Fatigue can be a debilitating symptom of chronic illnesses like Lupus. In this article, learn which Lupus patients it affects, how it affects them, what causes it, and how to manage Lupus fatigue.
Who Does Lupus Fatigue Affect and How Does It Affect Them?
An estimated 40% of Lupus patients experience persistent severe fatigue. Fatigue experienced by Lupus patients differs from fatigue experienced by healthy individuals. Lupus-related fatigue feels similar to having the flu and is not made better by rest or sleep. It can make everyday tasks, like showering, difficult and can be made worse by such tasks.
What Causes Lupus Fatigue?
There are a number of other causes of fatigue that may be unrelated to Lupus, including thyroid problems, stress and depression, not getting enough calories, anemia, infections, insomnia, sleep apnea and vitamin D deficiency. Some medications sometimes used by Lupus patients, including Prednisone, muscle relaxants and pain medications, can also contribute to fatigue. Speak with your doctor about potential other causes if you’re experiencing fatigue.
How Can I Prevent and Manage Lupus Fatigue?
You can help manage your fatigue by:
- Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night or planning to nap the following day
- Treat symptoms that affect your ability to fall asleep
- Create an optimal sleeping environment with the right amount of light and sound and the right temperature for you
- Have a comfortable bed and bedding
- Try sleep-inducing foods, like camomile or peppermint tea
- Avoid caffeine 4-8 hours before bed
- Avoid blue light 2 hours before bed
- Follow a relaxing nighttime routine and try to maintain a consistent sleeping and waking schedule
- Speak with your doctor about medication options for sleep
- Exercising and stretching regularly to increase muscle strength, range of motion and lung capacity
- Speaking to a nutritionist about the best diet for you to manage both Lupus and fatigue
- Practicing pacing
- Prioritize the things you need or want to do
- Schedule breaks throughout your day
- Limit the amount of tasks you know cause over exertion, like leaving the house or cleaning
- Work on a task in small increments, like 15 minutes at a time
- Do less than you think you’re capable of that day and don’t push yourself beyond your limits