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Lupus: Criteria for Diagnosis


Topic Overview

The following criteria are used to distinguish lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) from other autoimmune and rheumatic diseases.

A person with 4 of these 11 conditions can be classified as having lupus. These conditions may be present all at once or they may appear in succession over a period of time.1

  • Butterfly (malarClick here to see an illustration.) rash on cheeks
  • Rash on face, arms, neck, torso (discoid rash)
  • Skin rashes that result from exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light (photosensitivity)
  • Mouth or nasal sores (ulcers), usually painless
  • Joint swelling, stiffness, pain involving two or more joints (arthritis)
  • Inflammation of the membranes surrounding the lungs (pleuritis) or heart (pericarditis).
  • Abnormalities in urine, such as increased protein or clumps of red blood cells or kidney cells, called cell casts, in the urine
  • Nervous system problems, such as seizures or psychosis, without known cause
  • Problems with the blood, such as reduced numbers of red blood cells (anemia), platelets, or white blood cells
  • Laboratory tests indicating increased autoimmune activity (antibodies against normal tissue)
  • Positive antinuclear antibody (ANA) test

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Petri MA (2005). Systemic lupus erythematosus: Clinical aspects. In WJ Koopman, LW Moreland, eds., Arthritis and Allied Conditions: A Textbook of Rheumatology, 15th ed., vol. 2, pp.1473–1496. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerStanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology
Last RevisedMay 7, 2010

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