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Exams and Tests

Lupus can be hard to recognize, and it sometimes takes weeks to years to diagnose. Lupus affects different people in different ways. And it can take time for symptoms to develop.

Your doctor will record your medical history and do a physical exam. He or she will check for certain criteria to help diagnose lupus. These criteria include the butterfly rashcamera.gif and joint swelling.

Diagnosis and disease monitoring

If you have symptoms of lupus and you have a positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) test result, further testing may not be needed.

If your doctor feels that further testing is needed, you may have one or more of the following tests:

Checking for possible organ damage

As part of ongoing treatment for lupus, you may have a:

  • Urinalysis to check for protein and cells, signs of possible kidney problems.
  • Kidney biopsy, if your doctor sees signs of kidney inflammation. This test may help your doctor find the best treatment for you. Only a small number of people with lupus need a kidney biopsy.

To look for other possible causes of symptoms, imaging tests are sometimes done, depending on which organ systems are involved. Imaging tests include CT scan, echocardiogram, MRI, and X-rays.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 10, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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