To make sure that the holidays stay festive, most people plan ahead. For individuals with lupus, all the shopping, decorating, cooking, gift-wrapping and going to parties can be very exhausting. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m just too tired” and ask for help.
According to social worker Caroline Norris, one way to cope with stress during the holiday season is to follow the four A’s: avoid, alter, accept and adapt.
How would you even know if you are one of the 1.5 million Americans that has lupus? The common signs of lupus are:
• joint pain and stiffness, with or without swelling;
• muscle aches, pains or weakness;
• fever with no known cause;
• feeling exhausted;
• butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks, or other body rashes;
• unusual weight loss or weight gain;
• trouble thinking, memory problems or confusion;
• kidney problems with no known cause;
• chest pain when taking a deep breath;
• sun or light sensitivity;
• hair loss; or
• purple or pale fingers or toes from cold or stress.
Less common symptoms include:
• blood clots;
• sores in the mouth or nose (usually painless);
• severe headache;
• dizzy spells;
• “seeing things” or not able to judge reality;
• feelings of sadness;
• strokes; or
• dry or irritated eyes.
Reducing stress can only enhance the good things in your life. If you have any questions about lupus, call the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania at 800-800-5776 or visit www.lupuspa.org.