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Hello & welcome! I'm just a patient & can't know if this is lupus, but I think seeing a rheumatologist makes sense. Have you seen the sticky posts (permanent info posts) at the top of the thread list? All have useful info, incl. symptoms, how lupus is diagnosed, reading suggestions, etc.

In the sticky with criteria, you'll see 11 criteria developed by the ACR (American College of Rheumatology). These are odd at first, because they aren't necessarily the most frequent symptoms. Instead they're the things that, in concert, best distinguish lupus from other conditions. Generally (but not always) you must meet 4 of the 11 to be diagnosed with the "systemic" form of lupus. These can be met over time, not necessarily all at once. As my rheumie explained it, envision checking each, once met, in indelible ink.

In the "criteria" sticky, you'll also see so-called "alternative" criteria, which are things seen earlier in life in people who later develop lupus. Given how the ACR criteria should be applied & how these alternative criteria highlight interesting history, it's very important that rheumies take a LIFETIME medical history! You could take one along Monday. (On mine, I listed symptoms in chronological order, but showing each just once, annotating defining characteristics, dates & durations & frequencies, etc. I kept this mess to less than one page, for readability. I also took recent lab results.)

During my first appt., rheumie started by reviewing lifetime medical history. Then quick physical exam = heart, lungs, BP, joints, skin, etc. Then new bloodwork, which included standard stuff like CBC & also a broad array of specialized autoimmune blood tests. Also urinalysis. Then shipped off to other germane specialists (in my case, dermatopathologist for one last skin biopsy).

I hope your rheumatologist initially thinks broadly, meaning considers all the "close cousins", like lupus, RA, Sjogren's syndrome, MCTD, UCTD, etc.

I think the classic mouth sores seen in lupus are pretty distinctive & are painless (well, maybe until they're "open" enough to react to dental products, acidic food, etc.)

Skin problems are common in lupus, but the rashes that are lupus-specific are well-defined & can be accurately diagnosed via skin biopsy & sometimes add'l immune stain tests. Lupus rashes include malar (facial butterfly), discoid (coin-shaped that scar &/or depigment), SCLE annular or psoriasiform (one is targetlike, the other resembles psoriasis; these tend NOT to scar or depigment & do tend to be horribly photosensitive), tumid, bulllous (watery blisters), etc. (That's a partial list but includes the most common.)

Dry eyes & mouth are probably seen in many conditions---including lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, due to certain drugs, etc.---but certainly should be mentioned. VERY dry mouth should be especially interesting (say, dry enough to cause tongue to stick to mouth, or to impede swallowing.)

Anyway, I hope something above helps a little. I hope you keep posting here (we're good company :D). Post again when you have time, OK? Wishing you good luck tomorrow! Sincerely, Vee





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