Lupus is a kind of systemic autoimmune disease that is caused by the abnormal behavior of your immune system, where it attacks your own organs and tissues. Lupus can result in inflammation which affects different body systems like skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood cells etc.
Lupus diagnosis can be difficult as its symptoms and signs vary from person to person. Lupus symptoms often mimic other diseases, causing another obstacle in diagnosing lupus. Therefore, lupus cannot be diagnosed with a single test. A combination of physical examinations and blood and urine tests will be needed to find out whether you are suffering from lupus or not.
Following are some of the common tests which are conducted to diagnose lupus.
It includes both blood and urine tests:
- Complete blood count
This test is used to determine the count of different elements in blood, like RBC, WBC, platelets along with the amount of hemoglobin and protein present in the red blood cells. From the result, you can find out the presence of anemia which is one of the common lupus symptoms. If you have lupus, then the count of white blood cells and platelets will be low.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
This test examines the rate at which the red blood cells accumulate at the bottom of a tube in an hour. If the rate is higher than normal, then it might be an indication of lupus. However, the test cannot confirm lupus, as the result will be the same for some other infections and inflammatory diseases and even cancer.
Kidney and liver assessment
As lupus can affect the functioning of organs like kidneys and liver, the assessment of these organs will be helpful in determining the presence of lupus.
One of the lupus symptoms, when it affects your kidneys, will be the presence of protein and red blood cells in your urine. Therefore analysis of urine can be used for lupus diagnosis.
Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test
These antibodies are produced by your immune system; hence, their presence is an indication of stimulated immune system. If the result of ANA test is positive, it indicates the chance for lupus. However, a positive ANA does not always mean the presence of lupus. It may be the result of some other diseases. Therefore, if you have a positive ANA, then the doctor will advise you to conduct more specific antibody testing.