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Lupus/Runny Nose with Lupus?


QUESTION: For many years my doctor thought I had asthma and gave me cortisone inhalers and an asthma medicine. I would have bouts of wheezing and shortness of breath about 4 times a year. My new doctor says it is not really asthma and so I stopped taking those two medications. Coincidentally or not, after that I started getting a runny nose - in the morning mostly, then it stops but sometimes during the day.Also, sometimes I cough since then.  Can this be related to lupus? Doctors find nothing wrong except that I do have allergies but there is nothing new that I might be suddenly allergic to. I have discoid lupus with high ANA values but no other symptoms of systemic lupus. Was diagnosed about 1,5 years ago.

ANSWER: Hello there
I'm a fellow lupus patient.

Allergies and autoimmunity are very closely linked.
Have you considered that you probably have food allergies?
Food allergies often show symptoms the next day, or ever 2-3 days after you eat something.

The first most obvious culprits are whatever you eat most often, especially for breakfast. And if it's gluten (wheat) and dairy, those are big red flags, because a lot of people can't tolerate those foods, even though they are so popular. Consider cutting out all dairy and gluten for just 7 days. On the 8th day, eat a normal amount of each and see if you react. That is the cheapest most dependable way to find out whether these are problem foods for you.

When I eliminated gluten, dairy and nutrasweet from my diet, all my lupus tests cleared up, as if I had no lupus. Here's an article on hidden food sensitivities.

My best wishes to you-

Carla Ulbrich

The Singing Patient: Author, Survivor, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer - Carla's book "How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?"

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Carla,

Thanks so much for the answer. I know I have lactose intolerance and I try to avoid it but it is in so many things like bread and pastry! I had a test once for gluten intolerance and it came back negative. So do you have tips on where I can find a lactose-free diet plan? Also, do you think I should do a lactose AND gluten-free week just to be sure or do you think I can just do the lactose free diet?

Best regards,

Hi Sylvia-
If you've already tested negative for gluten intolerance, then just try the dairy-free week.
If you cook, you probably just need to substitute something like almond milk or rice milk (it's runnier than regular milk so either use less or thicken with cornstarch if you're baking).

There is coconut yogurt (it's delicious), dairy-free ice cream, even dairy-free mac n cheese (Amy's foods makes that). you'll be amazed what's out there these days. Try a local health food store or whole foods and ask a clerk for advice on whatever it is you usually eat that contains dairy and what you can have instead.

You can also search amazon for "dairy-free cookbook" or google anything you want to make. For example, I found a delicious recipe for creamy ceasar dairy-free dressing that I use all the time for free by googling "dairy free caesar dressing recipe."

There are also suppers groups on in some parts of the country that focus on things like low-carb, vegan (which is dairy free!), gluten free, etc.

Hope this solves your runny nose. I think you'll know quickly. I stopped dairy and felt so much better just 3-4 days later.

Carla Ulbrich

The Singing Patient: Author, Survivor, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer - Carla's book "How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?"


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Carla Ulbrich


I can answer questions such as "what is lupus?" (How common is it? Is it contagious? What are the symptoms? etc.). Also, I can answer questions such as "what are the available treatments for lupus?" (both standard and alternative). Really, I'll take almost any question on lupus, though. If I can't answer it, I'll be very surprised, but I'll also go find someone who can.


I've been living with lupus (SLE) since 1992. I've had three severe bouts with it, including symptoms such as kidney failure and stroke (if you can call having a stroke a "symptom"). I have completely regained my health, though I have to be mindful to take care of myself, lest I get sick again. I use both mainstream and alternative medicine, and have tried just about everything under the sun to alleviate symptoms. A lot of it worked.

Lupus Foundation of America Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor Toastmasters Folk Alliance

How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This? (Tell Me Press, pub.) What is Laughter Lupus Sundial Newsletter

BA in music (UNC-Greensboro)

Awards and Honors
Novelty Song of the Year, Just Plain Folk Awards Winner, South Florida Folk Festival Song Competition Lupus Foundation of America Seal of Approval (for book)

Past/Present Clients
Medicaid Conference Alaska Palliative Care Conference Right at Home Health Care SePHIMA Anritsu Club Med Nursing in Practice

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