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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 48737
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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im wondering if I may have lupus. I have suffered from joint

Customer Question

i'm wondering if I may have lupus. I have suffered from joint pain & inflammation & general muscle & body pain & total fatigue & severe feelings of depressionfor long periods of time since I was 14/15. symptoms disappear completely for several years then flare up aggressively, have had numerous blood tests which have ruled out arthritis &rheumatoid arthritis but I have never received a diagnosis. I am reluctant to make another Dr's appointment as they always seem to feel that i'm malingering & there's nothing the matter. My mother has lupus erythmatoses(probably nor correct spelling) as does her sister & mother & maternal aunt also had it. My 14 year old daughter is now displaying sporadic symptoms of joint swelling in her hands & feet & rashes on her skin. I have never had significant skin rashes but redness in patches on face, broken blood vessels & random flare ups of excema type flare ups on body. I have not had any symptoms for a number of years after getting steroid injections & the birth of my daughter but am now feeling really unwell. have pain & swelling in knees & feel exhausted all the time & I'm also noticing a great deal of hair loss which I've been putting down to stress & hair dye. I wake up every day aching everywhere feeling like I've got flu or something & it's so hard to do anything. I just need someone to believe that i'm not making it up or exaggerating & malingering & find out whats wrong with me
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 4 years ago.
This is Dr. David

if you have a strong history of lupus, you very well could have lupus.

the only way to know for sure is to get blood testing for lupus. it is quite extensive, but you can start with an ANA or antinuclear antibody test to see if this is positive or not. also ESR is a common blood test to check for inflammation in the body which is often elevated in patients who have lupus.

it sounds like your symptoms are very real and not made up.

the full blood testing panel for lupus is quite long and include

antibodies to double-stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA) tests,
antibodies to histone tests,
antibodies to phospholipids,
antibodies to Ro/SS-A and La/SS-B,
antibodies to Sm target Sm proteins in the cell nucleus,
antibodies to RNP target ribonucleoproteins

you don't have to have this full panel at first, but if the ANA test is positive or if the ESR or C reactive protein tests are positive, you should see a rheumatologist to get the full lupus panel.

It might be best if you can get in to see a rheumatology specialist for the ANA tests to check if you have lupus. they will understand your symptoms and family history issues better than a general practitioner.

I hope this helps

let me know if you have other questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have seen a rheumatologist & undergone many blood tests which have shown nothing. I know that I feel pain & tiredness all the time when I have symptoms but nothing has ever been diagnosed by the tests. Would lupus be something they would test for as I was unaware of the family history when I last saw my dr?

Expert:  Dr. David replied 4 years ago.
often times symptoms of lupus will occur before your blood testing is positive for lupus. the length of time it takes before lupus can be diagnosed is highly variable; it may take weeks, months or years. 3 years is not an uncommon length of time for many people to have symptoms before being diagnosed. in some cases, it can take as long as 10 years before enough evidence has accumulated to indicate that it is lupus.

it is a good idea to continue to repeat your ANA testing to continue to test for lupus.

make sure they specifically test for ANA or antinuclear antibody tests.

mention your family history again to your doctor and make sure they repeat another ANA blood test for you.