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All the ladies that have been having extreme fatigue, nausea, etc. Have they ever been to a Rheumatologist for a Lupus test ??? I have Lupus and it seems very similiar to the symptoms I've been experiencing for the past 8 or 9 months, off and on. That might help them if they could, because Lupus has many symptoms and I was misdiagnosed for over 30 years. I just hope my new symptoms aren't indicative of a newer problem. DLB

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Let me begin by saying there is no Lupus test. There are tests that can indicate Lupus, but there is no absolute test for Lupus. ANA is a test that is used to screen for autoimmune disease. ANA stands for anti-nuclear anti-bodies. A small percentage of people test positive for ANA, but do not have any auto-immune disease. There are also people with auto-immune disease that do not test positive for ANA. The difficulty in diagnosing Lupus, as in other auto-immune diseases, is that there are many diseases that share common symptoms, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and others.  There are 11 criteria for diagnosing Lupus. You must have at least 4 to be diagnosed. I have Sjogren's Syndrome, Reynaud's Phenomenon, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and fibromyalgia. It took years, and much research on my part, asking for tests, to get diagnosed. I had a primary care physician that diagnosed me with Lupus based upon one ANA test. I do not have Lupus. I do have certain of the criteria, but not enough to be diagnosed with Lupus. That is not to say I won't in the future develop Lupus, many times Sjogren's patients go on to develop Lupus, but I am hoping to be one of the lucky ones.

If you have these kinds of symptoms it is important to educate yourself and demand the tests. If you suspect auto-immune disease, get to a rheumatologist, if you suspect thyroid disease, see an endocrinologist. I was told by three doctors that I did not have hypothyroidism, even though I had all the classic symptoms, because they did not order the appropriate tests.  Not all doctors graduated at the top of their class. Some of them squeaked by. Some may have the knowledge, but due to overbooking and other managerial and insurance restrictions, do not order the tests unless you insist. You must be the leader in your own healthcare.

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