This was a great session given by Dr. Donald Thomas where he presented some of his lupus secrets and “not so secrets”. Guess what the commonest cause for lupus not responding to medication? Patient’s not taking their medication.
Did you know the first description of lupus dates back to a ninth-century bishop of Leodicum (now Liege in Belgium). This gentleman is described to have severe skin involvement with the disease “nibbling” at his flesh. He was taken to a healer who prescribed … chicken. But it’s not what you think. He was not meant to eat the chicken but each day 4 chickens were freshly killed, eviscerated, and then the raw chicken flesh was placed on his wounds. Needless to say this therapy didn’t work. The bishop was a fan of St. Martin in Toure, France. The Bishop and his entourage made the pilgrimage to see St. Martin and there are written and pictorial descriptions of the curing of the Bishop by St. Martin.
Very interesting indeed. I’ll include all of the secrets in a separate article but will touch on three things below.
Vitamin D is really important. There is good evidence to show that patients with poor skin disease and lupus have lower levels of vitamin D. Furthermore, supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to improve skin disease in lupus. Perhaps we should consider starting everyone with lupus on 2-3000 units of vitamin D per day.
Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation is everywhere. UV radiation is not just from the sun and it is found emanating from the lightbulbs in our home. The speaker recommended every patient to use sunscreen on a daily basis regardless if they planned to go outside. What was really interesting is the new LED lightbulbs do not emit any UV radiation. Patients could consider using LED lightbulbs in their homes.
Patients with autoimmune diseases and lupus are at an increased risk for infection regardless of medication use. Dr. Thomas recommends all of his lupus patients get vaccinated. He touched on two important vaccines for pneumococcal coverage. The first was prevnar-13 followed by pneumovax.