Lupus Diagnosis Process

by | Jul 14, 2017 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

lupus diagnosisLupus Diagnosis Process is the process of diagnosing Lupus can be a long winding road that can take up to 5 years.  It is speculated that patients with Lupus develop the silent progression of the disease long before the actual diagnosis.

Personally, it’s taken 9 months to confirm a lupus diagnosis, and the process was grueling, to say the least.  

I began to have rashes, severe fatigue, hypotension (very low blood pressure), hair loss, and severe weight loss.  It was a scary time and all I wanted was to have my symptoms under control mainly because it was physically deforming me.

It was the scariest and the most frustrating time of my life.  I went from dermatology, infectious disease, in and out of emergency rooms, and cardiology, until finally, I ended up at the rheumatology office where I was glad to have a lupus diagnosis.  

For me, knowing meant we can now figure out what to do as opposed to not knowing what was causing my physical deformity.  I fast learned the limitations of the medical system and its lack of support for long-term health for Lupus patients.

When you end up at your doctor’s office, specifically your rheumatologist, it’s likely that you have some significant symptoms that have your doctors predict you have Lupus.  

Lupus Diagnosis Process

So first, your doctor will do a physical exam to check for typical signs and symptoms of lupus, including:

  • Rashes, such as a malar or butterfly rash
  • Look for mucous membrane ulcers, which may occur in the mouth or nose
  • Assess arthritis, by observing and testing for swelling or tenderness of the small joints of the hands, feet, knees, and wrists
  • Ask you about hair loss and/or bald spots.
  • Assess signs of cardiac or lung involvement, such as murmurs, rubs, or irregular heartbeats
  • Check to see if you have fevers
  • Ask you about fatigue

There isn’t a specific test that is diagnostic for SLE, but it’s a matter of putting together collective symptoms and lab testing to determine if indeed you have Lupus.  

  • blood tests, such as various antibody tests and a complete blood count
  • a urinalysis
  • a chest X-ray

Treatment for SLE

There’s no cure for SLE.  The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms and treatments were very toxic to my body.   Treatment can vary depending on your severity and the types of symptoms that you have.  Typical treatments are as follows:  

  • anti-inflammatory medications for joint pain and stiffness
  • steroid creams for rashes
  • corticosteroids to suppress the immune system
  • antimalarial drugs for skin and joint problems and to keep Lupus under remission.
  • disease suppressing drugs (mainly immunosuppressive drugs) or targeted immune system agents for more severe cases

It’s important to make informed decisions, so talk with your doctor about your options and include diet and lifestyle habits.

Your doctor might recommend eating or avoiding certain foods that may trigger an immune response and to minimize stress to prevent relapse.

Additionally, you may need to have Bone Density Testing for osteoporosis since the use steroids can thin your bones.

Your doctor may also recommend preventive care, such as immunizations that are safe for people with autoimmune diseases as well as cardiac screenings. 

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