What can be done to ensure that lupus is diagnosed earlier rather than later?
Dr. Mark Mamula is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (Rheumatology) at Yale University’s School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.
Dr. Mark Mamula is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (Rheumatology) at Yale University’s School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.See all of Mark Mamula, PhD's answers.
Lupus can be a complicated disease both to diagnose and to treat effectively. People with lupus can have a variety of symptoms, including skin and joint abnormalities, as well as symptoms that affect the heart, central nervous system, and/or kidneys. For these reasons, the diagnosis of lupus is generally made based on the individual’s symptoms and the results of their laboratory tests.
The laboratory tests that typically confirm a diagnosis of lupus include autoantibodies directed against a variety of cellular components, including DNA and other 'self' proteins (histones, Ro/SSA and La/SSB, for example). It is rare to find a person with lupus-like symptoms who does not have one or more of the autoantibodies diagnosed by the laboratory test typical for lupus. In general, the total amounts and the specific types of autoantibodies can also be indicators of the severity and prognosis of the disease.
Medically reviewed on July 21, 2013Submit a Question to the Experts