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One of the most important aspects of lupus is the individual's ability to help control their disease. Sun exposure, excessive fatigue, uncontrolled stress, poor diet and bad lifestyle habits are factors which may trigger a flare and should be avoided. A good working relationship with your physician and the willingness to take medications as prescribed are imperative. The strong support of family and friends positively affect your health. Membership in lupus organizations will allow you to give voice to your concerns and to share your ideas and daily strategies with others.

Lupus flares often follow the same pattern with the same combinations of symptoms reappearing. With your doctor's help, you may be able to identify the early warning signs of a flare and then alert the physician. While false alarms are frequent, this early identification can be important as most flares are easier to treat when they first appear rather than after they have gained momentum.

The individual's education should also include knowledge of the other possible signs of lupus. Throughout the person's history, new symptoms may develop and those who know the warning signs will be able to bring the presence of these new symptoms to their physician's attention.

Living with SLE is a challenge. People who have lupus can learn how to meet this challenge and live a full and meaningful life. It helps to know that, with close medical supervision, most people can live a relatively normal life; remissions or quiet intervals may occur; and that lupus organizations do exist to provide information and coping skills.


What about the future?

The scientific investigation into determining the cause and locating a cure for SLE is proceeding quickly because of the commitment of physicians and researchers located at medical centres around the world, including Canada. This research has led to the improvement of tests designed for diagnosing lupus and the greater ability to predict when lupus flares will occur. Physicians have developed more expertise in evaluating the symptoms and signs of SLE. With earlier detection and a definitive diagnosis, treatment can be started sooner.

In various treatment centres, information from patient records is being collected and stored in computer programmes. Analysis of this large body of information is providing the tools to make treatment choices for individual symptoms. Utilizing the advanced technology available today, laboratory research is making great progress in the development of effective medications and the continued search for a cure.

Greater physician awareness, better diagnostic techniques, improved treatment regimes and the promise of effective medications and an eventual cure bring hope to all whose lives are affected by lupus.

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Page last updated: October 07, 2010