Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Okay .... I didn't S.L.E.E.P

I know, I am suppose to take a nap but I didn't - my brain was like running marathon (must be the preds). I was trying so very hard to solve the mystery puzzle of my erratic blood pressure readings ... like I said, it is most of the time normal at home, once it rocketed up to 157/103 in Caring Pharmacy at IOI Mall three days ago!

First guess - I thought it was my stupidity - the OMRON machine ain't fool-proof ...

Second guess - I said - the machine must be screwed up BUT two doctors, one pharmacist tested it - it was OKAY!

Third guess - Environmental factor - what's so different between my house and outside, apart from my 12+1 indoor cats, 3 litter trays, stinky pillow?? My first hunch was the noise, yeah, sound ... I noticed that when I usually test at home, there's not much background noise - so, I switched on some music and noticed slight elevation in my BP readings when measured at home, it got worst when my hubby starts snoring! So, I said to myself, this must be it!

Tried some music again at home today but didn't seem to affect my BP readings at home ... hmmmm.....

Then, I said to myself - can it be the light? (no, no, not the light at the end of the tunnel!) - I mean UV light - shopping malls, clinics, building (and not forgetting, the SUN itself!) - then, the facts started rolling on to me ... my office has fluorescent lights, the building has fluorescent lights, clinics have fluorescent lights, walking to lunch exposed me to sun's UV and not forgetting shopping centers (and shops) are full of fluorescent lights!!!

I know for a fact that UV rays exacerbate lupus, but I thought it was only skin?

Now, I have quite a strong hunch (again) that my previous elevated BP readings were due to UV light???? Means I can't go shopping without sunblock?? Mean I can't work under the stupid fluorescent light in my office! I am getting sick all because of a stupid light????

*** Experience from another fellow lupie at ***

Pain is triggered by many things when you have lupus. The main triggers are the weather .. and the sun. Photosensitivity is one of the most aggravating triggers of the disease. It doesn't take much exposure to ensure a reaction of pain.

Lupus patients are very sensitive to UV rays, especially those who suffer from Discoid Lupus. It is a known trigger for a flare! That is why it is so important to wear sunscreen when outside in the sun. But what most people don't realize is, they should be wearing UV protection inside stores as well.

UV rays from the sun can trigger reactions in the skin in the form of a rash, or purple spots under the skin called pupura, but will also cause muscle and joint pain.

People with Lupus must also be aware of "hidden" UV rays as in Fluorescent lighting. If you work in an area with fluorescent lighting, then you should be wearing a sun screen even while working inside the building.

Also .. for those of you who shop at Walmart or Kmart, most grocery stores .. or ANY store that uses the fluorescent light fixtures (long rectangle boxes with long tube-shaped light bulbs) .. please be aware that fluorescent lighting gives off UV rays unless the fixture is fitted with a special lens.

Most fluorescent lighting can be covered with a protective Plexiglas panel that allows light through but not the radiation that triggers the pain. There is a UV protective panel available for fluorescent lighting fixtures but because of cost, it is usually not installed in offices and stores.

A two hour shopping spree in Walmart is equivalent to a full hour in the sun. You don't get sunburned but you do get the full hour of UV rays. Enough to trigger a flare of itching, rashy skin, aching muscles, low grade fever, and/or extreme fatigue.

And you thought the shopping itself was making you ill .. guess again!! It is the lights in the store!

So go prepared .. wear your sunscreen .. use a hat or a scarf .. and even though you may be tired from all the walking, you wont begin a flare that will last for several days.

Computer screens also give off small amounts of UV radiation. Most people are not affected by it, but people with lupus or other photo sensitivities should take precautions. Especially if you are in front of the screen for long periods of time (more than an hour at a time, for days in a row).

The best thing you can purchase to help eliminate the problem is a monitor anti-glare screen that fits over the monitor itself. It knocks down the glare as well as blocks the UV rays. 3M company makes several different kinds.

Limiting yourself to short periods of time in the sun will help eliminate some of the pain, but wearing sunscreen is a must! Sunscreen should be at least 30 SPF, with 45 SPF being a better choice!


Also, read :- LUPUS and Light Sensitivity - download brochure at :-

No comments: