It is difficult for a number of reasons:
- Systemic lupus is a multi-system disease, and before a multi-system disease can be diagnosed, there have to be symptoms in many parts of the body and lab work that supports the presence of a multi-system disease.
- Systemic lupus is also difficult to diagnose because it is a disease that does not typically develop rapidly, but rather develops slowly and evolves over time. Symptoms come and go and it generally takes time to gradually accumulate enough symptoms to indicate that a multi-system disease is present. The
- Systemic lupus is known as a Great Imitator because it mimics so many other diseases and conditions.
- Systemic lupus is difficult to diagnose because there is no single diagnostic test for lupus. In fact, many people may have positive lupus tests-particularly the anti-nuclear antibody test-and yet NOT have the disease.