Join Date: Feb 2004
Re: Could this be Lupus?
Dear galpster, Greetings & welcome! The "sticky posts" at the top of the Board explain (briefly) the diagnostic criteria for lupus. One of them, the one about test results, has a resource that explains in much more detail vrs. tests, symptoms (a HUGE range is possible!), skin problems, protein in urine, other organ issues, etc.
Your going to a rheumie makes a lot of sense. He/she should (hopefully) do the normal bloodwork (CBC, etc.) plus ANA, but also other specific antibody tests (the ones cited in the "test results" sticky post source). ANA in & of itself is not definitive, alas.
As for the specific things you mention... I'm certainly not a dr., first of all. But gallbladder problems and hives are statistically more frequent in lupus than in the general population, I've read. Thinning hair is common, too. Mouth sores are also common, but I *think* they tend to be painless.
Skin problems are common, too. There are several specific rashes that are unique to lupus, meaning if a biopsy determines it to be a lupus rash, you have lupus, in some form. Because there are *different* forms of lupus: in order of greater to lesser, they are systemic, subacute cutaneous, and discoid (plus two "extras", drug-induced & neo-natal). It takes a skin biopsy to really determine what a rash is, in most cases.
But I have read of other conditions that feature rashes, fatigue, elevated ESR, etc. Like dermatomyositis, psoriatic arthritis, etc. The rheumie (and maybe a dermie or dermatopathologist) will have to narrow down possibilities for you, alas. It's not uncommon (alas, again!) for this process to take awhile.
I hope you keep posting, in the meantime. Give another holler when the mood strikes, OK? Bye for now, Vee (Dx'ed with the intermediate SCLE form of lupus in 2000, positive anti-Ro but negative ANA; with fatigue, tingling, 8+ years of arm/back rashes, swollen joints, anemia, elevated ESR, migraines, GI & urinary problems, lower back pain, etc. Doing pretty well now, though!)