A lot of strange things have happened over the last year. I could not connect them until possibly now. Let me begin. A year ago, I changed blood pressure meds while on antibiotics and predisone for an uper respitory infection. I had hair start falling out of my beard. I went to the doctor and he stated it was "hair droppings" and that if it got worse, let him know. Hair finally grew back. a few months went by and I had a suspicous lump come up on my sternum. It grew to the size of a golf ball before I got help with it. Dr lansed it and packed it and repeatedly repacking it saying that it had to heal within. I was on antibiotics for this. A few months went by and I got an upper respitory infection. After 3 rounds of antibiotics and steroids, the infection went away. It is getting more and more difficult to sleep. About this same time I woke up in a barrel roll with dizziness like never before. The dizziness got better but has never went away. I began having headaches like never before. A few weeks ago my elbos joints started cramping real bad. I just thought it was from sleeping on them. A couple weeks ago, my knees and feet started cramping for no reason. I realize that I am having more and more of a difficult time expressing myself. Me feet, legs, fingers, and knees are swelling. I forget things that are important. A week ago now I am cramping in every joint and muscle. My doctor said that he thinks I have lupus but one of the test indicated that I did not so he is referring me to a speciallist. That was last week. I know know how much longer I can go with no relief. How do you know for sure if it is lupus? Whatever it is, I need some relief asap. I can't type without pain, I can't drive the car without pain, I can't throw my shoe across the floor when I get home without pain.
Deddleman, there are "subsets" in lupus. The classic kind is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus = SLE. There are sticky posts (permanent info posts) at the top of the thread list [look for padlock symbol]. 11 diagnostic criteria are laid out, of which you typically have to meet at least 4 to support a Dx. These don't have to be met simultaneously, meaning can be met over time. Two specific autoantibodies are considered very diagnostic---anti-ds-DNA and anti-Sm---but there are perhaps a dozen or so others possible. SLE favors women by a ratio of about 9 to 1. SLE is treated with antimalarials, steroids, or immunosuppressants; UV avoidance is sometimes necessary.
Drug-Induced Lupus Erythematosus = DILE is another type, and tends to strike older people more often, male and female alike, because we take more of the meds that can trigger it as we age, e.g., meds for cholesterol and BP, and certain antibiotics (etc.) have been implicated (that's only a sample, there are many more). Different autoantiboies are characteristic of DILE: it features anti-ss-DNA [anti-single-stranded-DNA, as opposed to double-stranded] and anti-histone. The remedy for DILE is straigtforward: discontinue the culprit drugs(s) and symptoms will almost always resolve in a matter of months.
There are two other kinds, but they don't seem relevant to your question.
I have milder SLE & have done well on an antimalarial. Several years back, my SIL had a bad bout of muscle pain, fatigue, and neuro problems after starting a cholesterol med, was diagnosed by a rheumatologist with probable DILE, quit the cholesterol med, took Prednisone briefy, then recovered fully.
I'll stop here to let you mull, then I hope you post more. BTW, I think seeing a specialist is the right move. Are you seeing a rheumatologist? Best wishes, sincerely, Vee