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  • Do you think I have Lupus? My parents think I overreact

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    Old 08-10-2011, 05:40 PM   #1
    mparoca's Avatar
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    Unhappy Do you think I have Lupus? My parents think I overreact


    I'm a 22 year old female. I've been having strange symptoms and malaise for about 3 or 4 years now but the people I tell, including my parents, seem to think I'm a hypochondriac and won't pay any attention. I took an ANA test on january and it came back positive but the doctor said it was a low mark, that it might be a mistaken result and was not significant enough to make any diagnosis, since the rest of my bloodwork came back normal.

    The first symptom I developed was extreme fatigue. Couldn't get out of bed, and no matter how much I slept I still felt week and tired. Since i'm a college student, my marks dropped significantly because I was not able to get out of bed to go to the classes (even though I do love school). I went to the doctor and he said I should see a psychiatrist and he diagnosed clinical depression for which I was in antidepressants, but they didn't seem to work at all.

    At this point I decided to stop taking that crap and stop seeing the psychiatrist and began self medicating. I found Strattera, which is a little similar to ritalin and it helped me get out of bed and concentrate but the effect wore off over time so right now i'm on provigil. When I don't take it I can't get out of bed, but when I do I function normally.

    The second symptom is that my knees, wrists and elbows ache really bad sometimes, the pain is kind of what growing pains felt like. It comes and goes, and it worsens on cold days.

    Third symptom is a rash on my face. It gets worse when I'm stressed out. It's mostly on my cheeks and nose but it doesn't connect, like it would in a malar rash. It seems separate.

    I've also developed photosensitivity. My classes and my work place (i'm a research assistant) have fluorescent lights and if I don't wear sunblock, or sometimes when I wear sunblock I feel as if I was burning alive. When I leave college, and go home (I don't have fluorescent lights at home) I immediately feel better but usually feel more tired than normal and with flu-like symptoms.

    Another weird thing is my palms sometimes, usually when i'm under the lights, or stressed turn really red and itch like crazy.

    I have some serious problems with memory, which I did not have in the past, and they affect my schoolwork as well.

    The last symptom is extremely personal, and I'm sorry if it's offensive to some, but I don't seem to have a sex drive at all and that affects my relationships.

    This is usually the rash that comes and goes but since it's not a perfect malar rash, I don't know whether I should pursue a diagnosis or just leave it alone.

    I'm sorry for the overly long thread but I need some more information to convince my parents (they are my source of income) to let me see a rheumatologist or some other doctor. I feel sick and my schoolwork suffers so I need to know if i'm crazy or if my concern is legitimate.

    Thanks a lot

    Last edited by moderator2; 08-10-2011 at 08:32 PM. Reason: please use the message boards anonymously - do not post a real picture of yourself

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    Old 08-11-2011, 04:22 AM   #2
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    Re: Do you think I have Lupus? My parents think I overreact

    mparoca, hi & welcome. You mention things that my drs. missed, so I'll ask questions that hark back to the sticky posts (permanent info posts) at the top of the thread list, as that's a great place to start reading more.

    1. ANA alone can't diagnose anything because it's positive in multiple conditions, in rheumatology, neurology, endocrinology, etc., you name it! It's also sometimes positive simply due to a passing virus, etc. But when accompanied by symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, rashes, etc., I think it makes sense to see a rheumatologist. Have you?

    2. One "sticky" lists 11 complex criteria for SLE, consisting of skin symptoms, lab results, etc. Drs. should take a thorough LIFETIME medical history, do a physical exam, and run the sort of tests you see cited. Have they? (Those tests would include specialized tests for "ANA subtypes", such as anti-ds-DNA, anti-Sm, anti-Ro, anti-La, anti-RNP, etc.---there are a bunch!)

    3. "Growing pains" are one of the "alternative criteria", and should be a red flag to a doctor. When did yours first occur, and did standard bloodwork reveal anomalies? (Mine hit at 13, and included elevated sed rate, depressed white blood count, fever, crippling long-lasting joint pain, fatigue, etc. Such things in your past should raise eyebrows!)

    4. Has a dermatologist seen your facial redness? Or your reaction to fluorescent lighting?

    5. Did your drs. review all prescription, OTC, and alternative meds you've taken in the past few years? Some drugs can actually CAUSE a form called drug-induced lupus (DILE); and some drugs can exacerbate problems in people who ALREADY have systemic lupus (SLE).

    Obviously I'm only a patient & can't know if you have lupus, some "close cousin", or something else entirely. But I hope the questions encourage you to think on what's gone down so far with your drs., and how that might be improved upon. Post more soon, OK? Sending warm wishes, Vee

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