Why Lupus Is Difficult to Diagnose

Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disorder. For unknown reasons, the body begins attacking healthy tissue, causing pain and inflammation. Lupus is a difficult-to-diagnose, difficult-to-treat condition that flares up randomly and can last for a week or longer. 

Lupus can and often does appear alongside other conditions, but the length and severity of the symptoms can vary from person to person. To make things even harder when it comes to diagnosing lupus, a person with symptoms may experience a spectrum of severity. All of this makes it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. 

Fortunately, the more we treat lupus, the more we know. At Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay, Jeffree Miller, MD is a widely trusted and deeply reputed specialist who works closely with patients for a proper diagnosis for any condition, including lupus. 

Dr. Miller stays up-to-date on new lupus information to give you the best possible care with a treatment plan that keeps you healthy and comfortable. Here is his guide to what you need to know about lupus and why it’s so hard to diagnose.

What is lupus?

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or SLE, is a chronic condition with many symptoms that primarily affect the skin, internal organs, and joints. The exact cause of lupus remains unknown; however, Dr. Miller understands that lupus flare-ups can take the form of several uncomfortable symptoms, including: 

Though these symptoms can be seen across a spectrum of illnesses, there are additional risk factors for developing lupus. Around 90% of people living with lupus are women. Women who experience hormonal problems, have lupus in their families, have a history of viral infections, and use tobacco are at increased risk of developing lupus. Certain medications and gastrointestinal imbalances can also put you at risk of developing lupus. Other risk factors include being a member of a non-white race and being between the ages of 15 and 44.

With these difficult symptoms and the ambiguity of a proper diagnosis, Dr. Miller is ready to use his care and expertise with the latest treatments to help you to get comfortable, and stay as comfortable as possible. 

Why lupus is so difficult to diagnose

With a variety of symptoms that reflect several types of major issues, a person may experience symptoms of lupus for years before receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment. Trouble concentrating, joint pain, fatigue, and hair loss, though symptoms of lupus, could also indicate multiple sclerosis, certain thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, or even fibromyalgia. This variety of symptoms and the overlap with other conditions are what make lupus hard to diagnose. 

It’s not just the variety of symptoms and their overlap with other conditions, either. People living with lupus will typically have long, symptom-free periods that are followed by a flare-up of symptoms. These symptoms can be debilitating one year, and far more mild the following year, before rising in intensity again. Someone else who is living with lupus may be in constant pain for several weeks each year. They may have a painful rash and low fever, or they may have no fever, mild joint pain, and hair loss. However severe your lupus symptoms, Dr. Miller is ready with treatments that will improve your quality of life. 

We’re here to treat your lupus

Symptoms of lupus can worsen, improve, change, stop, or disappear without your knowledge. The unpredictable nature of lupus has the power to hamper your everyday routine, make it difficult to plan anything long-term, or even have a normal life. 

Osteoporosis and Rheumatology Center of Tampa Bay is where you can come for top-rated treatment and access to caring professionals. If you are or suspect that you may be living with lupus, don’t let the symptoms control your life. Call us today at 813-336-3793. If you can’t make time to call us during business hours, please book an appointment with us online. We’re looking forward to helping you triumph over your lupus symptoms.   

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