First, let me welcome you here to our family.
Now, to address your question: Lupus is a very difficult disease to diagnose. There is no single test for lupus and because lupus affects different people in different ways, it is even harder to diagnose. It's symptoms can mimic those of so many other auto-immune disorders (the fatigue, joint pain, the rashes). Auto-immune disorders are similar in that they all have a malfunction of the immune system, one in which the immune system cannot distinguish between the body's own cells and tissues and that of foreign matter, like viruses. Rather than simply producing antibodies to attack antigens (viruses, bacteria and similar foreign matter), the immune system creates auto-antibodies that attack the immune system itself. When this happens, we can suffer from inflammation (the primary feature of lupus), pain, and tissue damage. Inflammation, in and of itself, can cause pain, heat, redness, swelling and loss of function, either internally (certain organs) or externally (primarily the skin) or both. Lupus can affect every part of our bodies
Therefore, it is almost impossible for us to say that you may or may not have Lupus. What we can say is that it sounds as if you may be suffering from an auto-immune disorder, but we cannot say that it is or is not Lupus.
There are eleven (11) criteria used to diagnose Lupus. You must meet at least four (4) of the eleven criteria to be diagnosed with Lupus. Those criteria are:
1) Malar rash – a rash over the cheeks and nose, often in the shape of a butterfly
2) Discoid rash – a rash that appears as red, raised, disk-shaped patches
3) Photosensitivity – a reaction to sun or light that causes a skin rash to appear or get worse
4) Oral ulcers – sores appearing in the mouth
5) Arthritis – joint pain and swelling of two or more joints in which the bones around the joints do not become destroyed
6) Serositis – inflammation of the lining around the lungs (pleuritis) or inflammation of the lining around the heart that causes chest pain which is worse with deep breathing (pericarditis)
7) Kidney disorder – persistent protein or cellular casts in the urine
8) Neurological disorder – seizures or psychosis
9) Blood disorder – anemia (low red blood cell count), leukopenia (low white blood cell count), lymphopenia (low level of specific white blood cells), or thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
10)Immunologic disorder – abnormal anti-double-stranded DNA or anti-Sm, positive antiphospholipid antibodies
11)Abnormal antinuclear antibody (ANA)
It is believed that Lupus can be genetic (not heriditary) and that if other family members have Lupus or other auto-immune disorders, you may be pre-disposed to developing an auto-immune disease, such as Lupus. Based upon all of this, it might be beneficial for you to talk to you doctor about your predisposition and your symptoms so that the appropriate tests can be run to determine which, if any, auto immune disorder you may have.
Please know that we are here to help you as much as we can. There will always be someone here to answer your question and/or to give you information. Please let us know what you and your doctors decide.
Peace and Blessings
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