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Complement Test for Lupus - Topic Overview

A complement test uses a blood sample to detect a group of proteins that help the body attack foreign substances.

When there are a lot of foreign substances in the body, such as bacteria or viruses, a low level of complement means the body is trying to get rid of the foreign substances. If the body is attacking its own tissues instead of foreign substances (as in autoimmune diseases such as lupus), a low level of complement may mean that the body is attacking and damaging tissues such as the kidneys.

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Lab Tests for Lupus

Lupus is a difficult disease to diagnose because its symptoms can be vague. And unlike some other diseases, it cannot be diagnosed with a single lab test. However, when certain clinical criteria are met, lab tests can help confirm a diagnosis of lupus. Blood work and other tests can also help monitor the disease and show the effects of treatment. WebMD takes a look at the uses and limitations of the tests that are commonly used to diagnose and monitor lupus.

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The complement test can be repeated at regular intervals. This helps monitor the progress of the disease.

    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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