Diagnosis and Tests
There’s no standard test to diagnose lupus. Identifying the disease is often difficult because its symptoms can be similar to those of other illnesses. It may take months, or even years, to get a diagnosis of lupus. At some point, you’ll probably be referred to a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in arthritis and other inflammatory joint conditions). Your doctor may use different tools and tests to help make a diagnosis, including:
- A complete physical exam
- An examination of your medical history and symptoms
- Blood and urine tests
- A kidney biopsy (removal of a small piece of kidney tissue that’s examined under a microscope)
- A skin biopsy
To help your doctor make a correct diagnosis, you may want to bring a list to your appointment that includes:
- All of your symptoms
- Your family’s medical history
- All medicines and supplements you take
- Any triggers that seem to worsen your symptoms
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause a variety of symptoms in different areas of the body. While there’s no cure for the disease, lupus symptoms can be managed using a number of different treatment options.
Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of your condition and whether you’ve recently been experiencing flares (times when symptoms are present). Flares can range from mild to severe. The goal of treatment is to prevent flares, treat flares when they occur, and limit organ damage and other potential complications.