So, I’m pretty clumsy and have a lot of falls. Over a month ago I fell and hit my ankle, not even a hard fall but it ended up resulting in a bruise with a small cut. I’m used to easily bruising because of the medications I take for my Lupus. So when it turned into a big purple and black bruise I wasn’t worried about it. Now almost two months later and the tenderness is still there like it was a fresh injury. So I looked into what could be the reason behind my wound taking so long to properly heal.
Looks like slow healing wounds are a known complication of several autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Chronic wounds are a major cause of morbidity in lupus. Lupus patient’s wounds take longer to heal than patients without lupus. Lupus itself and some of the medications used to treat it- especially immunosuppressants such as prednisone, which I take daily – can leave people vulnerable to the common cold and strains of influenza and to “opportunistic infections” that occur after bacterial contact, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, strep throat, and thrush.
It often takes lupus patients a long time to recover from their infections because lupus causes the hyperactivity of certain cells, creating antibodies that are destructive to the immune system itself. (via lupus.org)
Lupus can cause the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to decrease. This can lead to anemia, easy bruising, nosebleeds and other bleeding. It can also cause your blood to clot too easily or in unneeded places, as I personally have experienced, a blood clot near my lung. If the blood clots breaks away and travels through your bloodstream, it can block blood vessels and cause serious problems like stroke or a blood clot in lung.
So while there isn’t much we can do about the slowed healing process in general, we can take steps to decrease chances of infections becoming life threatening. Starting with lifestyle changes, like eating healthier to build natural antibodies, getting enough sleep, and focusing on stress management.
Rosadela Durruthy is founder of She’s Got Lupus, a non profit organization aimed to improve the lives of those living with chronic illnesses by advocating for mental health, healthy living and raising awareness.