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How is Lupus Diagnosed?

Updated: Apr 18

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), also sometimes known as the Great Imitator is a difficult to diagnose disease.

This autoimmune condition, while complex, is become better understood with more options for treatment every year.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is a multifaceted autoimmune disorder that can affect various organs and systems within the body. Unfortunately, its symptoms often mimic those of other conditions, making diagnosis a puzzle that can take more time than ideal.

How most people are diagnosed ...

  1. Clinical Assessment:

  • The diagnostic journey typically begins with a thorough clinical assessment by a healthcare provider. A comprehensive discussion of the patient's medical history, family history, and an exploration of symptoms lays the foundation for understanding the individual context. 2. Physical Examination:

  • A physical examination follows, where healthcare professionals assess the patient's overall health and look for specific signs associated with SLE, such as skin rashes, joint tenderness, hair loss, or fever.

  • 3. Laboratory Tests:

  • The backbone of SLE diagnosis involves a series of blood tests. These tests are designed to detect specific antibodies and markers associated with autoimmune activity, including antinuclear antibodies (ANA), anti-double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA), and anti-Smith antibodies. 4. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

  • A CBC is conducted to examine the quantity and quality of blood cells. Abnormalities in red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets may provide valuable insights into the presence of lupus. 5. Urinalysis:

  • Given that lupus can affect the kidneys, a urinalysis is often performed to check for signs of inflammation or kidney dysfunction. 6. Imaging Studies:

  • In some cases, imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may be utilized to evaluate the extent of organ involvement and monitor any potential damage.

Diagnosing SLE is not a solitary endeavor; it is a collaborative effort between patients and healthcare professionals. Open communication, transparency about symptoms, and active engagement in the diagnostic process help.

If you have a doctor that you feel is ignoring your complaints and symptoms, it may be worthwhile to seek a second opinion.

Early diagnosis of SLE is crucial for effective management and improved quality of life. Timely intervention can help prevent the progression of the disease, reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups, and enhance your overall well-being!

To empower yourself on this journey, keep an eye on your symptoms, maintain a detailed record of any changes or concerns, and, most importantly, cultivate a proactive relationship with your healthcare team.

Regular follow-ups with your doctors serve as essential checkpoints in your quest for wellness. By actively participating in your healthcare journey, you not only contribute to the early detection of potential issues but also play a pivotal role in shaping a comprehensive and personalized management plan.

If you are ready to take control of your Lupus with changes to diet and lifestyle, contact me today.

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