Since the symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can be so diverse, diagnosing lupus is often not easy. It is not uncommon for people affected by lupus to be treated for a long time by the family doctor or even rheumatologists because of joint problems before the diagnosis of lupus is made. In the diagnosis of lupus different parameters are considered. There are a number of aids to the diagnosis of the lupus diagnosis and the course of the disease.
Lupus: diagnosis thanks to ACR criteria
The American Collage of Rheumatology (ACR) has for many years set up a catalog of criteria to help diagnose lupus. This includes eleven criteria - typical lupus symptoms and symptoms such as skin changes and joint pain, including laboratory findings such as blood changes (reduced number of red or white blood cells or platelets), certain autoantibodies in the blood (against DNA, ribonucleoproteins, phospholipids) and in the Microscopy (antinuclear antibodies = ANA). If four of the eleven criteria are present, the diagnosis of SLE is likely (80-90%).
Lupus diagnosis using SLE indices
In addition to the widely used ACR catalog, there are various other criteria lists that can be used to diagnose and assess the disease in terms of its severity. This in turn is necessary to optimize the lupus therapy. These indices also evaluate complaints, examination results and laboratory values, sometimes even separated according to organ systems.
All have advantages and disadvantages. Some do not consider the worsening of already existing symptoms, other non-subjective complaints such as tiredness, others do not distinguish between mild symptoms and organ changes. Some are more suitable than others for assessing the disease in children. Here are the most important lupus indices:
- Systemic Lupus activity measure (SLAM): scale with three degrees of severity
- British siles Lupus assessment group (BILAG): scale with four degrees of severity
- Systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI)
- SLE "damage index"
- European Consensus Lupus Activity Measurement (ECLAN)