Tracking Lupus Symptoms
Keeping track of your lupus treatment and flares is a great way to monitor your disease activity and help figure out what is working for you and what isn’t. Lupus doesn’t have a one size fits all treatment; therefore it is extremely important to be vigilant about recording what is helping you feel healthier and stronger.
Keeping track of your disease activity can also aid your doctors in determining what course of treatment works best for you.
Keep a Diary of Your Symptoms
Keeping a lupus journal is incredibly important, especially for those of you who are newly diagnosed or questioning whether or not you have lupus.
Keeping track of your symptoms on a daily basis can help you discover patterns in your symptoms and concretely tell you how often you are experiencing them. For women, this may be particularly helpful as patterns may occur during a menstrual cycle.
This doesn’t mean that your symptoms are chalked up to your period, but it may mean your hormones fluctuate in a way that means your symptoms are more noticeable at different points in your cycle.
Make sure you have a copy for yourself for your own records, but don’t hesitate to give one to your doctor or rheumatologist. When you see your doctor, it is only for a small chunk of time and how you feel when you see him or her often doesn’t represent the way you feel on a daily basis.
Additionally, due to wait times to see a specialist, you may not even feel sick by the time your appointment comes up. With a diary, you can present a better picture for treatment or diagnosis.
Track Your Periods
If you are a woman and still menstruating, keep track of your periods to compare with the diary of your symptoms. This can help you figure out if some symptoms are related to hormones and whether or not your cycle is regular.
For me, menstruation often is correlated with excess fatigue and soreness, so it is particularly important to pinpoint any patterns with your illness. You may be able to take something to regulate your hormones or to combat your symptoms during specific points in your cycle.
Record Your Treatments
Recording your treatments is particularly important when starting a dose of something new. As I mentioned before, there is no one size fits all treatment for lupus, thus a lot of treatments are essentially trial and error (based, of course, on the doctor’s educated guess).
Therefore, keeping a diary of when you’re taking the medication, how much, and what your symptoms were for the day can help you and your doctor see if what you’ve been given is, indeed, working.
Changes may be subtle and you may end up needing just a little bit more or less of the medication in order to help you feel better. Together with your doctor you can attempt to crack the code to your individual lupus.