Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Lupus Diagnosis

Lupus can be a difficult condition to diagnose. This is largely due to the fact that its symptoms are systemic (meaning they affect multiple body systems and structures) and can vary in presentation and severity from person to person. For this reason, the symptoms of lupus can be easily mistaken for those of other health conditions or diseases.

There is no one test that is used to diagnose lupus. Rather, your healthcare provider will likely use a combination of diagnostic tests and exams to confirm a diagnosis of lupus.

The first step to diagnosing lupus15 is assessing your personal and familial medical histories. Because lupus and certain other autoimmune diseases have a genetic component, it’s important that your healthcare provider knows whether any related conditions run in your family. Your healthcare provider may ask a thorough list of questions about your own symptoms and prior health conditions, as well as those experienced by your close relatives.

A physical exam may be performed to examine any possible skin rashes or lesions, while lab testing (most commonly, blood and urine tests) can help provide clearer indications of the signs of lupus.

The most common blood test used in the diagnosis of lupus is called the antinuclear antibody (ANA) test. A positive ANA test may indicate that your body is more likely to make autoantibodies against lupus. However, even a positive result does not guarantee that you have lupus. Your healthcare provider may order additional, more specific lupus tests if you have a positive ANA test.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may also order a biopsy, or tissue sample, of your skin or kidney tissue. The biopsy sample may confirm the presence of an autoimmune disease when viewed under a microscope.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.