The symptoms of lupus can appear at any time in life and after the first crisis, they can manifest from time to time and therefore the treatment must be maintained for life. Lupus is a disease in which the immune system starts to attack the cells of the body itself, leading to the appearance of some symptoms, the main ones being:
- Red spot on the face in the shape of a butterfly wing;
- Skin patches that peel and heal;
- Appearance of small wounds, which hurt, in the corner of the mouth or inside the nose;
- Skin spots that appear after exposure to the sun;
- Pain or swelling in one or more joints;
- Episodes of seizures without apparent cause.
Lupus is most often identified in women between 20 and 40 years of age and that its development may be associated with genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to ultraviolet radiation, hormonal factors and viral infections, for example. In the presence of signs and symptoms possibly indicative of lupus, it is important that the rheumatologist is consulted so that tests are done to help confirm the diagnosis and, thus, it is possible to start the most appropriate treatment.
How the diagnosis is made
To confirm the diagnosis of lupus, the rheumatologist can indicate the performance of some blood and urine tests, in addition to the evaluation of the signs and symptoms presented by the person. The main tests recommended are blood count and FAN test, which is a useful test for diagnosing autoimmune diseases.
The main changes in the tests that may be indicative of lupus are:
- Too many proteins in several urine tests in a row;
- Decrease in the number of erythrocytes, or red blood cells, in the blood test;
- Leukocytes with a value less than 4,000 / mL in the blood test;
- Decrease in the number of platelets in at least 2 blood tests;
- Lymphocytes with a value less than 1,500 / mL in the blood test;
- Presence of native anti-DNA or anti-Sm antibody in the blood test;
- Presence of anti-nuclear antibodies above normal in the blood test.
In addition, the doctor may also order other diagnostic tests such as chest X-rays or kidney biopsies to identify whether there are inflammatory lesions in the organs, which may be caused by lupus.