Lupus Flares: Recognizing one, triggers, and prevention

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People always ask me what a Lupus flare is, how does it feel how long does it last along with a host of other questions what are as equally hard to answer, I often reference a sickle cell crisis which people seem to be more familiar with however I thought I would be a good idea to write this blog post to help new luppies or friends and family members or a person with lupus in order for them to better understand and provide much needed support.

What is a lupus flare?

 An onset of lupus is when the symptoms of lupus worsen and make you feel uncomfortable. The formal definition of a lupus flare is a measurable increase in disease activity in one or more organ systems, with new or more severe clinical signs and symptoms and laboratory measurements. The evaluator (clinic or researcher) should consider this increase as clinically significant, and in most cases, should consider changing or adding treatment. 

A lupus flare is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by these unpredictable flares and remissions (when symptoms improve and you feel better). 

What does it mean when lupus is active? 

When lupus flare occurs, many people will notice the recovery of symptoms, but some people may experience new symptoms. Active disease is caused by inflammation of an organ (such as the kidney) or organ systems like the digestive system. 

What happens to the body during lupus flare?

Normally, our immune system, which is the part of the body that fights bacteria, viruses, and germs ("foreign invaders" such as the flu), produces proteins called antibodies to protect the body. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system cannot distinguish these foreign invaders from healthy tissues in your body. It produces autoantibodies that attack and destroy the healthy tissues of your body. These autoantibodies can cause inflammation, pain, and injury in various parts of the body. 

What are the symptoms of lupus flare?

Common symptoms that indicate a lupus flare are:

Persistent fever not caused by infection.

Abdominal discomfort or digestive problems

The legs are generally swollen

Mouth or nose ulcers or sores

Dizziness or forgetfulness

Joint pain and swelling

Increase fatigue


Hair loss



This is why it is important to see a doctor who specializes in treating lupus. He will regularly monitor your health. 

What can trigger lupus flare?

Family or other life complications and anything that causes physical stress, such as surgery, physical injury, pregnancy, or childbirth, are examples of triggers that can cause or aggravate lupus.

To make you more likely to develop lupus, you need an external trigger to trigger the disease or make it worse.

Infections: Infections such as colds or flu can activate the immune system and trigger.

Stress Episodes: After emotional or physical trauma (surgery, accidents, emotional stress), they will occur frequently. 

Pregnancy:  During pregnancy and shortly after the birth of the child

Sunlight: This is especially true for people who are sensitive to light. 

Medicines: Certain medicines and herbal supplements may cause lupus flare. Discuss with your doctor what sulfa antibiotics or other herbal supplements you are taking or may want to take.

How do you distinguish normal fatigue from a lupus flare?

If you have lupus and your work or family life requires a lot of energy, it is normal to feel exhausted. Not every fatigue is an attack of lupus erythematosus. The best way to tell if you have a sudden attack is to understand the symptoms and triggers of lupus, follow them and report them to your doctor.

Is there anything to prevent the onset of lupus? 

There are several ways to significantly reduce the occurrence and/or severity of lupus episodes. In terms of drugs, the number of drugs used to treat various manifestations and symptoms is increasing. These affect the experience of a lupus flare itself. 

The most common antimalarials are hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and corticosteroids, such as prednisone. ), such as ibuprofen, can help alleviate certain emergencies, and more aggressive treatments such as immunosuppressive agents (methotrexate, azathioprine, etc.) and biological agents such as Benlysta can also be significant for emergencies. Have an impact because they can solve potential lupus problems.

Many times, asymptomatic lupus patients feel better and stop taking the medication without asking the doctor. This is very dangerous. Stopping prescription drugs such as Plaquenil can make your condition worse. Again, discuss each medication decision clearly and often with your doctor. Ask as many questions as you need to. Make sure you feel comfortable and have a clear understanding of the medicines you are taking and why. Before prescribing any medication, be sure to let your new doctor know that you have lupus. Your doctor may develop a treatment plan specifically for you and your lupus symptoms. Most importantly, you fully understand the plan and the steps required to control the disease and avoid the onset of lupus. Your plan may include some or all of the following: 

Take the medication prescribed by your doctor.

Rest physically and mentally.

Actively treat infections

Exercise daily

Eat properly

Avoid direct sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet radiation.  

Understandably, chronic diseases can cause anxiety and depression, which can lead to stress. It is important to find a way to deal with stress. This is often called physical and mental balance. Sometimes, despite your best efforts and your healthcare provider, a lupus flare will continue. If you suspect that you may have a sudden attack, see your doctor immediately to make changes to your medication and treatment plan. 

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Prednisolone what is it? What are the effects?

 Any Luppie or anyone dealing with a chronic condition is likely to have a love hate relationship with Prednisolone.

I thought it would be a good idea to do a little research into this drug that I have been taking on and off for over a decade and write this blog post in the hopes that it could help anyone that has been newly diagnosed or even the friends and family of a person with a chronic condition in order for them to provide support


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What is Prednisolone?

Prednisolone is a synthetic form of a natural substance (corticosteroid hormone) produced by the adrenal glands and used to treat arthritis, blood problems, immune system diseases, skin and eye diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, and allergies. It reduces the immune system's response to various diseases to relieve symptoms such as pain, swelling, and allergic reactions.

How to use oral Prednisolone?

       Take this medication by mouth, food, or milk exactly as directed by your doctor to avoid indigestion. Dosing with a special measuring device/spoon.

       Do not use homemade spoons because you will not get the correct dosage.

       Liquid prednisone has many brands, advantages, and forms. Please read the dosage instructions for each product carefully, as the dosage of prednisolone varies from product to product. See also the precautions and storage section. Follow the dosage plan carefully.

       The dose and duration of treatment will depend on your health and response to treatment.

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Side Effects

You may experience





       Menstrual cycle changes

       Sleep disturbance

       Increased sweating


 If these effects persist or worsen, please tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. Remember, your doctor prescribed this medicine because they found it to be good for you.

Infections: Many people who take this drug do not experience serious side effects. Because this drug weakens the immune system, it reduces your ability to fight infections. This increases your chances of getting serious (rarely fatal) infections or developing a certain type of infection. If you have any signs of infection (such as cough, sore throat, fever, chills), please tell your doctor immediately.

Yeast Infections: Long-term or repeated use of this drug can cause thrush or yeast infections. If you notice white spots in your mouth or changes in vaginal discharge, consult a doctor.

Blood Sugar Level: In rare cases, this drug can increase blood sugar levels, which can cause or worsen diabetes. If you have symptoms of high blood sugar, please tell your doctor immediately. For example, your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise plan, or diet.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these unlikely but serious side effects, please tell your doctor immediately:

       Abnormal tiredness

       Swollen ankles/foot

       Abnormal weight gain

       Blurred vision

       Easy bruising/bleeding

       Facial swelling

       Abnormal hair growth

       Mental Mood swings/changes (depression, mood swings, agitation)

       Muscle weakness/pain

       Thinning of the skin

       Slow wound healing

       Bone pain

       Chest Pain


       Gastric/intestinal bleeding symptoms (such as stomach/stomach pain, black stool/tar, ground-like Vomiting)

Severe Allergic Reactions

Very severe allergic reactions to this drug are rare. However, if you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction such as skin rash, seek medical help immediately. Itching/swelling (especially face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, shortness of breath.

Does Prednisolone interact with other drugs you are taking?

Drug interactions can change the way drugs work or increase the risk of serious side effects. Keep a list of all products you use and tell your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine without the approval of your doctor.

Some products that may interact with this drug are aldesleukin, other drugs that weaken the immune system, such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, cancer chemotherapy, and mifepristone, which may cause bleeding/bruising. Drugs (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as dabigatran/warfarin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin/celecoxib/ibuprofen) interact with it.

Other products such as estrogen, azole antifungal drugs, rifamycin, St. John's wort, can affect the removal of prednisolone from the body will affect the effects of prednisolone. For more information, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

This product will affect certain laboratory tests (such as skin tests). Make sure that the laboratory staff and all your doctors know that you are taking this medication.

Have you ever had to take  Prednisolone? 

How did it effect you?

Please comment below

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Cyclophosphamide: What is it? What are the effects, and how to get through them?

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I recently went through s cycle of Cyclophosphamide and was thoroughly surprised about how I was effected by the side effects, which unfortunately was not made aware of by my medical professionals. 

Even though I have yet to see the benefits of the treatments, they can take up to three months before they can be noticed I thought it would be helpful for me to write to help anyone who is currently having or considering the treatment along with some tips 

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What is Cyclophosphamide?

Cyclophosphamide is a chemotherapy drug that is often used to treat various types of cancer and certain types of kidney disease in children after the failure of other treatments. 

Side effects of cyclophosphamide can include:

Loss of appetite
Stomach pain
Hair loss
Darkened skin/nails.

Nausea and vomiting can be severe. It may be necessary to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Dietary changes, such as eating smaller meals or restricting activities, can help reduce some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor immediately. 

Temporary hair loss may occur. Hair can grow back after the treatment is over or even during the treatment. However, the new hair can be of a different colour or texture.

Serious Side Effects

The drug may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this medicine for you, because they believe that the benefits to you outweigh the risks of side effects. Close monitoring by a doctor can reduce your risk.  If you have serious side effects, including the following signs then seek medical help.

Kidney or bladder problems (such as changes in urine output, pink/haematuria)
Mouth ulcers
Joint pain
Menstrual interruptions
Existing wounds and slow healing
Black/bloody stools
Heavy abdomen /Abdominal pain
Yellow eyes or skin
Dark urine
Mood swings
Muscle weakness/spasm. 

In rare cases, this drug can have a very serious effect on the heart, especially when used in high doses or combined with radiation therapy or other chemotherapy drugs (such as doxorubicin). 

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following conditions: chest pain, jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, heart failure symptoms (such as shortness of breath, ankle/foot swelling, abnormal tiredness, abnormal/sudden weight).

Anaemia: This drug reduces bone marrow function, which causes a decrease in the number of blood cells, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This effect can cause anaemia, reduce the body's ability to fight infection, or cause bruising. 

Infertility: This medication usually causes temporary infertility, but in some cases, it may be permanent. Please contact your doctor for more information. 

Other cancers: Although Cyclophosphamide is used to treat cancer; some patients may have an increased risk of developing another cancer months or years after treatment. Please contact your doctor for more information. It is very important to receive strict medical supervision during treatment.

Abnormal Lumps: You should also see a doctor regularly even if the treatment is over. If you experience any abnormal bumps or lumps, swollen glands, sudden or unexplained weight loss, night sweats, pelvic pain, or frequent urination, please tell your doctor immediately. 

Allergies: Very severe allergic reactions to this drug are rare. If you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, including rash, itching/swelling (especially face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing, please contact your doctor immediately.

Does Cyclophosphamide interact with other drugs you are taking?

Before taking cyclophosphamide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or any other chemotherapy drugs (such as busulfan, chlorambucil).

Some products that interact with cyclophosphamide drugs include chloramphenicol, chloroquine, allopurinol, digoxin, phenobarbital, phenothiazine’s, nalidixic acid, primidone, voclosporin, St John's wort, turmeric (curcumin).

How to get through the side effects?

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Take Rest

Fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer patients, especially those receiving chemotherapy. Therefore, even if you feel good, rest and avoid overwork. Now is the time to return to normal energy levels. Remember, you can ask for help. 

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Stay Hydrated 

Diarrhoea, vomiting, and other side effects of chemotherapy can cause dehydration. It has low energy, but it can also cause other health problems. Make sure to drink plenty of water during treatment. Caffeine-free tea, juice, and milk can also help. If you cannot get enough fluids or stay hydrated, please consult your doctor. 

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Eat when you can

Chemotherapy can cause nausea and loss of appetite, so it is important to eat as much as possible to avoid malnutrition. Please note that during the treatment, many foods will taste differently. In some patients, food may have a metallic taste during and after chemotherapy. Create a sense of normalcy in your daily life. If possible, stick to your daily routine. Small things like dressing or eating with family every day. These rituals will help you stop thinking about cancer. Contact your support staff and nursing staff during treatment. 

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Make Yourself Comfortable

Chemotherapy is difficult. Therefore, please seek support from your family, friends, and caretakers. The doctors and nurses will do their best to make you feel comfortable. However, you must ask questions and express your concerns so that they can help. Your favourite blanket, delicious snack, your best friend, a good book, or anything else that makes you feel more comfortable and keeps you busy while you wait.

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Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are usually manageable. Before each chemotherapy cycle, you will receive oral or intravenous medications to treat the disease, and you will get some painkillers to take home.

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Hair Loss

Most cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy will experience baldness, which usually starts 7 to 21 days after the first treatment. Some people gradually lose their hair, and some people have large strands on their pillows when they wake up, but hair loss depends on the type and dosage of chemotherapy you will receive. Before starting treatment, discuss with your doctor what will happen, and then plan what to do if you lose your hair. For example, if you start to lose hair or decide to try protective styles, scarves, wigs, turbans, or hats, you may want to consider getting a haircut or shaved head. 

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Protect your skin and nails

Moisturize your skin to reduce dryness, but choose a cream with the least amount of perfume to minimize the risk of reaction; test a small area of skin.

Take care of yourself in the sun first: cover your skin and wear a hat, use high SPF sunscreen, and avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Hand cream helps keep hands, feet, and nails hydrated. 

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Maintain a positive attitude 

Sometimes our fears are worse than reality, and daily treatments will surprise us. Pay attention to the positive aspects of your day, no matter how small and trivial, to keep you in a good mood. 

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Lee-Anne x 

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