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What Lupus Is And Why It’s So Difficult to Diagnose?

Lupus Patient

Lupus is considered an autoimmune disease. These diseases are conditions where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Many different parts of the body are affected by Lupus, including the joints, skin, blood cells, and kidneys. 

How Doctors Diagnose Lupus

Joint pain, rashes, sores in the mouth, skin that is more sensitive to the sun, worsening symptoms after exposure to the sun, and a positive antinuclear antibodies test are a few of the criteria established by the American College of  Rheumatology guidelines. This test is meant to identify the antibodies that attack the healthy tissues in the body. Tests for Lupus use a point system to diagnose the disease. If a patient receives a score of at least ten and a positive ANA test, then the diagnosis of Lupus is made.

A diagnosis of “incomplete Lupus” is also possible. This diagnosis means that some of the criteria for a Lupus diagnosis were met, but not all. “Preclinical” Lupus is another possible diagnosis, meaning that there are a lot of early symptoms, and Lupus may develop later. With preclinical Lupus, there is a 50% chance of Lupus developing. There is an option to start treatment. Mild therapy with fewer lasting side effects can lead to better outcomes. 

There are many reasons why Lupus takes longer to diagnose. Some patients experience wavering symptoms. Some have slower-progressing symptoms. This means that patients will experience one symptom and not experience others for a longer time. Early symptoms of Lupus are often joint pains or joint pains, with rashes appearing 100% of the time. Those symptoms usually only appear early on in about 90% of cases. Other cases of patients who display kidney disease or low platelet joint pain and a rash are generally enough to make most patients go to their doctor. Once there, blood tests are performed.

Most physicians believe that intervening early and treating patients as soon as possible is the key to combating Lupus. Even if a patient doesn’t meet all of the criteria for a Lupus diagnosis, many physicians will still discuss treatment options to prevent progression.

How Researchers Are Continuing To Learn About Lupus?

Scientists have conducted clinical trials and research to inform patients about Lupus. Many researchers rely on blood donated by Lupus patients to such facilities. Many samples in labs all over the country are used to study the genes that possibly cause Lupus. The samples can help researchers understand what causes Lupus, treatments, and possible prevention. In some cases, starting treatment as early as possible can lead to less severe symptoms. Even if that treatment is as mild as medication, it has been proven to change the course of the disease.


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