An informed arthritis patient is always an intelligent arthritis patient. Conquer rather than cope with your arthritis.

Lupus Fatigue

What is Lupus fatigue?
Severe fatigue is a common phenomenon most of the lupus patients experience. Lupus fatigue is not the routine ‘tired feeling’ one experiences after a day at work. It is severe exhaustion, something similar to being down with flu.

The fatigue has a physical & a mental component. Think of physical fatigue as ‘I am just too tired to finish this task’ or ‘I’m just too tired even to stand & work’. Think of physical fatigue as ‘I’ m just not able to concentrate’ or ‘I keep reading without understanding a word of what’s written’. It can also be a combination of the two & you wake up in the morning still feeling tired & unable to concentrate.

Fatigue is a known medical entity & is definitely not ‘being lazy’. Since it is not visible like a rash or swelling; it is difficult for others to understand.
How to take care of fatigue:
  1. First of all, acknowledge (for yourself) that fatigue exists & is a part of Lupus. Understand that it is unpredictable & tends to fluctuate. This is the first step in handling fatigue effectively.
  2. Understand & accept the fact that fatigue may not be understood by others. Unlike a swollen joint, fatigue is not visible & hence not easily understood by others. Fatigue may be considered as 'being lazy' or 'all in the head'. Accept this fact so as to avoid the psychological impact of other's comments. You may mail a link to this page to your near and dear ones so that they understand fatigue.
  3. Adequate sleep—8 hours sleep at night is a must to recharge your body. An additional nap in the afternoon would do a lot good to your fatigue & keep you fresh in the afternoon. For any important work the next day, always plan an additional hour of sleep the previous night.
  4. Don’t fight fatigue- Fighting fatigue generally does not work & can be a frustrating experience. Whenever it hits, give in, take a nap & be ready for your work.
  5. Daily exercise- not only keeps you fit, but also boosts your energy levels. Keep a daily exercise schedule & stick to it. Given the fatigue, you may not feel like going ahead with the exercises, but remember that it is going to boost your energy level & keep you up through the day.
  6. The crux of tackling fatigue is knowing ‘what is enough’ for your body. Listen to your body & when you know it is enough, take rest. More active the disease, less active you would be. Let this be an inbuilt program in your system & life can be much better. On a day today basis, you can decide when to start & where to stop, take rest & restart. I’m sure this is a challenging task, especially for someone who is working but mind you, this is the best way to make the most of your resources. If not, fatigue will drive you to frustration. Don’t overdo when the flare is over. It is quite natural to compensate for lost time when you are doing well but overdoing can lead you to a flare.
  7. Speak to your Rheumatologist specifically about the fatigue. There are medicines that can help reduce the fatigue. However, your Rheumatologist will not know about the severity of your fatigue unless you speak to him specifically about it. Fatigue, at times, can induce depression. Your Rheumatologist can assess the same & help you.

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Also Read:
Lupus fatigue chart to help you
How to plan a house cleaning job with lupus fatigue.
How to care for your near and dear one with lupus fatigue?
Take charge of your lupus.
How to take care of yourself in the sun

Created on: April 2007
Last updated on: Feb 2015
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