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My aunt has lupus and my oldest sister was recently diagnosed with lupus. Should I go get tested for lupus?

If you have any symptoms of lupus (see list below), testing may be beneficial.  However, most doctors don’t recommend screening tests for lupus if you’re asymptomatic.  For example, serum ANA is a good marker for lupus and is positive in over 95% of patients with lupus.  However, only about 25% of the general population are also positive for this marker.  Therefore, a positive test is not indicative that you have lupus.

Signs and Symptoms of Lupus:

  1. Red rashes, most commonly around the nose and cheeks
  2. Unusual loss of hair
  3. Painful or swollen joints and muscle pain
  4. Unexplained fever
  5. Chest pain on deep breathing
  6. Hypersensitivity to the sun
  7. Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  8. Swelling in lower extremities or around eyes
  9. Mouth ulcers
  10. Extreme fatigue