In recent events of COVID-19 and a scramble to try different treatments to help those who contracted the SARS-CoV2 (which leads to COVID-19), the drug hydroxychloroquine has been hard for some people with lupus to find.
What is the deal with hydroxychloroquine?
This is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in lupus symptom battles. It is one of the mildest drugs that is used as well. There are significant side effects with long term use, including permanent damage and retinal toxicity. However, in the world of lupus drugs, this is mild.
This reason why this medication, an anti-malarial, works for lupus is unclear, but it generally helps with fatigue, soreness, and other symptoms like mouth sores (for some) and more. Each person has a bit of a different relief from this medication, but I can speak to the fact that it did help me with a handful of symptoms the biggest was fatigue.
Fatigue is overwhelming with lupus. It is one of the most debilitating symptoms that prevents some people from working or functioning in daily life to get tasks done. To have a drug that helps with this is amazing for those with lupus.
Can I have lupus and not take hydroxychloroquine?
The answer to any drug being necessary or not is yes… you always have a choice. HOWEVER, your physician is the best person to help you understand the drugs available and what they feel is the best path for treatment. Remember, you do have the right to choose what you put into your body, so with that in mind, I am not here to tell you to take or not to take any meds, just to tell you about MY experience and WHAT I DID and I can help you to do to help you alleviate symptoms naturally.
I took hydroxychloroquine for a few years after diagnosis. I started to develop ocular symptoms, and then stopped. I used some basic diet (at that time it wasn’t targeted) and movement to start to control my symptoms along with a lot of different types of supplements to have the same effect as hydroxychloroquine. I went back on again for a bit but then it was apparent that the eye issues were indeed from that drug so I went off and have never been back on it.
Do I experience flares without it?
I do have about 1-2 flares a year but I don’t see a difference in rate compared to when I took the drug (personally). I have VERY targeted nutrition, movement and supplements now. Although because my nutrition and gut health is so positive I don’t use supplements all the time and they are much simpler in nature and far fewer than I used to need.
You need to consult with your physician to see what is best for you.
How did I do this?
Autoimmunity is caused by combinations of genetics, with epigenetics (how the genetics interact with the environment) and gut biome (to put it simply). There are fancier and more clinical terms than all of this but this is the best way to describe this.
What I do in functional nutrition and in my Lupus Liberty program is look at each individual symptoms one-to-one and determine what needs targeting for balance in YOUR body. This is what I did with myself. I target the nutrition and supplements to MY imbalances.
Start with the Environment
I cleaned up all the products I used, started creating my own and eliminated inflammatory agents from my home. I wanted the least amount of interaction of my genetics (yes I was predisposed to inflammatory diseases genetically) and the environment. I got as much control as possible in this realm.
I also not only focused on my products and cleaning agents, but also the food going into my body. That is THE MOST important thing with balance.
Nutrition is KEY!
You cannot control lupus symptoms or autoimmunity without a special diet that is tailored JUST TO YOU! Some people have terrible inflammatory responses to food and do not even realize that is what is going on. It can be something as simple even as broccoli. You think it’s great – you love it – but guess what happens inside when you eat it – INFLAMMATION. That is not what happens to every person though. So the bio-individual approach helps find those things and eliminates those from your diet.
A few tips to get started now:
- Whole, real foods only
- Eliminate processed foods and packaged foods
- Look at your reactions to things like dairy, gluten, wheat, and similar types of common irritants.
- Consider your hydration. Are you getting at least half your weight in ounces of water per day (and more if you drink coffee or work out!).
- Get rid of unhealthy oils and fats. Focus on healthy fats like omega 3, with a balance of 6, and healthy sources of saturated fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter.
- Look at your food sourcing. No more processed cheap meat. Grass-fed and pastured animals only. Consider increasing fish and seafood intake, and lowering things like pork which can be inflammatory for a lot of people.
- Organic is best. Eliminating pesticides is important for inflammatory control.
If you suffer from things like stomach pain, reflux, damage from medications, gassiness, bloating, and more after or during meals this indicates imbalance. Your specific situation will be different than someone else’s but it is important to consider where you are at.
Have you taken a lot of antibiotics? It is time to work on the gut balance and get some of those missing helpful microbes back inside with probiotics. All strands have different purposes in the gut and so your personal symptoms require different strands than someone else. There are ways to self test, but the great news is that I am here to help you find the right ones. That is what I do! Prebiotics are helpful for the feeding of good microbes as well. How to get the right balance is also key and what I can help you with!
Want to start balancing digestion now? Awesome! If you start by eating more slowly and incorporating more vegetables, fruits and whole foods and eliminating processed foods you are on your way already! Truly that is the best place to start before getting individual help!
Want to learn more right now? Grab your FREE 4 Pillars to Lupus Liberty – this is the way that I started controlling my symptoms naturally. It has a ton of specifics for you to start with!
Coming up I will be hosting a FREE WEBINAR! It is all about this topic here and what I did. I will share with you the importance and some ideas on how to get started on your own! Keep an eye out for this webinar!
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