Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system mistakes the body's own tissues as foreign invaders and attacks them. Some people with lupus suffer only minor inconvenience. Others suffer significant lifelong disability.
Lupus affects people of African, Asian, or Native American descent two to three times as often as it affects whites. Nine out of 10 people with lupus are women. The disease usually strikes between age 15 and 44, although it can occur in older individuals.
There are two kinds of lupus:
· Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)
· Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
1. What do you think is causing my problem?
2. Is there more than one condition (disease) that could be causing my problem?
3. What tests will you do to diagnose the problem and which of the conditions is present?
4. How good are the tests for diagnosing the problem and the conditions?
5. How safe are the tests?
6. What is the likely course of this condition? What is the long-term outlook with and without treatment?
7. What are my treatment options? How effective is each treatment option?
8. What are the benefits versus risks of each treatment option?
9. If my symptoms worsen, what should I do on my own? When should I contact you?
10. Are you aware of each of the medications that I am taking? Can they adversely interact with the medications you are prescribing for me?
11. Should we monitor for side effects of the medications that you are prescribing or for their interactions with other medications I am taking?
1. Could any medications I’m taking be triggering my lupus symptoms?
2. Could another condition be causing my lupus symptoms?
3. Has the disease already damaged my kidneys or other organs?
4. Should I have a bone density test?
5. Should I be taking calcium or other supplements?
6. What are the possible side effects of my lupus drugs?
7. How long will I need to take these lupus drugs?
8. Is it safe for me to become pregnant if I have lupus? Are my lupus medications safe to take while I’m pregnant?
9. How often should I have checkups?
10. What lifestyle changes do you recommend?
Diagnosing lupus is difficult because the signs and symptoms vary considerably from person to person and often overlap with many other diseases.
A combination of blood and urine tests, assessing the signs and symptoms, and a physical examination are used to diagnose lupus.
Here are the most common tests for lupus:
As you can see, diagnosing lupus isn’t a simple process. It requires an in-depth analysis of multiple factors.