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Melissa, Hello & welcome. I'm sorry about your symptoms & test results. First off, have you been put on any meds? And is your dr. a rheumatologist?

Next, have you done any reading on lupus? You could start with the "sticky posts" (permanent info posts) at the top of the thread list. One lists the ACR criteria for Dx'ing systemic lupus (SLE). These criteria strict: you must meet at least 4 of the 11 at some time (not necessarily all at once) to support a Dx of SLE. (FYI, these criteria are for classic lupus (SLE). There are other, typically milder forms for which you may meet less than 4 criteria.)

Another "sticky" provides info on tests. Very confusing---because there *isn't* any single test that proves lupus. Instead, you go back to those ACR criteria, some of which are tests & some of which are symptoms.

The last "sticky" is about APS, antiphospholipid syndrome, a blood clotting disorder seen in lupus & also sometimes standalone. Did you test positive for this? Some positive people actually don't require meds; others take just aspirin; and some must take stronger blood thinners like Coumadin.

About RF: I understand it's positive in some (but not 100%) of people who have RA, but it can also be positive in lupus. Were joint X-rays done?

Also, there are lupus hardcovers in most libraries & bookstores. Look for Dr. Daniel Wallace &/or Dr. Robert Lahita. You'll find a wealth of detail in these books, including symptoms, tests, types of lupus, meds, and how drs. tell lupus from other diseases & conditions (like RA, scleroderma, fibromyalgia, Sjogren's syndrome, mild MS, etc.).

But the single most important thing to know right now is this: many people with lupus can stay relatively mild, with medication & regular checkups. Lupus does NOT "necessarily" progress into the worst things (like kidney or brain involvement). So, post more when you can, OK? You'll meet a lot of nice people here who are always willing to help in whatever ways they can. Bye for now, with very best wishes, from Vee

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