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Saturday, December 7, 2013
my mother was recently diagnosed with lupus. she has seen numerous doctors for over two years and they are just now diagnosing her with lupus. two years ago the doctors said she did not have enough symptoms to have lupus. my question is, " with them taking so long to diagnose her does this put her at anymore of a risk than she already is?` thank you for answering my question about myself being at risk to have lupus since my mother has it?
The problem in diagnosing lupus and similar auto immune diseases is that we do not know enough about these diseases to make an early diagnosis. A lot more research needs to be done before we would be able to diagnose lupus in a very early stage. At present, a set of (arbitrary) criteria is used to diagnose lupus (These criteria are based on enormous research on this disease - some 30 years ago we had none of these criteria and the tests that we do today were hardly available). Most doctors will prefer not to diagnose lupus until the patients fulfill these criteria, mostly because some symptoms of lupus commonly occur in other diseases and it would not be good for the psychological health of the patient to be labeled with a serious disease without being quite certain about it. With regard to any increased risk due to a possible delay in diagnosis, the correct answer is that we do not know at this stage if an early diagnosis would have prevented any future complications. Lets hope that further research in the field would help us and other patients better deal with these issues.
Ram Raj Singh, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati