Diagnosing Lupus
Written by Lupus Association of NSW Inc.
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A guide to some of the symptoms you may experience when diagnosed with lupus

Lupus is a complex and unpredictable condition which can present through vast array of symptoms which can change from day to day and definitely differ from patient to patient. One lupus patient's experience is not necessarily going to the the same for another lupus patient.  Hence, you can possibly understand how difficult it can be to diagnose such a mysterious condition and why it can take a long time to diagnose.  Below is a list of questions your doctor might ask you when they are discussing your health concerns with you:

  • Have you ever had achy, painful and/or swollen joints for more than three months? Or joint pain that moves from one joint to another without explanation?
  • Have you had any sores in your mouth for more than two weeks?
  • Have you ever had low blood count(s) - anaemia, low white cell count or low platelets count?
  • Have you ever had a prominent redness or colour change in the shape of a butterfly across the brdge of the nose and your cheeks?
  • Have you ever had an unexplained fever over 38 degrees for more than a few days?
  • Have you ever been sensitive to the sun where your skin 'breaks out' after being in the sun even for a short time (photosensitivity) (ie. not sunburnt) ?
  • Have you ever had sharp chest pain with breathing for more than a few days (pleurisy)?
  • Have you ever had protein in your urine sample (proteinuria)?
  • Have you ever experienced persistent, extreme fatigue and weakness for days or weeks at a time, even after 8 hours of restful night-time sleep?
  • Do your fingers and/or toes become pale, numb or uncomfortable in the cold?

If your answer is YES to four or more of these questions, your doctor may consider the possibility that you have lupus, also referred to as SLE or systemic lupus erythematosus.

For further information, please consult your doctor.  The Lupus Association of NSW also a large amount of information which can be provided to both patients and doctors to assist in reaching an accurate diagnosis.  If your doctor has any queries, please ask them to contact the Lupus Association of NSW on 02 9878 6055.