In a manner, your doctor is correct. I know for many of us, getting definitive diagnosis is important. But that does not always happen and we are told that we have an auto-immune disorder which is treated with the same medications etc. as Lupus.
Autoimmune disorders are diseases caused by the body producing an inappropriate immune response against its own tissues. Sometimes the immune system will cease to recognize one or more of the body’s normal constituents as “self” and will create autoantibodies – antibodies that attack its own cells, tissues, and/or organs. This causes inflammation and damage and it leads to autoimmune disorders.
The cause of autoimmune diseases is unknown, but it believed that there is an inherited predisposition to develop autoimmune disease for many of us. In a few types of autoimmune disease (such as rheumatic fever), a bacteria or virus triggers an immune response, and the antibodies or T-cells attack normal cells because they have some part of their structure that resembles a part of the structure of the infecting microorganism.
Autoimmune disorders fall into two general types: those that damage many organs (systemic autoimmune diseases - such as Lupus) and those where only a single organ or tissue is directly damaged by the autoimmune process (localized). However, the distinctions become blurred as the effect of localized autoimmune disorders frequently extends beyond the targeted tissues, indirectly affecting other body organs and systems. Some of the most common types of autoimmune disorders include:
Systemic Autoimmune Diseases:
* Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Juvenile RA (JRA) (joints; less commonly lung, skin)
* Lupus [Systemic Lupus Erythematosus] (skin, joints, kidneys, heart, brain, red blood cells, other)
* Scleroderma (skin, intestine, less commonly lung)
* Sjogren's syndrome (salivary glands, tear glands, joints)
* Goodpasture's syndrome (lungs, kidneys)
* Wegener's granulomatosis (blood vessels, sinuses, lungs, kidneys)
* Polymyalgia Rheumatica (large muscle groups)
* Guillain-Barre syndrome (nervous system)
* Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (pancreas islets)
* Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease (thyroid)
* Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis (GI tract)
* Multiple sclerosis
* Addison's disease (adrenal)
* Primary biliary cirrhosis, Sclerosing cholangitis, Autoimmune hepatitis (liver)
* Temporal Arteritis / Giant Cell Arteritis (arteries of the head and neck).
Autoimmune disorders are diagnosed, evaluated, and monitored through a combination of autoantibody blood tests, blood tests to measure inflammation and organ function, clinical presentation, and through non-laboratory examinations such as X-rays. There is no cure for autoimmune disorders, although in rare cases they may disappear on their own. Many people may experience flare-ups and temporary remissions in symptoms, others chronic symptoms or a progressive worsening.
Treatment of autoimmune disorders is tailored to the individual patient and may change over time or to deal with changing symptoms. The goal of treatment in all auto-immune disorders is to relieve symptoms, reduce inflammation, minimize organ and tissue damage, and preserve organ function. Often, the medications are the same for various auto-immune
So, at this point, your doctors will only say that you have an auto-immune disorder and/or a connective tissue disease. For some of us, that is the closest we get to a diagnosis until different symptoms appear or our current symptoms get worse!
I hope that this has been helpful :P
Peace and Blessings
Look For The Good and Praise It!