We spoke of lupus being an inflammatory disease in which your immune system malfunctions and doesn’t distinguish ‘self’ from ‘non-self. Just how this happens, scientists don’t know how or why; making diagnosis of this disease difficult, too.
Why is diagnosis difficult? Many symptoms of lupus are similar to those of other illnesses, like anemia. There are more than 400 causes of anemia: Lupus is only one cause.
A diagnosis of lupus is usually made after a careful evaluation of symptoms; including extreme fatigue, chills, rashes, sun sensitivity, anemia, joint pains, blood clotting disorders, or ulcers in the mouth and nose.
Because those symptoms can mimic other diseases, diagnosis is not easy, but the diagnostic process must be accompanied by evaluation of laboratory tests, medical history and physical exam.
Laboratory tests include but aren’t limited to urinalysis, complete blood count, a test called and anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA), an marker of inflammation, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) a protein in the blood that can be low in lupus.
There are other tests that your doctor may feel are in your best interests and may help him diagnose your condition. I’m not a physician and only your healthcare practitioner can make the diagnosis.