Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnose. It is known as “The Great Imitator” as it mimics some of the symptoms of so many other illnesses.
Many Lupus patients will be able to relate to the hardship of a diagnosis. Sometimes it is so difficult that patients feel alone and wonder if the illness is “all in their head”. Some people have gone years without a diagnosis; such is the lack of awareness and difficulty of this condition.
If you or your GP suspects that you may have SLE they will usually send you to a see a specialist consultant known as a Rheumatologist. This will probably be the first of many specialists you will see throughout your journey with the disease. The Rheumatologist will carry out initial tests, mainly through bloods and urine samples, to determine whether or not you have Lupus. Some of these tests include
- Anti-Sm antibodies
- Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
- ENA (Extractable Nuclear Antigens)
- White Blood Count
- Anti-Cardiolipin (Anti-Phospholipid)
- Immunoglobulin (IG)
- Rheumatoid Factor
If you suffer with Discoid Lupus (Skin Lesions/Rashes) you will be referred to a specialist known as a Dermatologist. A skin biopsy may be required before a positive diagnosis can be made.