Five Tips For Minimizing Unwanted Side Effects When Taking Steroids For Lupus

Posted on: 3 April 2015

If you have lupus, your immune system is essentially working overtime, identifying healthy tissue as injured or infected and triggering the body's natural response to illness. Steroids work to control this effect and reduce the activity of the immune system, and in fact, taking steroid is essential for most people with lupus.

Unfortunately, steroids can have some negative health effects, but luckily, there are things you can do to minimize potential harm and ensure you are getting the most benefits from your steroids.

1. Take steps to reduce depression naturally

One of the side effects of steroids can be depression or paranoia. One of the simplest ways to keep these mental health issues under control is through daily meditation. Simply clearing your mind for ten to twenty minutes at some point during the day can be as helpful as medication, and because it is totally natural, you don't have tow orry about this type of treatment conflicting with your steroids or other medications.

It can also be helpful to have a positive internal script. When things begin to feel blue or when you begin to feel scared or anxious, train yourself to take a few deep breathes and inject some logic into the situation. For instance, if you believe that everyone around you hates you or that your boss is going to fire you, just stop and remind yourself that those things are untrue or unlikely.

2. Eat a healthy diet

Whether you are taking steroids to build up muscle or to help a condition like lupus, weight gain can be a side effect, but it can be controlled with the right diet.

Ideally, while you are on steroids, you should eat lean meats or plant-based proteins, healthy fats such as fatty fish ,and complex carbohydrates. You should avoid simple carbs and fatty meats. If you are also trying to build up muscle, eat lots of natural cholesterol such as that found in egg yolks.

3. Do not forget the calcium

Unfortunately, lupus is most common in women, and it is linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis, especially if you take steroids. You can combat this effect by increasing the amount of calcium in your diet through dairy products or leafy dark green vegetables.

Talk with your doctor about whether or not your calcium intake is sufficient. If not, your doctor can recommend a calcium supplement that will work well with your steroid prescription.

4.Pair steroids with immunosuppressants

When you buy steroids, they can be essential when you have lupus, especially if you have a flare up that threatens to attack organs such as your liver. However, you can reduce the side effects of your steroids by working with your doctor to reduce your dosage levels. One of the most effective ways to reduce your steroid dosage is to pair your steroids with an immunosuppressant.

Also known as steroid-sparing or adjuvant, immunosuppressive drugs work to improve your lupus symptoms by suppressing your immune system.

5. Pay close attention to your body

Unfortunately, if you use immunosuppressant drugs to reduce the amount of steroids you take, your immune system is going to be compromised. If possible, stay away from people who have illnesses, and pay attention to your own body. If you get sick, your body may not give you its "normal" cues due to the steroids.

For example, your steroids may prevent your body from getting a fever. Because of that, you have to look for other symptoms of illness such as lethargy or  swelling. If you see those signs, contact your doctor. He or she can help you determine if you are ill even if the steroids are reducing your symptoms. Then, you can deal with the illness and get back on track.