxseeds, or by taking a daily Omega-3 supplement.

Herbal Medicine – anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger and turmeric.

Diet – anti-inflammatory diets help to minimize systemic inflammation. Testing for food sensitivities can help to identify inflammatory triggers and create an individualized diet.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – HBO therapy works by repairing parts of the body that have been attacked by an autoimmune disease. Tissues heal more quickly with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, due to the fact that HBOT enhances white blood cell formation and heals nerve endings.  The health of cells can be drastically improved after hyperbaric oxygen therapy, helping them fend off any attacks from the immune system.

IV Therapies – intravenous vitamin and mineral infusions help improve the function of the body’s cells including the immune system.

With a personalized treatment plan, the goal will be to help restore balance to the body’s immune system.  To find out more, call our office today to discuss with our staff.

(403) 282-4488