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A physical exam for suspected
lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) includes
a thorough check of your skin, joints, lungs and breathing, nervous system, and
The medical history includes questions about:
A physical exam and medical
history are done to evaluate symptoms. The parts of the body that are examined,
and the questions that are asked, depend on which diseases your doctor suspects
or thinks are most likely.
Your doctor will use certain criteria to
distinguish lupus from other
autoimmune and rheumatic diseases. You may have all of
the lupus-related conditions at once, or you may experience them over a period
If you have at least 4 of these 11 conditions, you
likely will be classified as having lupus.
Lupus is hard to diagnose, because
its symptoms are similar to those of many other disorders. A few nonspecific
symptoms may persist for years before other problems develop.
classic lupus symptoms develop quickly, lupus can be more easily diagnosed. If
the symptoms are nonspecific or occur off and on, or if test results are
inconclusive, it may take months or even years to make a definite
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
Hahn BH (2012). Systemic lupus erythematosus. In DL Longo et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2724–2735. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
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