Hope Foundation - Creating an awareness of Lupus, Sickle Cell and Arthritis

CONFUSION ABOUT DIAGNOSIS. I've seen a list of symptoms of lupus and I have just about every one. The doctor I went to doesn't think I have lupus, but he doesn't seem to know too much about it. How can I be sure I do or do not have lupus?

Lupus is a very difficult disease to diagnose. Physicians use a list of 11 criteria to assist in the diagnosis. The criteria consist of symptoms and lab tests, which tend to be specific to SLE. The list of 11 criteria is not to be confused with lists of common symptoms of systemic lupus, such as: fatigue, fever, weight loss, hair loss, nausea, Raynaud's phenomenon. These symptoms, could be due to numerous illnesses or conditions, and, therefore, are too vague to be included as diagnostic criteria.

If a person has many of the symptoms of systemic lupus, the physician may suspect lupus is developing, and evaluate the patient to see if any criteria are met. If fewer than 4 criteria are satisfied, there is insufficient evidence to diagnose systemic lupus. A rheumatologist or a clinical immunologist may be consulted if you are looking for a specialist who has the expertise to diagnose and treat lupus.

FAQS- Diagnosis

  • Is there a test for systemic lupus? +

    There is not a single diagnostic test for systemic lupus. Read More
  • Why is systemic lupus so difficult to diagnose? +

    It is difficult for a number of reasons: Systemic lupus is a multi-system disease, and before a multi-system disease can Read More
  • How is systemic lupus diagnosed? +

    Physicians have to gather information from a variety of sources: past medical history, lab tests and current symptoms. They use Read More
  • CONFUSION ABOUT DIAGNOSIS. I've seen a list of symptoms of lupus and I have just about every one. The doctor I went to doesn't think I have lupus, but he doesn't seem to know too much about it. How can I be sure I do or do not have lupus? +

    Lupus is a very difficult disease to diagnose. Physicians use a list of 11 criteria to assist in the diagnosis. Read More
  • I am afraid I might have lupus and my doctor is going to miss something and end up diagnosing me with lupus too late. If I have it, I want to be diagnosed as early as possible. How can I make sure I am diagnosed earlier rather than later? +

    Because lupus tends to develop slowly and evolve gradually over time, awaiting a diagnosis can be like waiting for a Read More
  • My doctor suspects I have lupus, but hasn't diagnosed me with it yet. I have a lot of joint pain in my hands and knees. Can anything be prescribed to give me some relief, or do I have to wait until I have a definite diagnosis before they can treat me? +

    Sometimes, a trial of lupus medications is helpful, so discuss this with your doctor. Read More
  • My Doctor said my lupus test came back "borderline positive." What does this mean? +

    The screening test for lupus is called the ANA (antinuclear antibody). All lab tests have normal values. If a test Read More
  • I was told my ANA was positive, but I don't have lupus. My Doctor thinks I have a connective tissue disease. What does this mean? +

    Connective tissue includes joints, tendons, cartilage, collagen, muscles and skin. There are a number of connective tissue diseases; rheumatoid arthritis, Read More
  • What kind of Doctor can diagnose systemic lupus? +

    If multiple criteria are present simultaneously, the diagnosis may be made by any physician (Family Practitioner, Internist, Pediatrician). If however, Read More
  • My doctor suspects that I may be developing lupus, but I don't satisfy enough criteria to be diagnosed. Is there anything I can do to slow its development or prevent it from occurring? +

    If you are indeed developing lupus, there is no known way of arresting it. You can, however, be an active Read More
  • I was told my ANA was positive and I have a lot of pain, but my doctor thinks I have fibromyalgia and not lupus. What does this mean? +

    Patients with positive ANA's and muscle and joint pain do not necessarily have lupus. Fibromyalgia, which is also common in Read More
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