May is Lupus Awareness Month, and an important time to reflect on how your lupus is being managed. Life can be hectic, and can often make balancing lupus even harder. Here are some red flags that may indicate it is time to better manage your condition:
1. Several Missed Appointments
With lupus, you may need to see your rheumatologist every 1-3 months as well as other specialty appointments. If you have missed your last few appointments, it may be time to reconnect with your rheumatologist regarding your condition.
2. Frequent Emergency Room & Urgent Care Visits
If you find yourself going to urgent care/emergency room to manage lupus flares, you and your rheumatologist may need to reevaluate your treatment plan.
3. Medications Running Low or Stopping Medications without Physician Consultation
If you are frequently missing medication doses because you ran out or have stopped parts of your treatment plan without consulting your doctor, it is important to look at new ways to track your medications and discuss your medication concerns with your healthcare provider.
4. Ignoring New Signs and Symptoms
Fatigue and pain are common symptoms in lupus patients. However, if you find yourself constantly pushing through overwhelming fatigue or pain to get through your day, it may mean your body may be going through a flare and can signal an important time to have a conversation with your doctor.
5. Major changes in mood or increased feelings of isolation
If you begin to notice that you are constantly isolating yourself and there are changes in your mood, it may be a good time to speak to your healthcare team to seek out resources and supports.
Learning new strategies or reapplying old ones can better help us when we are trying to balance life with lupus. For additional tips for living a healthier life with lupus, please visit: https://www.hss.edu/playbook/top-tips-managing-life-lupus/.
For more lupus support and education over the phone or in person, please contact 212-606-1952 or visit our lupus support and education programs at https://www.hss.edu/lupus-programs.asp.
Priscilla Toral, LCSW, is the Program Manager for LupusLine® and Charla de Lupus (Lupus Chat) ® programs, national peer based support and education programs for people with lupus and their loved ones. She is responsible for the planning and operational oversight for program initiatives, training and supervision of program staff and volunteers, psychosocial assessment and social work intervention with patients and their families.