Testing for Lupus can be somewhat difficult. There are no definitive test for
diagnosing Lupus. Many of the symptoms and laboratory test results of Lupus patients are
similar to those of patients with different diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis,
multiple sclerosis, and various nervous system and blood disorders.
Tests used in lupus tests
Other tests that may be used for a lupus diagnosis
Lupus tests - Laboratory tests
Laboratory tests that are helpful in diagnosing Lupus include several tests for a variety of antibodies commonly elevated in Lupus patients (including antinuclear antibodies, anti-DNA antibodies, etc.). Lupus patients tend to have low numbers of red blood cells (anemia) and low numbers of certain types of white blood cells. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), a measure of inflammation in the body, tends to be quite elevated. Samples of tissue (biopsies) from affected skin and kidneys show characteristics of the disease.
A test called the lupus erythematosus cell preparation (or LE prep) test is also performed. This test involves obtaining a sample of the patient's blood. Cells from the blood are damaged in the laboratory in order to harvest their nuclei. These damaged cells are then put together with the patient's blood serum, the liquid part of blood separated from the blood cells. Antinuclear antibodies within the patient's serum will clump together with the damaged nuclear material. A material called Wright's stain will cause these clumps to turn blue. These stained clumps are then reacted with some of the patient's white blood cells, which will essentially eat the clumps. LE cells are the white blood cells that contain the blue clumps. This test will be positive in about 70-80% of all patients with Lupus.
Lupus tests by evaluation of symptoms
The American Rheumatism Association developed a list of symptoms used to diagnose Lupus. Research supports the idea that people who have at least four of the eleven criteria (not necessarily simultaneously) are extremely likely to have Lupus. The criteria are:
Lupus Skin Picture
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