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Old 01-20-2013, 06:21 AM   #2
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Re: How Can I Find Out If I Have Lupus?

Hello & welcome! I'm only a patient, so please read in that light. For lupus, the best bet is always a rheumatologist, who would evaluate you for the ACR (Am. College of Rheumatology) criteria. Look for those in the "sticky post" (permanent info post) above the user threads. Generally, but not always, you must meet 4 or more to sustain a Dx of systemic lupus. Once a criterion is met, envision checking it off permanently, like you've used indelible ink.

The stickies are a good place to start because they're so basic. You'll also see ones that discuss skin rashes, "alternative criteria", further reading resources, and APS (a blood clotting disorder often seen with lupus).

Even though there's lupus in your family doesn't guarantee you're headed there. I think while autoimmunity tends to run in families, some escape entirely and others may get some *different* AI. For example, in my family, including first cousins, there's lupus (me), Hashimoto's thyroiditis (sis), Ulcerative Colitis (1st cousin), and Type 1 diabetes (1st cousin).

Offhand---but I'm no doctor!---your facial rash could be important, but only a doctor could say if it's a lupus malar rash. Ditto with joint pain: the problem there is that joint pain is seen in many conditions, including other AI's, in hypothyroidism, in run-of-the-mill arthritis, etc. For other criteria, you'd need specialized blood tests & urinalysis. And for criteria that are more like "symptoms", you'd need a careful lifetime medical history taken.

Re: liver, I have a friend with multiple liver hemangiomas, found after her liver values were slightly elevated. Were your liver values off?

Re: abdominal swelling, I've heard of it in people with PCOS, also with GI autoimmunes (Celiac, Crohn's, and Ulcerative Colitis)---but I bet there are MANY other possibilties, too. (I had years of GI problems, but colonoscopies, upper/lower GI series, blood labs, etc. ruled out the inflammatory bowel diseases and Celiac.)

Anyway, I hope this gives you a head start. We'll look forward to your next post: we have wonderful people here with a wide range of experience to share, so I'm glad you found us. Bye for now, with warm wishes, Vee