I've always been confused whether lupus ALWAYS shows up in the blood, for two reasons:
1. The ACR criteria require only 4 of 11 criteria to be met, none being "required"---which, theoretically anyway, could mean 4 are met but none of those 4 are bloodwork. This might be especially true in the variants & lesser subsets, like discoid and SCLE.
2. Some autoantibodies can rise & recede with flares, I *think*.
For what this is worth... It's SUCH a confusing subject. Doctors tend to explain very little in the brief time they spend with us. Plus, just how hard it is to explain the subject to those who've had no background in it? I had to READ to understand what my doctors were saying. Dr. Daniel Wallace & Dr. Robert Lahita are both good sources, at your local library or bookstore.
Best wishes! Sincerely, Vee
P.S. People with the lesser "subsets" can be antibody-negative, I was told. Someone with "discoid" only (rashes, plus maybe some pain & fatigue) is considered to have the mildest subset; maybe 50% have no antibodies. In people with only SCLE rashes, viewed as an intermediate subset, maybe 85% to 90% have anti-Ro antibodies. (But SCLE is tricky, in that many stay mild but a few have the full range of problems seen in SLE, including the worst things, like kidney involvement.) But in people with full-blown SLE, I think "almost all" are positive for ANA, and, at some points in time, probably for one or more specific autoantibodies---I think, but I'm just a patient, OBVIOUSLY!
I think lupus is a subject where a few words can mislead & confuse. My local drs. told me for years I couldn't have lupus because it wasn't showing in my bloodwork. Later on, I realized I was being tested when my rashes & symptoms were "too old", whereas testing as my rashes were on the rise *maybe* would have yielded more meaningful findings.
Last edited by VeeJ; 11-14-2008 at 07:17 AM.
Reason: added a P.S.
My mom had a small rash, she went to the dr. and he told her it was lupus.
this was January of this year 2008. She noticed months later a rash on her left breast, which grew the size of a grapefruit. She went to dr. after dr. but no one knew what it was. So she went to the dermatologist and the dr. did a biopsy and found out it was lupus. The dr. did a blood test and found no sign of lupus in her blood.