How Does Alcohol Affect People With Lupus?

Guest Post:  Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Compounded Health Problems, Alcohol and Lupus

Never assume you have lupus based on the signs and symptoms you may display. It takes your doctor’s expertise to say whether or not you have this chronic disease of which there are no cures. However, certain medications can help to keep your lupus symptoms under control.

Everyone has an immune system to fight off disease processes such as a bad cold, the flu, or pneumonia. Lupus is a genetic condition in which your immunity cells attack your body.

Lupus is an autoinflammatory process by which the cells of most of your vital organs come under attack such as:

  • Joints
  • Skin
  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Blood

If the doctor diagnoses you with chronic lupus, it can be a combination of genetics and the environment you live in. Researchers find that some people with lupus develop this disease as they come in contact with specific triggers in their environment. However, the real cause of lupus is unknown. Researchers know that certain medications help keep the symptoms of lupus a bay—chronic lupus cycles from little to no signs to many symptoms for a while.

Symptoms of lupus may include some or all of the following on different levels of severity depending on your body.

  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Joint pain

When you experience a flare-up, the symptoms of lupus become worse until you enter into a remission period, and the symptoms decrease or seem to go away for a while.

Medications on the market targeting lupus help improve your quality of life, such as anti-inflammatory steroids, making flare-ups less frequent.

How Alcohol Kills You

Your prescribed medications to help your lupus can be altered related to its typical and expected effect on your lupus through drinking alcoholic beverages.

The chronic drinking of alcoholic beverages slowly damages the cells of all your vital organs. This process happens more quickly when you have an underlying condition such as lupus.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” applies to drinking alcohol and the damage it does to the inside of your body that you cannot see happening.

If you cannot see the damage, you do not know the extent of what alcohol is doing to your vital organs. This damage significantly rises if you have a diagnosis such as lupus. If your drinking of alcohol is out of control, you will benefit from the help that alcohol treatment centers can offer you.

There are many different perspectives available on how alcohol kills you. Anything you consume, good or not so good can kill you when used in extreme amounts, and alcohol definitely fits in this category.

For instance, there are some excellent health benefits to drinking a glass of quality red wine daily. If you go beyond this one glass and drink a bottle of red wine daily, the right benefits are no longer viable. Over time, your excessive alcohol consumption begins to damage the cells of your vital organs.

Damage to Organs, Medication Interactions, and More…

When consumed in excessive amounts daily, alcohol slowly but indeed starts to tear down the tissue structure of many of your vital organs in a healthy person without any underlying health issues. If you have a condition such as lupus, you are at high risk for complications associated with this condition.

Generally speaking, those who have a definitive diagnosis of lupus are old enough to drink. If you have lupus, you can drink in moderation. However, the medications your doctor prescribes to you for any given health issues such as lupus can be altered in the way your body metabolizes your lupus medications.

Alcohol can speed up the effects of the medication within your bloodstream. Alcohol’s impact on specific drugs intensifies the impact of the medicines in a good and bad way. Alcohol treatment centers can help you eliminate the need for alcohol in your life, especially if you are fighting a chronic health problem such as lupus.

All medications have an element of side effects. Side effects are not good, but most are tolerable because the drug is so essential to a lupus diagnosis. Alcohol can also make lupus symptoms worse. Everyone is different, reacting to alcohol, medications, and the diagnosis differently.

There are dangerous health issues associated with chronic and excessive use of alcohol, such as hepatitis, blood infections, and pneumonia, to mention a few problems brought about by alcohol use in any form.

Researchers find that if you have lupus and want to enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink in moderation, wine is your safest choice because red wine can cause less inflammation in the body. In fact, red wine is a known anti-inflammatory.

Alcohol in moderation means that you can safely enjoy no more than two drinks per day if you are a male and one drink a day if you are a woman.

If you can no longer drink in complete moderation and your alcohol consumption seems to be a growing problem, make the wise decision to contact alcohol treatment centers to help you enter a better path of healthy living. Alcohol treatment centers can get you on the right track and keep you there for the sake of your chronic lupus medication program.

 

 

Sources:

http://lupuslyfe.com

http://www.lupus.org/resources/thinking-about-drinking-read-this-first

http://www.cdc.gov/lupus/basics/symptoms.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354386

http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines




Lupus and the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time for many people but especially for those living with a chronic illness like lupus.  I find the holidays to be one of the most stressful times for me personally and also a time when my lupus flares become more active.

Dealing with holiday events, cooking, decorating, and planning a holiday with kids always seems to stress me out but even more so since I was diagnosed with lupus a few years ago.  Last year, I dealt with a horrible trigeminal neuralgia flare at the holidays and was weeks out from my kidney cancer surgery.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of decorating done and just didn’t feel good for most of the holiday season.

Lupus and the Holidays

lupus and the holidays
lupus and the holidays

Since being diagnosed with lupus in 2016, I quickly learned that one of my biggest flare triggers was stress.  I also suffer from bad anxiety these days so the stress and anxiety usually work together to create an unfavorable lupus flare for me.  It is extremely important to recognize flare triggers so that you can take measures to help reduce your exposure to those specific triggers.  Stress is no different.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time where you are living your life carefree and with a happy heart.  I love the holidays, especially Christmas.  There is something so magical about sparkling lights and glittery snow falling on cold winter nights.  Of course, I prefer to spend my time admiring this beauty from the comfort and warmth of my home LOL.  But I am telling you, the holidays are soothing to my soul.

Yet, every recent holiday has sent me into a flare.  If you deal with a chronic illness, you may relate to this.  The stress of the holidays seem to trigger my lupus to flare often.  If we are being honest, there are probably many reasons this happens to me personally.  I know that I do not sleep as well or as much as I should when stressed and everything I feel I have to do for the holidays.

lupus and the holidays

It also seems to be the time of the year that I always catch a virus of some sort.  Being sick is another flare trigger for me and it seems those flares are the hardest to recover from.  When my flares are triggered by a sickness, I not only have to recover from the sickness (and that takes me a lot longer these days!), but I also have to then deal with flares that go on for weeks and sometimes months.

As a lupus warrior, I have realized how important it is to prioritize your time and the activities you agree to participate in.  This becomes a lot easier when you begin to take steps to organize your life.  I may be a medical hot mess, but I’m kind of a hot mess in general LOL.  I had to implement ways to really gain some order in my life now that I have multiple health issues.

 

  • Learn to say NO

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give a fellow lupus warrior is to learn to say no.  This is still something I find myself struggling with some days.  I completely get what its like to not be able to tell those you love and respect that you just can’t help them with what they need or attend an event they are having.  I feel as a chronic illness warrior that I try to ‘prove’ myself a lot of the times in dealing with my capabilities.

I am stubborn in that sense, but the truth is, we can’t do everything.  No one can.  Its not necessarily just a chronic illness warrior thing either, I mean…. we are only human.  Sometimes, we HAVE to say no and take time for ourselves.

If you find yourself saying ‘YES’ to everything, especially things you really have no interest in, you may want to re-evaluate for a moment.  Ask yourself if this task or event is going to benefit your life or well-being in someway.

If it is not mandatory, ask yourself is it something you would have seeked out yourself, had they not asked you?  How are you feeling physically and mentally right now?  What does your current task list look like?  These are all important things to consider when someone asks you to do something or attend an event.

The holidays can get overwhelming with work, school, doctor appointments, scans, labs, etc.  This is the best time of the year to really learn to say no when needed.

Using phrases like:

  • “I am sorry, I am already booked for that day or week.”
  • “I would love to and appreciate the offer, but I am going to have to pass at this time.”
  • “Thanks for considering me but I have been dealing with a lot of health issues lately and am not able to commit to this at this time.”
  • A simple “NO”  will also suffice.  You really don’t owe anyone an explanation to anyone unless you feel it is warranted.

 

  • Set reminders on your cell phone calendar

One of my favorite tips is to start using the calendar on your cell phone.  Almost every phone has a built in calendar, but I personally prefer to sync it with my Google calendar.  With the kids attending remote school right now, I get a lot of notifications and assignment emails that are really important for me.  I feel this makes it a lot easier to keep things on one calendar.   This is also helpful because I can still access my Google calendar from a device other than my phone if it were needed.

I also find it really helpful to set up reminders when I add an event to my phone calendar.  I set up an email reminder for the day before the event and a phone notification reminder a few hours before the event.  This ensures that I get a double notice of the event and not forget about it.

With so many things going on during the holidays, having a calendar with set notifications makes life A LOT easier for me as a lupus warrior.  Brain fog is a legit issue for me and having all of my events in one place makes it less likely for me to forget about something.

  • Get a large calendar

I also find it incredibly helpful to have a large wall calendar that coincides with your cell phone calendar.  I recommend placing this large calendar in a room that you spend a lot of time in.  That way each day you are able to get a visual of the tasks at hand for the week.  I find the large calendar really helpful for the rest of my family as well, maybe more so for them than me LOL.

I can tell them about all the plans or due dates we have for something, but they will usually forget as well.  Having a large calendar makes it a lot easier for them to understand the plans for the week as well and help remind you of events when they may slip your mind.

  • Organize your mail

My least favorite part of life these days involves the mail LOL.  There is nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed with utility bills or medical bills, especially around the holidays.  If you find yourself hating to even check the mail, you may want to consider organizing it.

Why should you spend time organizing your mail when you don’t even want to think about all the due dates piling up?  Let’s just say that things don’t seem as scary when you take the time to organize them.  Financial issues are something that many of us chronic illness warriors deal with.  When you just ignore things, they only pile up and get worse.  Not to mention, many places will tack on late fees the longer you wait to deal with a bill.

Start by organizing all of your bills according to their due dates.  Once they have been separated, then group them into piles by your closest pay period.  This can help you figure out what bills should be paid with what paycheck during the month.  This can help you pay your bills on time and save yourself some money and stress.

I also like to write all of my bills on my large calendar.  This also helps with a visual que as to when those payments need to be paid.  If you do this each day you get a bill, it will feel so much less overwhelming!  It can also help you manage a better budget when dealing with an illness like lupus and the holidays.

  • Organize your medications

If you have not already organized your medications, you probably should consider doing this as soon as possible.  I am not sure if you are like me and have ever wondered if you already took your medicine…or are you thinking about last night????  Medication brain fog has happened to me more times than I care to admit.  Then I get scared thinking I may take too much if I already took it or I will suffer if I actually didn’t take it.

Getting a pill organizer off of Amazon is probably the easiest and most affordable ways to organize your medications.  Having your medication separated by days makes it a lot easier to tell if you took your medicine or not.  It also can save you a lot of time on hectic mornings or busy days.

  • Meal Prep Weekly or Bi-Weekly

One of my biggest resolutions for the New Year is to get better about meal prepping.  I love to meal prep but find myself falling off the bandwagon a lot.  Yet, I know how much easier life is as a lupus warrior when I do meal prepping.  If you have never heard of meal prepping,  Meal prepping is preparing meals on a certain day, then portioning it out to create grab-and-go meals for later.

Most of the time, I prepare meals for the coming week when I meal prep.  This helps me by having meals on hand and easily accessible in the fridge.  Recently, I came across freezer meal preppers.  This is where you can make large foil pans of different meals and freeze them.  I am excited to start planning some freezer meals in addition to my normal meal prep ideas.

Not only is meal prepping a great idea year-round, but its an amazing idea for dealing with lupus and the holidays as well.  If you are in charge of creating a holiday feast, you may want to check out some holiday meal prep ideas that can help you save time and energy this season.  Who says you have to prepare everything the day of?  Break up your cooking and baking tasks into different days and utilize the help of meal prepping.

  • Track you lupus symptoms

I am a big advocate for tracking your symptoms when you are a lupus warrior.  Tracking your lupus symptoms can help you identify triggers and also help you keep track of symptoms you are experiencing.  During the holidays, you may experience many flare triggers.

Keeping a record of these triggers can help you identify them and hopefully prevent them if possible.  Tracking flares can also make discussions with your doctor a lot easier and more in-depth.  Using a lupus journal or lupus symptom tracker may be beneficial for you if you experience flares during the holidays like I do.

  • Apply for a lupus HealthWell Foundation Grant

The holidays can be tough on lupus warriors who struggle with finding medical assistance.  If you are in need of lupus financial help, you may want to consider checking out the lupus HealthWell Foundation grant.  Every December, they open the grant to applications for the lupus fund.  For many years, they offered a medication co-pay assistance program to help lupus patients cover many medications.

As of 2020, they have also opened a grant to help pay for insurance premiums for lupus warriors.  The great thing about this grant is the fact the income guidelines are A LOT higher than most programs available.  You may be surprised to find out you may be eligible for this grant.  It is definitely worth checking into if you are a lupus patient needing some financial help for the new year.

 

While the holidays are a beautiful and magical time of the year, they can sometimes be difficult for lupus warriors.  If you can identify triggers for your lupus flares, you may be able to help manage your symptoms better.  Being proactive during the holiday season can help when dealing with a chronic illness.  Learning to say no, organizing your life, and getting financial help are all ways you can stay ahead of lupus and the holidays.

Most importantly, take a rest day if needed.  Self-care is extremely important as a lupus warrior and we all need a break at some point. I hope some of these tips help you to have the best holiday season.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and stay safe and healthy!




Volt Heated Gloves Review

 Lupus and Cold Weather

The cold weather never used to bother me like it does these days. In the last few years, my tolerance for cold temperatures has really gone down a lot.  Living in Northwest Ohio, I have had my fair share of Blustery Winter days.  Living in an environment such as this makes it difficult to enjoy any sort of outdoor activity.  

I experience significant joint pain especially in my hands as soon as the temperature begins to drop.  My joints lock up and stiffen and it can take hours for them to return to normal once I get out of the cold.  I even have issues with this when doing simple tasks like carrying a gallon of milk.

Last winter, I was weeks out from my kidney cancer surgery and my lupus was flaring.  I was sad because I wasn’t up to decorating for the holidays like I usually do with my family.  Christmas is one of my favorite and to me the most beautiful holiday and I was pretty bummed out that I couldn’t withstand the cold in my condition to participate in the outdoor decorating or events.  

volt heated gloves review
volt heated gloves review

I know I am not alone as a lupus warrior who has trouble with cold weather.  In fact, about ⅓ of people with lupus also suffer from a condition known as Raynaud’s Syndrome.  

According to John Hopkins, Raynaud’s phenomenon is a problem that causes decreased blood flow to the fingers, although it can affect other parts of the body as well.  It is well known that Raynaud’s symptoms can be exacerbated by cold temperatures.  

I have not personally been diagnosed with Raynaud’s but living in northern Ohio, it often feels like winter last half of the year LOL.   As soon as my hands and feet began to get cold I begin experiencing a deep aching pain and experience significant stiffness in my joints.  

It has really affected me so much in the last few years, that we have contemplated moving back down south to get some relief.  I knew that I was going to have to really think of ways to protect myself in the winter from the brutal elements of this coming Ohio winter.  

These are some tips that I plan to implement in order to help me deal with lupus in the winter months.  Remember, it’s extremely important to speak with your rheumatologist before adding any new plans or products to your treatment plan.   

  • Wear gloves or mittens
  • Wear a hat to help retain heat and prevent UV exposure
  • Use a scarf to help retain heat
  • Make sure that you are covering with a wind protected & waterproof product
  • Limit your exposure to cold weather
  • Try to plan outdoor activities in the warmest part of the day.  (Don’t forget your broad-spectrum sunscreen for lupus too, even in the winter!)

You can now probably understand why I was so excited to have an opportunity to review heated gloves recently.  I honestly feel like having a pair of heated gloves is a necessity of life that I didn’t even know I was missing as a lupus warrior.

If you have ever been curious about how well warming gloves can help keep you warm in the cold, read below to see my personal review of these unique and efficient heated gloves.

What are heated gloves?

I had never tried heated gloves until I came across a heated clothing company called Volt. Volt’s story was one that I could not only relate to but incredibly piqued my interest in heated products.  

volt heated gloves review

Their website states that the founder was searching for a comfortable and efficient warming slipper for his mother who suffered from chronic cold feet, even indoors.  While many heated products I had researched previously were focused mostly on those using them for working or sporting outdoors, Volt’s focus was on efficiency, comfort, and style.  

If you were to have asked me to name 3 things that would be a factor in choosing heated gloves, these would be them and they seriously checked off all my boxes with their unique heating technology. So, I was definitely excited when Volt sent me one of their heated products in an exchange for an honest review.  

Volt’s heated apparel contains their special patented Zero Layer® heat system that helps them eliminate bulk while providing more efficient heat transfer than any other heating system available.  

Their system uses special thin heating panels that are constructed of thin stainless steel fibers that are woven into the fiber and protected with special thermal bonding sealing tape to help provide long-lasting wearability.  You can read more about their amazing and scientifically tested technology here.

Volt Heated Glove Review

I had the honor of trying out Volt’s WOMEN’S 7V ALL PURPOSE HEATED GLOVES.  This specific style number is: GL-7V-LN if you want to browse on their website. I chose to get a size Large for these, as I experience unpredictable joint swelling and I wanted to allow comfortable room for my fingers and their swelling. 

volt heated gloves review

They have an array of heated gloves that you can choose from, but I liked the idea of testing out an all-purpose heated glove so that I can get an honest review on something I would be able to use daily.  So if you have plans to really get elbow deep in the snow, be sure to check out their really cool Avalanche X heated gloves!

These all-purpose Volt Resistance battery powered heated gloves are gloves that include 2 rechargeable lithium batteries and a dual charger.  They are also made with a waterproof and breathable material that ensures the ultimate in cold weather protection. 

They contain a built-in microprocessor controller that has four separate power level settings to keep you in control of how much heating you prefer with your gloves.  The best part? These gloves provide heat for over 8+ hours per charge! The temperature on the highest setting can reach up to 150 degrees!

When I first pulled these heated gloves out of their zipped bag, I couldn’t help but noticed the amazing quality of the gloves.  For an all-purpose glove, they were very thick and very well made.  

I honestly was surprised at how thick the gloves felt, yet they weren’t crazy bulky like other gloves I had tried in the past.  If you have ever tried unlocking your house door with super bulky gloves, you can probably understand why I find this a huge plus in my review LOL.

These specific gloves are dark gray in color on top and a black faux leather on the bottom.   They are honestly pretty stylish & modern looking for a heated glove.  You can see the quality in the stitching of these heated gloves and when you flip them over and see the quality of detail on the underside of the gloves.  

volt heated gloves review

The inside is lined and provides an extra layer of warmth and protection from the outside elements.  You can tell a lot of thought went into the design aspect of these heated gloves.

There is a zipper located on the top middle part of the glove and this is where you are able to connect the portable battery charger to the glove itself.  It may look like a tight fit, but the battery pack fits snugly inside of the zipper pouch and drops to the forearm area of the glove.  In this area, there is a clear window to help you change the heating settings and turn on the battery pack while wearing the gloves.  

This is especially important to me because it enables me to easily wear these from the car to outside or inside while maintaining the specific amount of heat that I need for whatever activity I am participating in….all with the light push of a button!

volt heated gloves review

The Volt All-Purpose Heated Gloves come with two separate battery packs and a dual wall charger so that you can charge both battery packs at once, but only take up one outlet plugin.  As a mom with techie obsessed kids, this is also a major win for me personally.  Hey, I need all the open outlets I can get LOL.

volt heated gloves review

The instructions that were attached were relatively easy to understand and simple to implement.  I was a little confused because the instructions said the LED lights will show green when fully charged, but mine stayed blue for hours (even though its hard to tell the color in this picture).  This didn’t seem to affect anything as they still worked perfectly, but just in case yours comes with blue lights as well, know you aren’t alone or that maybe I didn’t let them charge long enough lol.

After I charged my battery packs, I was excited to finally hooked them up and test these heated gloves out!  If you notice on the bottom right side of the battery pack, there is a little button you can push to help release your charger easily.  The chargers also have the word “TOP” stamped on the top of the charger, so if you are like me and struggle with figuring out which way a charger is supposed to go in, this is definitely helpful!

volt heated gloves review

It does seem to take a few minutes for the gloves to really fully heat up, but you can begin feeling the warmth almost immediately after plugging them into the battery pack.  

The warming elements seem to extend around the wrist area, the palm area, and along with each finger as well.  It never felt ‘too hot’ for me at any point, even when I had it set to the highest setting.  It honestly was an evenly distributed comforting warmth that was amazing.

It really protected my hands from the cold temperatures when I was helping my husband to hang this year’s Christmas decorations outside.  I was able to fully use my hands and extend my fingers without them being bulky from gloves or the cold.  These all-purpose gloves may be the best product I have reviewed so far.  Seriously.

volt heated gloves review

To be able to be outside in the cold and be able to help do things with my hands is life-changing as a lupus warrior living in Ohio.  People who are not affected by cold weather can never understand the pain and discomfort that we experience from cold temperatures.  It is so heartwarming to know that there are products available to actually make our lives more LIVABLE.  Volt’s heated gloves are one of those products.  

I highly recommend Volt’s all-purpose heated gloves if you are looking for an easy way to keep your hands protected from the cold.  These stylish and quality gloves provide not only heat but style and comfort as well.  These would also make a perfect gift as well for someone you love who suffers from the cold. 

You can check out Volt on Instagram and on their website to see more awesome heated clothing!

 




Bloq UV Hoodie Dress-UPF Clothing Review

I recently shared my Block UV unboxing video and review of their amazing sun-protective zip-top and UPF leggings.  If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, you can find it here.  As a lupus warrior, sun protection is extremely important and UPF clothing can help make that a lot easier.

Today, I wanted to share my experience in trying out their sun-protective hoodie dress!   For the particular one I tried out, the style number is 2009 and the color was lavender.

bloquv upf hooded dress review.png

I will first say that the color is a beautiful lavender that is very light in color.  It is almost a pastel lavender, so if you are someone who likes a little color this would definitely be a beautiful choice.  Of course, if you prefer a bolder color, they have around 14 different color choices to choose from!   There is seriously a color for everyone!

Living in Ohio, I deal with the wind a lot.  In the summer it can be nice but in the cooler months, not so much!  The one thing I absolutely adore about this BloqUV hoodie dress is the fact it has a hood and offers full chest coverage.  This helps protect me not only from the sun but the wind as well!

bloquv upf hooded dress review (1)

I suffer from trigeminal neuralgia as well, which can be triggered by even a slight breeze on my face.  Having a hood can help me shield some of that wind so that it doesn’t have a chance to trigger my trigeminal neuralgia while I am outdoors.  It is basically a win-win for me when you consider it’s UPF 50+ protection benefits too.

This BloqUV hoodie dress is extremely lightweight and cooling as well.  The material is made from BloqUV’s unique BlokTek formula which features a UPF 50+.  It was UV lab tested and blocks 98% UVA/UVB rays!  As someone who deals with photosensitivity, this is such an important piece to add to my lupus management plan.  In addition to using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing UPF clothing can add an extra layer of protection from the sun’s rays.

It’s hard to believe something so light and airy can provide such amazing sun protection, it’s almost magical!  This sun protective hoodie dress is also loose-fitting which is something I definitely prefer with my prednisone usage.  I need a little breathing room if you know what I’m saying LOL.  The stretch of the material is perfect, it is not constricting but moves with your body.  It also stays really cool when you are doing activities outside in the sun.

If you are a lover of all things with pockets, I am so excited to share that this BloqUV hoodie dress even has pockets!  As someone who deals with brain fog and misplaced things all the time, this is extremely beneficial for me.  It’s not every day you can find a dress that checks off so many personal needs when it comes to clothing.

bloquv upf hooded dress review (1)

Another cool thing, like a lot of BloqUV’s sun protection clothing, is the fact that it is so versatile.  This hoodie dress can be worn as a dress or a bathing suit cover-up.  Yet, it is also the perfect length to wear as a top as well.  You can also wear it like a tunic with their UPF leggings, which is what I chose to do for this review.  It is important for lupus warriors to protect themselves from the sun not only in the summer but in the winter as well.  This versatile piece from dress to tunic makes that transition easy and efficient.

bloquv upf hooded dress review (1)

Another unique detail in this sun-protective dress is the fact that it has thumb holes.  I think thumb holes look really cool but they also serve a large purpose for me personally.  They enable me to keep the sleeves down and my hands are able to be mostly covered as well.

bloquv upf hooded dress review (1)

I don’t know how many times I have been outside at an event, only to realize hours later that I had my sleeves pulled up for half of the day.  This causes me to get too much sun exposure and sometimes even to burn.  Having these thumb holes helps me not pull them up without realizing it and I have found it very beneficial when you are driving somewhere as well.

Overall, this is definitely one of my top picks for sun protective clothing.  It not only looks cute and is comfortable, but can help you stay protected from the sun.  If you suffer from photosensitivity due to lupus like me, make sure that you give BloqUV sun-protective clothing a try.  The quality of their clothing is amazing and I highly recommend this BloqUV hoodie dress along with their many other UPF clothing.

Use my special code for a 20% discount! 

Code: LUPUSLYFE20

 

 




Square Root Nutnola Review

After spending the last 6+ months on prednisone, I have become more serious about eating healthier.  The last year has been a whirlwind for me in the terms of my health. After dealing with lupus and a kidney cancer diagnosis in November of 2019, I have finally realized how extremely vital it is that I really get a hold on of the things that I am putting inside my body.  With that said, I struggle with this A LOT.

As a chronic illness warrior, it is really important that I find ways to ease my meal planning and meal prepping.  I don’t always have a ton of energy to spend planning a healthy meal for my family.  I knew that I needed to find ways to better manage my time and energy when it came to creating healthy meals and snacks for me and my family.

Meal prepping is one of the best things to do when you suffer from a chronic illness.  I try to find a slow day that I can dedicate to planning meals out for the week.  I usually choose to do this on Saturday since the kids do not have school going on and I do not have a lot of work going on.  If you can plan and prep the hardest parts of your meals on one day, the rest of the week can breeze on by.

Even if I am able to make healthy choices with my meals, I find myself slacking in the snack department LOL.  I constantly feel like I need to munch on something.  The only problem?  I usually reach for something crunchy like potato chips because they are quick and easy to consume.

Square Root Nutnola

So you can imagine how excited I was to be approached by Square Root about their Nutnola line of products.  The company was born when the founder, Ellie, was diagnosed with Celiac disease.  She wanted great tasting granola but found it was hard to find ones that fit her gluten-free / grain-free diet and Square Root was born.  To have someone create a snack that was not only delicious but good for you is like a dream come true to a chronic illness warrior.

Since its inception, Square Root has released a couple of tantalizing flavors in their Nutnola snack mixes and in their Nutnola butter.

Square Root’s Maple Cinnamon Nutnola Review

square root nutnola review

Square Root states the Maple Cinnamon flavored nutnola is what started it all.  This delicious mix contains delicate hints of maple and cinnamon.  I don’t know about you, but maple & cinnamon are one of my favorite flavor combinations.  There is just something that is so warm and inviting about maple and cinnamon.  This makes this specific flavor of nutnola a perfect topping for yogurt or oatmeal.

I personally love this flavor and found it an amazing topping for oatmeal drizzled with honey.   With the temperatures starting to cool down here in Ohio, I believe that having a bowl of warm oatmeal with this crunchy and sweet nutnola mix pairs extremely well on these cold mornings.

square root nutnola review

I also seem to find myself snacking on these right out of the bag LOL.  They seriously are a great and quick snack that can help you stave off hunger since they are packed with protein!  The best part of Square Root’s Maple Cinnamon Nutnola mix is the fact it is Certified Gluten Free, grain free, paleo, dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and non-gmo!  Yes, it may be hard to believe that something that tastes so delicious can meet all these special diet requirements, but I am here to tell you it’s true.

You also won’t find any artificial ingredients in this nutnola which helps to make it an easy choice when it comes to looking for granola alternatives.  You can see how hearty this mix is and with the protein, it is perfect to jumpstart your mornings!

square root nutnola review

You can find the ingredient list below:

INGREDIENTS: CASHEWS, PECANS, WALNUTS, MAPLE SYRUP, ALMONDS, SUNFLOWER SEEDS, SLICED ALMONDS, COCONUT OIL, COCONUT FLAKES, CINNAMON, SALT

Square Root’s Lemon Blueberry Nutnola Review

square root nutnola review

Square Root’s Lemon Blueberry nutnola is a refreshing and light mix of all things heavenly.  Out of the 3 flavors that I tried, this one was just so unique in its airy and citrusy flavors that it has won my heart.  I enjoyed it over a homemade yogurt parfait that was made with blueberries, grapes, and cranberries.  I can’t really explain the unique flavors of this delicate nutnola, but that it’s a sweet and fresh flavor addition to anything you add it to.

square root nutnola review

If you are looking for a refreshing way to spruce up your yogurt or even a salad, Square Root’s Lemon Blueberry nutnola would make a perfect choice.  This is also a great choice to snack on straight out of the bag and believe me, I have many times LOL.

This flavor of Square Root nutnola is also Certified Gluten Free, grain free, paleo, dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and non-gmo.

square root nutnola review

You can find the ingredient list below:

INGREDIENTS: CASHEWS, SLICED ALMONDS, DRIED BLUEBERRIES (CULTIVATED BLUEBERRIES, APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, SUNFLOWER OIL (<1%)), PECANS, ALMONDS, COCONUT OIL*, COCONUT, MAPLE SYRUP*, 100% PURE LEMON POWDER*, SALT, LEMON OIL. * = ORGANIC

Square Root’s Chocolate Cherry Chia Nutnola Review

square root nutnola review

The Chocolate Cherry Chia nutnola is ridiculously delicious.  I almost feel like there is no way this nutnola blend can be healthy for me LOL.  Square Root’s Chocolate Cherry Chia nutnola is made with dairy-free chocolate and dried cherries.  Does it get any better than that?!?

If you are craving a sweet snack that is actually good for you, this blend would be my top choice for you.  Again, this nutnola makes a great protein-packed choice when it comes to quick and easy snacking.  This would be a great choice as a yogurt topping as well, but I decided to top ice cream with it! And…WOW!

square root nutnola review

It is seriously amazing on ice cream, so much so that I forgot to take a picture before I ate it LOL.  While I am definitely trying to only eat ice cream in moderation, I do feel better knowing that I have the ability to pack a ton of protein into my sweet treat without sacrificing flavor.

Square Root’s Chocolate Cherry Chia nutnola is Certified Gluten Free, grain free, paleo, dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and non-gmo.

square root nutnola review

You can find the ingredient list below:

INGREDIENTS: ALMONDS, CASHEWS, DRIED CHERRIES (MONTMORENCY TART CHERRIES, APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, SUNFLOWER OIL (<1%)), CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL VANILLA EXTRACT), OLIVE OIL*, MAPLE SYRUP, CHIA SEEDS, SALT, PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. *=ORGANIC

Square Root’s Chocolate Chia Nutnola Butter Review

square root nutnola review

Okay, so let me first start and say that I am automatically down to try any sort of butter.  Usually, the ones I do try aren’t the healthiest of choices LOL.  So, you can imagine my curiosity when it came to Square Root’s nutnola butter.  Square Root’s chocolate chia nutnola butter is made from their Chocolate Cherry Chia nutnola!  How they can do this is beyond me, but it’s magical!
I tried Square Root’s Chocolate Chia Nutnola Butter on toast and it was delicious and amazing.  I am so pleased to have a quick and easy way to incorporate this healthy butter into my everyday life.  It takes a few seconds to transform a boring and ordinary piece of toast into a sweet and fulfilling snack that is good for you!  To be able to have dairy-free chocolate for breakfast is nothing short of amazing.
square root nutnola review
This butter has the ability to transform so many snacks that you may eat daily.  Toast is just one of the many ways that you can add protein into your diet each day.  This butter would be amazing with fresh fruit, in your smoothie or yogurt, and even on ice cream!
Square Root’s Chocolate Chia Nutnola Butter is gluten free, grain free, paleo-friendly, dairy free, vegan, and non-gmo.
You can find the ingredient list below:

INGREDIENTS: ALMONDS, CASHEWS, CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL VANILLA EXTRACT), OLIVE OIL*, MAPLE SYRUP, CHIA SEEDS, SALT, PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. *=ORGANIC

Square Root’s Maple Cinnamon Nutnola Butter Review

square root nutnola review

After trying all of Square Root’s Nutnola products above, it was hard to decide on which was my favorite.  They all are really tasty and convenient in terms of use, but I think that my favorite has to be their Maple Cinnamon Nutnola Butter.  I really do love the warm and comforting taste of maple and cinnamon and this butter satisfies those cravings but with a super smooth presentation.

I also tried this particular nutnola butter on toast and it has quickly become one of our household’s favorite snacks.  There is just something about cinnamon and maple that makes my heart sing, especially in the fall and winter.  If you are trying to decide between the two flavors, I would definitely choose the maple cinnamon butter because there are so many ways you can use this flavor combination each day.

square root nutnola review

Square Root’s Maple Cinnamon Nutnola Butter is gluten free, grain free, paleo, dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and non-gmo.

You can find the ingredient list below:

INGREDIENTS: CASHEWS, PECANS, WALNUTS, MAPLE SYRUP, ALMONDS, SUNFLOWER SEEDS, SLICED ALMONDS, COCONUT OIL, COCONUT FLAKES, CINNAMON, SALT

If you don’t follow Square Root on Instagram, you definitely should!  They have amazing recipe inspiration to help you realize the full potential of their nutnola products.  I can almost bet you will never look at granola the same once you give Square Root’s Nutnola a try.

 

 




BloqUV Sun Protective Clothing- Lupus Lyfe Review

If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably have noticed that I am a huge advocate for sun protective clothing.  One may even use the word OBSESSED to describe how much I love and advocate for sun protection clothing.  As a lupus warrior, it is extremely important for us to utilize any protection from the sun that we can.  I am honored to have had the chance to review BloqUV sun protective clothing recently.

I was really excited to review this specific brand because I had not tried any of their UPF clothes yet.  When I received my package, I could not wait to see what I would be reviewing. Lupus and sun protective clothing are extremely important topics to discuss when you suffer from photosensitivity.

You can check out my excitement in my BloqUV Unboxing video I created below!

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Britt @ Lupus Lyfe (@lupuslyfe)

What is UPF Sun Protective Clothing?

So…what exactly is UPF sun protective clothing? Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) indicates how much UV radiation (both UVB and UVA) a fabric allows to reach your skin.  A UPF 50 fabric blocks 98 percent of the sun’s rays and is extremely helpful in reducing exposure to UV rays from the sun and other artificial light sources.

From The Skin Care Foundation: A fabric must have a UPF of 30 to qualify for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. A UPF of 30 to 49 offers very good protection, while UPF 50+ rates as excellent.

Why is Sun Protection Important for Lupus?

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, up to 70% of lupus patients could find themselves sensitive to the UV rays from the sun and other artificial lighting.

Some lupus warriors, like myself, find themselves developing rashes and sores after being exposed to UV rays without any protection.  Sometimes, even using a broad spectrum sunscreen alone is not enough. That is why sun protective clothing can help offer a second layer of protection for people who experience photosensitivity.

Exposure to the sun can cause other symptoms to flare in a lupus patient.  These can include joint pain & fatigue after being exposed. Being a lupus patient, sun protection is extremely important, so providing an honest and detailed review of each BloqUV item played a major role in my review.

 

bloquv sun protective clothing review lupus lyfe

Other Reasons People with Lupus Should Wear UPF Clothing

While lupus itself can cause photosensitivity issues, some of the medications we may take can also play a role in an increased sensitivity to UV rays.  Hydroxychloriquine, which many lupus patients take, is well known to increase sun sensitivity in some of those who take it.  NSAIDs like Naproxen and Ibuprofen can also cause issues with the sun in some who take these medications.  While methotrexate is not a sun sensitizing drug, it can cause a certain type of sun reaction called radiation recall.  This reaction can cause old areas of sunburn to react again once taking methotrexate.

Another reason sun protection is extremely important in people with lupus is because studies have shown that people with lupus may be at an increased risk for cancers, including skin cancer like Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  Certain medications that are used to suppress the immune systems of those with lupus have also been shown to have a link with the risk of skin cancer.  For example, those who take Cellcept may also have a higher risk for skin cancer.

When you realize how many different ways the sun can affect lupus warriors, it really is simple to understand how important it is to start stocking your closet with clothing that can help protect you.

bloquv sun protective clothing review lupus lyfe (1)

What is BloqUV Sun Protective Clothing?

These days,  you can find a variety of UPF styles and designs and BloqUV is no different.  BloqUV is a sun protective clothing company located in Miami, Florida.  They are leaders in UPF clothing and are advocates for sun protection.

Living in Florida, it’s easy to see how the founder of BloqUV, Corina Biton, realized the dire need for sun protective clothing. After a dermatologist scare, Corina created BloqUV with BloqTek, a proprietary fabric with minimum Ultraviolet Protection Factor 50 that blocks 98% UVA/UVB rays.

The protection is chemical-free, inherent to the fabric and unaffected by laundering.  Unlike sun protection from a broad spectrum sunscreen, you never have to reapply Bloq UV sun protective clothing!

BloqUV Full Zip Top Review: Style 3010

bloquv sun protective clothing review lupus lyfe (1)

The first article of clothing I tried on was the BloqUV full zip-top in purple.  First, I want to mention how beautiful and gorgeous this color of purple is.  It’s a rich hue and is very vibrant in person. It is the perfect addition to my lupus awareness wardrobe.  This specific zip top is style number 3010 on their website.

When it comes to the UPF protection of the full zip-top, it has an amazing UPF 50+.  This means it offers 98% protection from the sun.  Paired with a high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen, I felt a lot more comfortable being out in the bright sun.

bloquv review

When I first pulled this UPF zip-top out of the package, I was quickly amazed at the coolness of the material.  If you have tried any UPF tops in the past, you may have noticed some of them are a little hard to keep cool in while out in the sun.  This full-zip top stayed just as cool when I wore it.  I even did some walking and light stretching at the park and never felt overheated.  If you take prednisone as I do, you will really appreciate this cooling factor!

Another neat detail is that the zipper has a rubber covering, so you never have to worry about a metal zipper getting hot in the sun.

bloquv review
No bare metal zipper to get hot in the sun!

Something else that really made a difference for me in this UPF shirt compared to others I have tried is that the cut is a lot longer than most.  If you are like me and wear a cami under everything, this may be a great option.  I was still comfortable enough to wear a cami under it, but I honestly feel like it was long enough without one.  The cool thing about this particular style is that it is a full zip-top and you can choose to wear it open with a cami or light tee underneath.

I also love, love, love [did I say love????] the fact that it has thumb holes to help keep the sleeves covering your hands!  This was something that I did not notice in my original unboxing, but was extremely happy to see when I put it on!  You may not realize how much sun exposure your hands can get, especially when driving in the car!  Not to mention, they just look cool LOL.

upf clothing lupus

I also appreciate the stretchiness of the material.  Again, as someone who takes steroids often, my weight can increase or decrease by about 10lbs often.  I prefer wearing materials that allow for that weight loss and weight gain that I know so many others are also dealing with.  I feel like this shirt was the perfect choice for that issue.

I am wearing an XL in the zip-top for size references.  If you are unsure of sizing after checking out their website, I would consider ordering a size up just to be safe.

With that said, the shirt didn’t lose its shape at all and the quality of the material is very nice.  It is a smooth and lightweight material that seems magical considering its strength in sun protection.

Overall, I am completely ecstatic to have tried BloqUV’s full zip-top.  I really will emphasize the points of staying cool, the longer cut of the shirt, and the thumb holes.  If you are looking to make your first (or 10th!) purchase of a UPF sun protective shirt, I highly recommend this particular one from BloqUV.

 

BloqUV Leggings Review: Style 6007

bloquv sun protective clothing review lupus lyfe

I was fortunate enough to be able to review not only BloqUV’s full zip-top, but also their UPF leggings!  Yes, you heard me right!  I am an AVID legging wearer and can honestly say that most of my wardrobe consists of leggings.  Having lupus, it is extremely important for me to consider comfort when reviewing clothes.  The ultimate comfort to me has been leggings for many years.

If you are obsessed with leggings like me, you should definitely consider trying out BloqUV’s UPF leggings.  These leggings are seriously amazing.  Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but they also provide stretch with some compression as well.  They are a higher rise legging (I am about 5’3 for reference and these are a Large) and I never had to worry about them slipping down.  I felt as though everything was contained LOL.

bloquv sun protective clothing review lupus lyfe

They are a lot thicker than what most leggings I own are, but they were not hot or bulky by any means.  The quality is exceptional for leggings and I believe they would make a great choice for any outdoor activity you can dream of….or just hanging out at home too.

It’s almost hard to believe that something so chic and comfortable could provide sun protection, but these leggings offer UPF 50+ as well.  I really feel like BloqUV outdid themselves with the leggings because they are also really nice quality.

bloquv review

One of my favorite surprises was the fact they had pockets!  Yes, they have pockets on the side leg area and a small pocket in the waistband.  I am a lover of all things with pockets so I do not lose things like my keys LOL [hello brain fog].

bloquv sun protective clothing review lupus lyfe

There is nothing like knowing you are protected and comfortable from top to bottom as a lupus warrior.  After having the chance to review the full zip-top and the leggings from BloqUV, I can honestly highly recommend them as your choice for lupus sun protection.

If you have been waiting to give sun-protective clothing a try, now is the perfect time to test them out for yourself!  I am pleased to have partnered with BloqUV to offer a special discount code to my readers.

Use code: LupusLyfe20 to receive a 20% discount off of your order with BloqUV!

 

 




BloqUV Sun Protective Clothing Unboxing

🦋Hey warriors! If you have been following my blog, you know how serious I take sun protection these days. You also probably know that I love doing reviews lol. 🦋

💜I received a special package from @bloquv and I am so excited to share my unboxing video with you all!💜

☀️I will be reviewing these products soon and sharing my review on my blog & on my social media accounts so make sure to stay tuned☀️

📍Bloq UV is also offering 20% off to my followers if you use my code: LupusLyfe20 📍

🌈 Check out their UPF products here: 🌈 www.bloquv.com

 




Gifts for Lupus Patients

If you or a person you love suffers from a chronic illness like lupus or fibromyalgia, you know that there are days when getting out of bed is nearly impossible.  There are mornings when your joints may ache, your muscles may be sore, or you simply need to rest.  During the holidays, many people are thinking about the gifts they are going to buy and the gifts they would like to receive.  This year, instead of Aunt Suzie buying you another Christmas sweater because you told her it didn’t matter what she got you, maybe help her out with some guidance.  We have compiled a list of 10 gifts for lupus patients that will help them throughout the year.  Seasonal gifts are nice, but why not get your lupus warrior something that can help them year round?

 

 

Best Gifts for Lupus

 

1. Insulated Gloves

Around 1/3 of patients with lupus also suffer from Raynauds Syndrome.  Raynaud’s Syndrome can cause your extremities, such as your fingers and toes, to feel numb and change colors during cold temperatures or even stress.  This is caused due to arteries that supply blood your skin to narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas.  This condition usually affects women more than men.  After experiencing cooler temperatures, it can take an average of 15 minutes of warming up before the skin returns to normal color.  Buying a quality pair of insulated gloves for your lupus friend can really help ease the chance of Raynaud’s flaring up.  It is important to look for insulated gloves that can protect the hands from extremely cold temperatures.  This makes a great gift for lupus patients!

2. Volt Heated Gloves

volt heated gloves review

Volt’s heated gloves contain their special patented Zero Layer® heat system that helps them eliminate bulk while providing more efficient heat transfer than any other heating system available.

Their system uses special thin heating panels that are constructed of thin stainless steel fibers that are woven into the fiber and protected with special thermal bonding sealing tape to help provide long-lasting wearability.  You can read more about their amazing and scientifically tested technology here.  You can also check out my in-depth review of these heated gloves here.

 

3. Heated Slippers

Heated slippers can also help with raynaud’s syndrome in lupus patients, but they also provide warm comfort during flares.  Many lupus patients experience chills during lupus flares and by having a pair of heated slippers, you can help them stay warm and comfortable during their flares.  These slippers have heating temperature up to 140°F/ 60°C, depends on ambient temperature, and accumulated heating time. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to feel warm, longer heating accumulate more warmness. The heater will automatically turn off after 2 hours for user’s safety.  Heated slippers for lupus patients are a very welcomed gift.

 

 

4. Bulk Sunscreen

Up to 2/3 of lupus patients experience sensitivity to the sun and even artificial lighting.  The sun is also considered to being a major trigger for lupus flares.  It is vital that all lupus patients wear sunscreen daily and year round to reduce flares and the even the chance of developing skin cancer as well.  It is important for lupus patients to have a broad spectrum sunscreen that has a high SPF.  Buying a large bottle of sunscreen can help your lupus loved one to never be without proper sunscreen again.  This is a gift most people would not even think about giving, but it is definitely one that shows you have put in thought and done your research about lupus. Supergoop! was started in 2007 with a mission to change the way the world thinks about sunscreen so that everyone will use it daily.  This is one of the most important gift for lupus patients.

 

5. Emu Oil

6. T.E.N.S Unit

TENS Units have long been used for muscle, joint, and even nerve pain.  Something that once could only be found in a doctors office is now available for home use.  Tens machines have been known to help block pain receptors in the central nervous system to manage pain and strengthen muscles via involuntary muscle contractions.  Pre-programmed pain relief modes deliver massage-like sensation to you. Customize your own pain relief mode & intensity to relax different pain areas at the same time! Match your needs however you want.  If you are looking for a lupus gift, a tens unit would be a great choice.

7. Universal Heating Pad

Studies have shown applying heat and warmth to sore muscles, ache and pains helps reduce and alleviate the discomfort. Heating products have been proven to reduce stress, calms nerves and encourages relaxation.  While many people may already own a standard heating pad, does your lupus loved one own that can work for their cold feet as well?  Serta Ultra Plush Triple Rib Electric Foot Warmer, a warmer that refreshes both you and your environment at an economical price. For anyone that suffers from cold feet you know how miserable that can be. Whether it’s from poor circulation, arthritis, cold floors, or simply just wanting more comfort the Serta Electric Foot Warmer can provide a level of soothing relief unmatched by any other product on the market.  While this is definitely suitable for warming cold feet, Serta also says it will work perfectly for waist, back, and abdomen areas as well.

8. Lupus Vitamins

Not only do most lupus patients have to worry about the financial costs of various doctor visits and prescription costs, they also worry about the cost of vitamins and supplements they may take to help manage lupus symptoms.  The gift of vitamins is one that any financially conscious lupus patient would appreciate.  By alleviating one less burden for them to worry about, by helping them out with their vitamin needs, you can really be a shining star to a lupus patient.  Lupavita was created for lupus patients and targets key deficiencies found in many lupus patients.  The vitamins were designed to help with common deficiencies in Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Magnesium.

9. Fresh Food Delivery Subscription

There are days when lupus patients may have difficulties getting out of the house to go and shop for fresh and nutritious foods.  If you have a loved one who is struggling with lupus, a gift of a fresh food delivery subscription can help their lives become somewhat more manageable.  Instead of using the little energy they may have for physically shopping, a food delivery service makes it easy to order their groceries online.  This can also help for lupus patients who may be overcoming an infection or trying to prevent an infection by preventing them from having to go out in public places.   Lucy for us, AmazonFresh is offering us a FREE trial on their service.  Be sure to use the link below to get your free trial.

 

10. Lupus Reference Book

The Lupus Encyclopedia is an authoritative compendium that provides detailed explanations of every body system potentially affected by the disease, along with practical advice about coping. People with lupus, their loved ones, caregivers, and medical professionals―all will find here an invaluable resource.

 

11. Lupus Friendly Makeup

When a lupus flare lasts for a while, some lupus patients feel their self confidence and self care slowly leaving.  By gifting lupus friendly makeup, you can help your lupus loved one feel a little like they did before they were sick.  Maybe plan a day for a mini make up session when they are not feeling well.  It is amazing what a little make up can do for someone’s self image when they are feeling down and not able to physically use their old makeup products anymore.  Many people are unaware that the brand Physician’s Formula was actually originally created for lupus skincare.  In 1937, allergist Dr. Frank Crandall created Physicians Formula as a tribute to the love he had for his wife Edith who suffered from lupus and longed for makeup that wouldn’t aggravate her sensitive lupus skin.

12. Lupus Sun Protective Clothing

UMORFIL
Ibkul UMORFIL LONG SLEEVE BOMBER MOCK NECK

One of the best gifts for people with lupus is a piece of UPF sun protective clothing.  Lupus warriors have to take extra precautions every single day in order to reduce their sun exposure.  There are many quality UPF clothing brands on the market right now and you may find yourself surprised at everything they have to offer; whether you are looking for sun protective bathing suits, shirts, dresses, leggings, etc. You can check out our favorite lupus sun protective clothing options here.  UPF clothing is a great lupus gift!

You can also check out my personal review of Ibkul UPF shirts here.

13. Lupus Face Masks

lupus face mask
lupus face mask

If you are looking for a lupus gift that will get used, try choosing a cool lupus face mask as a present.  2020 has proven to many of us that face masks are here to stay for lupus warriors.  There are many awesome face masks for lupus awareness, making this an easy choice for a lupus gift!

When it comes to shopping for that special loved one that is struggling with a lupus diagnosis, there are many gifts that show that you care and have researched their disease.  Any of the products listed above will be sure to let your lupus family member or friend feel appreciated and loved, especially during their toughest moments.  Don’t struggle with finding the perfect gift for lupus patients!

14. Lupus Shirts

Lupus- Lupus Awareness Shirt - Purple Ribbon T-Shirt-Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tee

Lupus Shirt: Lupus Lyfe "We Fight Together" Unisex T-Shirt

15. Lupus Awareness Blankets

Lupus- Lupus Awareness - Purple Ribbon Sherpa Fleece Blanket

16. Lupus Journal- Spiral Notebook – Ruled Line 

Lupus Journal- Spiral Notebook - Ruled Line - Lupus Medical Book

You may also consider these for lupus gifts:

 


You may also be interested in:

lupus tips for winter
lupus tips for winter




How to Live With a Chronic Illness in 5 Easy Steps

Guest Post: Jessie Ace is a podcast host, writer, public speaker, and illustrator. She’s the founder of the chronic illness podcast ‘DISabled to ENabled’ where she interviews everyone from celebrities to patient advocates and charities, founder of the empowering ENabled Warrior tribe, and her blog jessieace.com where she shares tips and advice for living your best life with chronic illness. She’s worked with the National MS Society, MS Trust, MS Society, shift.ms, and MS-UK and been featured on CNN, Huffington Post, Yahoo, and The Mighty among others.

My diagnosis came as a shock. Within three days, I went from being perfectly healthy to having a lifelong degenerative health condition. I fell apart, especially when I was told to ‘go home and Google it’ to find out what it was for myself. Seven years in I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of painful trial and error. I’ve finally learned the secrets that I feel it’s my duty–from one person with chronic illness to another, to pass on. 

Here are the five things I’ve learned that keep me living a meaningful life with a chronic illness that I hope will also help you too. 

How to Live With a Chronic Illness in 5 Easy Steps

Positive Statements

You may or may not have heard or used positive statements or “affirmations” before. I’d never heard of them until someone suggested them to me. But using these statements every day is how I managed to go from being shy, unconfident and overwhelmed with symptoms to someone who can stand up for herself in medical appointments and feel confident every day. Positive statements train you to create positive language patterns in your mind. The things we tell ourselves affects everything we do-without us even realizing! 

When we have chronic illnesses, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we can’t do, right? 

How many times do you wake up thinking to yourself, “I am so exhausted today”, “I am in so much pain today.” 

Let me ask you this, do you think these statements make you feel more or less tired/in pain? More, right?

What would happen if we became aware of those thoughts and we flipped them to, ‘I AM energetic today’, ‘I AM strong’, “I AM able to handle anything!”. Even if we are not feeling these things; Do you think that would help make you feel better or worse? That’s right, better!

Here are some examples:

  • I AM CONFIDENT
  • I AM ABLE TO HANDLE ANYTHING
  • I AM ENERGETIC
  • I AM FULL OF LIMITLESS POTENTIAL
  • I AM FEELING GREAT TODAY

 

It won’t happen overnight but keep repeating these every day over a few weeks, and you’ll start seeing a huge difference.

Keep Track of Your Diet

Foods are chemicals.

I’m not just talking about the heavily processed foods. All foods are made of different chemical compounds. Glucose, Sucrose, Fatty Acids, Omega-3’s are all examples of these chemical compounds, and these all have a different effect on the body.

Because of that, they can alter your symptoms.

Noting down what you’re eating means you can correlate that with your symptoms and you can find which foods are triggering your symptoms and leading to flares.

Getting in control of your body starts with what you put into your body.

Make sure also to note down any snacks and drinks as well as your main meals, so you have a clear idea of what is affecting your symptoms. 

 

Keep Accurate Records

How many times have you been in a medical appointment and your doctor asks you things like, “How long have you been on this medication now?”, “When did this symptom start?”, “How long did you feel that symptom for?” They use these questions to try to figure out why you’re feeling this symptom, whether it is a new relapse or maybe a recent symptom appearing. For most of us, we rely on remembering these things, which quite often leads to errors. 

The problem with errors is that it may give the doctor a false prognosis and send you for tests that you may not need. These tests cost a great deal of time and money (not to mention, stress.). 

I got so frustrated and fed up with having to remember these things that I made a book where you can track symptoms in less than five minutes per day. Alternatively, you could find a symptom tracking app. If you use an app, make sure it is secure and your data protected. 

Practice Gratefulness

It’s so easy to feel depressed when we have a chronic illness. We are continually battling symptoms, spend far more time in a hospital than we’d like, and get frustrated when we can’t live life on our terms. 

A great way to take control of that is by practicing gratefulness. However depressed you feel, or however hard things seem, there is always something to make you feel good. 

It could be hot cocoa, wearing your favorite sweater, or having a hug from your dog. Make a note of all the good things that happen around you. It helps to rewire your brain and make you feel happier. Happiness lessens stress which can improve symptoms. Join our ‘WINsday’ posts every Wednesday and celebrate your wins with us on Instagram.

Feel Accomplished

Something that I find challenging is fatigue. Do you get fatigued too? I’m one of those people who always has to feel productive, and I get so frustrated when my energy runs out halfway through the day, and I don’t tick off most of my ‘to-do’ list.

The best hack I have on that for you is to write down everything you need to do in the evening on some paper. Then choose your top three most important things on that list (it could be, to put the washing in, respond to a message, finish episode three of a new series, etc.) and do those things first in your day. 

Living with a chronic illness isn’t fun, it’s just something we have to do. Hopefully, these make it slightly more manageable. Give these tips a try and make sure to connect with me and tell me how you get on. 

 

author bio jessie ace

Jessie Ace
www.jessieace.com
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Is it Fibromyalgia or Lupus?

Fibromyalgia and lupus are both chronic and painful diseases that mainly affect women.  Many people question whether they have lupus or fibromyalgia.  Some patients find after years of searching for answers, they are diagnosed with both fibromyalgia and lupus.  

It is important to understand the differences between these two illnesses due to variation in treatments and prevention of inflammatory damages that could be caused from lupus.

What is Fibromyalgia?

According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia is a common neurologic health problem that causes widespread pain and tenderness.  Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease or one that arises from an inflammatory process like lupus. 

Fibromyalgia is believed to cause chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain throughout the body because of issues within the pain processing systems of the brain.  There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia.  While fibromyalgia is a painful and lifelong illness, it is not deadly.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms:

fibromyalgia symptoms or lupus
fibromyalgia symptoms

People with fibromyalgia commonly present with some or many of the following symptoms:

  • Widespread muscle pain
  • Tender Points on the body
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Sensitivity
  • Brain Fog
  • Trouble Sleeping

What is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells and tissue and it can cause damage to many parts of the body.  This systemic inflammation can cause minor to severe damage to a person’s vital organs.  

Lupus often affects the skin and joints in many patients and can progress to damaging kidneys, tissues in the heart and lungs, and even the brain.  Damage to vital organs can lead to death in some lupus patients.

Lupus Symptoms:

fibromyalgia symptoms or lupus symptoms
lupus symptoms

Many people with lupus present with some or many of the following symptoms:

  • Joint Pain
  • Skin Rashes
  • Sun Sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Brain Fog
  • Hair Loss
  • Blood and/or Protein in the urine
  • Mouth/Nasal Sores
  • Muscle Pain
  • Positive ANA and/or Anti-DSdna

Similarities in Lupus and Fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia and lupus have both been proven to be more prevalent among women.  The American Chronic Pain Association states that approximately 90% of people suffering from fibromyalgia are women.  The same can be shown for those affected by lupus.  The Lupus Foundation of America provides data showing that 9 out of 10 patients diagnosed with lupus are women.

Both lupus and fibromyalgia are considered “invisible illnesses”.  This is due to the fact that many of their symptoms can not be physically seen by others, including doctors. This makes diagnosis difficult in both lupus and fibromyalgia.  

This has led to an average 6 year wait for an official lupus diagnosis and according to the American Chronic Pain Association, it can take around 5 years for a proper fibromyalgia diagnosis.

Both of these illnesses can cause significant pain in patients. Both fibromyalgia and lupus can present in flares.  This means they can flare up and then patients can experience moments of remission where the diseases are not active.

While they share overwhelming similarities in patient demographics and long term waits for diagnosis, there are many clinical aspects of similarities among symptoms between the two as well.  In fact, the similarities in symptoms can often cause patients to be misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed.  

There are symptoms that are common among those with both lupus and fibromyalgia, these include:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain Fog
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headaches
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Morning Joint and Muscle Stiffness
  • Positive ANA

The Dangers of Misdiagnosing Lupus as Fibromyalgia

Due to the possibility of inflammatory damage to organs and tissues, it is vital for lupus patients to receive a correct diagnosis quickly.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for most patients who are diagnosed with lupus.  

In fact, Lupus UK conducted a survey and discovered that many patients spent over 7 years waiting for a correct lupus diagnosis.  Many people may find themselves being diagnosed with only fibromyalgia during this time.

This is incredibly frustrating and dangerous for lupus patients because the treatment of lupus and the treatment for fibromyalgia varies greatly.  When one thinks about the timeframe of 7 years for a correct diagnosis, it is important to remember that the patient was essentially untreated for those years and was subject to potentially dangerous consequences from uncontrolled organ and tissue damage.

This is precisely why it is extremely dangerous for lupus patients to be misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.  This poses an issue for many doctors as well.  Paying attention to symptoms, ruling out other diseases, along with constant monitoring of blood work for their rheumatic patients should be of utmost importance.  

Diagnosing Lupus:

Lupus is diagnosed through a set of 11 criteria that was established by The American College of Rheumatology. Unfortunately, there is not one single test that can diagnose lupus and that makes a correct diagnosis challenging for doctors.  

The ACR requires at least 4 of the 11 criteria to be present in a patient before a lupus diagnosis can be made.  The ACR criteria has proven to be around 90% effective and new criteria are currently being updated.  

The current ACR criteria include:

  • Presence of a malar rash 
  • Presence of a Discoid rash
  • Photosensitivity 
  • Oral or Nasal Ulcers
  • Nonerosive arthritis of multiple joints 
  • Serositis
  • Kidney disorder
  • Neurological disorders 
  • Blood disorders 
  • Immunologic disorder (anti-DNA, anti-Sm or positive antiphospholipid antibodies)
  • Positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) test

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia:

Much like lupus, diagnosing fibromyalgia can be challenging.   Currently, there are no lab tests that can be used in diagnosing fibromyalgia.  Doctors will perform physical exams and go over patient history when considering a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  

Widespread pain is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia and the presentation of this pain can help doctors look into mimic diseases and rule those out.  One of the criteria for receiving a proper diagnosis for fibromyalgia is that the rheumatologist should be able to rule out any diseases that may explain the patient’s widespread pain and other symptoms they may be having.  

Many patients have received an early diagnosis of fibromyalgia, only later to have that diagnosis changed to a lupus diagnosis.  If doctors follow the ACR guidelines, it would appear that a mimic illness like lupus should be completely ruled out PRIOR to the patient receiving a fibromyalgia diagnosis.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case for many people.

fibromyalga or lupus
Fibromyalgia Trigger Points

The ACR has established the criteria below as a basis for a fibromyalgia diagnosis:

  • Pain and symptoms over the past week, based on the total of number of painful areas out of 19 parts of the body plus level of severity of these symptoms:

                     -Fatigue

                     -Waking unrefreshed

                     -Cognitive problems (memory or thought process)

  • Symptoms lasting at least three months at a similar level
  • No other health problem that would explain the pain and other symptoms

Being diagnosed with both lupus and fibromyalgia

Studies conducted estimate that around 25% of lupus patients also have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  It is very possible to be diagnosed with both lupus and fibromyalgia.  Having both of these illnesses can make it difficult for patients to understand whether its lupus or fibromyalgia flaring.  

Having a good rheumatologist can help patients understand the differences in symptoms the two and lab work can help doctors distinguish which illness may be causing particular symptoms.  Having both fibromyalgia and lupus can be very difficult.  The physical pain and domino flare effect can make life unpredictable for patients with both fibro and lupus.

Treatment for Lupus:

Treatment for lupus will vary greatly depending on a patients symptoms and conversations with their rheumatologist.  In 1948, Aspirin was the only drug approved for the treatment of lupus. In 1955, the FDA approved the use of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) an antimalarial drug and corticosteroids for the treatment of lupus.   The only other drug to be approved for the treatment of lupus since is BenlystaAccording to the Lupus Foundation of America, BENLYSTA is a biologic medication that was approved for the treatment of lupus by the FDA on March 9, 2011.

While those are the only treatments that have been approved specifically for lupus, there are a few other treatments that are available to help manage lupus symptoms in some patients.

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Immunosuppressants like Imuran, Azasan, CellCept, and Trexall (methotrexate)
  • Antibody Therapy with Rituxan
  • Antimalarials like chloroquine (Aralen) and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) 
  • Biologics: Benlysta

Treatment for Fibromyalgia:

The treatment for fibromyalgia differs greatly from the medications used for treating lupus.  The first drug ever approved to treat fibromyalgia was Lyrica.  Another anti-seizure medication, Gabapentin (Neurontin) may also be helpful in patients managing their fibromyalgia pain.  Other medications may be used in people with fibromyalgia, depending on their specific needs.

These treatments for fibromyalgia can include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Antidepressants like Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella)
  • Anti-seizure Medications like pregabalin (Lyrica) and Gabapentin (Neurontin)