Diagnosing lupus is also a long process
Lupus can only be diagnosed in patients who have at least 4 of the 11 common signs and symptoms of the disease. Almost everyone who has an underlying lupus diagnosis scores positive in the antinuclear antibodies test (ANA). However, scoring positive on this test alone does not guarantee a lupus diagnosis.
In order to corroborate the disease in the patient, the physician must conduct an exhaustive physical examination, since the patient may have an undiscovered skin rash, arthritis, or edema in the ankles. The patient may also show an abnormal sound in the heart called pericardial rub, which suggests that the organ might have been compromised by the disease. Lastly, the physician must conduct several neurological exams to determine if the brain and nervous systems have been affected.