With warmer weather FINALLY coming around and that beautiful sun showing itself more, I think its important to touch on the dangers of lupus and sun damage. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various organs and tissues in the body. One of the most common symptoms of lupus is sensitivity to sunlight or photosensitivity. Exposure to sunlight can cause skin rashes, joint pain, and even organ damage in people with lupus. In this blog post, we will discuss how sun damage can affect people with lupus and what they can do to protect themselves.
What is lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks healthy tissues and organs in the body. This can cause inflammation and damage to various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Lupus affects women more than men, and it typically develops between the ages of 15 and 44. While the exact cause of lupus is unknown, genetics and environmental factors are believed to play a role.
Sun damage and lupus
Sunlight can trigger lupus symptoms in some people, particularly those with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus. Sunlight can cause skin rashes, joint pain, and even trigger a lupus flare-up. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can also cause organ damage in people with lupus. UV rays can increase inflammation in the body, leading to organ damage and increased disease activity.
Protecting yourself from sun damage
If you have lupus, it is important to protect yourself from sun damage to prevent lupus symptoms and organ damage. Here are some tips to protect yourself from sun damage:
- Wear protective clothing: Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats to protect your skin from the sun.
- Use sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
- Seek shade: Stay in the shade as much as possible, especially during peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use window tinting: Tinting the windows of your car or home can help block UV rays and protect your skin from sun damage.
- Wear sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from sun damage.
- Be mindful of medication: Some medications used to treat lupus can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking and how they may affect your skin.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Sun damage can cause lupus symptoms and organ damage in people with lupus. Protecting yourself from sun damage is crucial if you have lupus. By wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen, seeking shade, and staying hydrated, you can reduce your risk of sun damage and prevent lupus symptoms and organ damage. Like I say all the time I am not a medical professional. It is best to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about sun exposure and your lupus.