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Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology

CENTERS AND INSTITUTES


Lupus


Lupus

SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

Common symptoms of lupus include fatigue, fever, rashes, sun sensitivity, joint pains, muscle aches, chest pain and blood abnormalities including low red blood cell count, white blood cell count and low platelet count. 

Lupus is often considered the 'great imitator' since some other diseases have similar symptoms. Examples include fibromyalgia, thyroid disease, infections, and many other conditions.

Diagnosis

Lupus is diagnosed based on a combination of patient symptoms, physician examination and blood testing.  

The most important test is for antinuclear antibodies (ANA).  Over 90% of lupus patients have a positive test compared with only 5% of normal patients.  If the ANA test is positive, additional testing can identify "subsets" of lupus patients (see description below).

This is not a comprehensive list of testing available for patients with lupus and often the diagnostic testing is tailored to the patient's condition and needs.