Diagnosing Lupus is usually a difficult process. There is no single laboratory test that exclusively proves a Lupus diagnosis. Lupus is also different for each person and there is no one set of symptoms associated with Lupus. The symptoms of Lupus can easily be mistaken for many other diseases and disorders. Also, the symptoms may be transient or just general as in weakness or fatigue.
A Lupus diagnosis is usually made after a detailed medical history and examination including many laboratory tests. Especially because of the cyclic nature of Lupus, periods of flare and remission, a diagnosis can sometimes take months or even years.
Because of the difficulty in Lupus diagnosis, the American Rheumatism Association created a list of 11 criteria to help physicians diagnose Lupus. A patient must display at least 4 of the 11 criteria to be considered to have Lupus, but it is not that simple. Many other diseases can conform to these criteria. Diagnosis of Lupus includes ruling out other conditions that may mimic Lupus. The 11 criteria are:
Diagnosing Lupus is not an exact science and we still have much to learn in this field.
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