Taking Charge of Your Health
Introduction
What's In This Section
Patient Rights
Paying for My Healthcare
Understanding My Treatments
Living Well with Lupus
 
Introduction: Sections coming soon.

   Lupus is a very unpredictable disease. Some may experience only one flare. Others may experience flares often, or infrequently. Not even a rheumatologist, experienced in caring for people who have lupus, can predict if or when the next flare may occur. People who have lupus live with a great deal of uncertainty. They may ask, will I be able to work? Will those I love be there for me? Will I be able to care for my children? How will I pay for my healthcare?

   And because lupus varies day to day, it may become impossible to plan even a day ahead. The feeling of loss of control is real and so is the stress it adds to your life. And stress can be a trigger for lupus.

   This section offers information to empower you to take back a certain degree of control over your own health. Knowing your rights, understanding how to access the healthcare system, and finding ways to modify the many stresses that lupus brings to your life can help you take charge of your life.

   This section offers four subsections beginning with an introduction to patient rights, including “certain rights” under the law.

   Next we include a broad overview of the different types of health insurance offered today, including Medicare, disability and supplemental insurance, and what to know if you are uninsured.

   We offer information about various lupus treatments so you will be as informed about them as possible. And we offer practical suggestions about how to make the most of your relationships with doctors.

   You will find a variety of topics to help you understand how diet can affect lupus and how to find the right exercise for your lupus symptoms. We offer information about Tai Chi as a way to improve balance and muscle strength while maintaining a sense of well-being, as well as the relaxation and stress-reducing benefits of yoga.

   We provide a “healthy overview” of vitamins and herbs that may add healing to your overall healthcare program, or in some cases may actually interfere with your other lupus treatments.

   We also provide information about acupuncture and other medical alternatives.

   Finally, we offer a section on stress and the role it can play in lupus. Stress unleashes cells in the immune system that are the same cells that fight germs and infections in healthy people. People with lupus tend to produce many more of these cells, which can lead to an overactive immune system that may attack healthy parts of your body. And so it becomes important to find ways to identify all the possible triggers in your life that can affect your lupus, including stress, and thus find ways to reduce and manage them.

   Our “mind/body” section suggests ways to practice meditation and learn relaxation methods that may help lessen the amount of stress you experience. Some people find that spirituality helps them cope with their illness, and others find support through counseling.

   Just as each case of lupus is different, your life, the environment you live in, and the resources available to you are also very individual. You can learn to identify who you are and what you need, your rights to access knowledgeable and respectful medical care, and what resources services and supports are available to you. And by doing so, you can choose to take charge of your health and improve your journey of living as well as possible with lupus.