Patients with SLE can show a wide variety of symptoms as well as different combinations of organ involvement. As a result, there is no single test used to diagnosis systemic lupus. Eleven criteria were established by the American Rheumatism Association to help doctors correctly diagnose SLE. Some patients suspected of having SLE may never develop enough criteria for a definite diagnosis. When a person has four or more of these criteria, the diagnosis of SLE is strongly suggested.
While there is no permanent cure for SLE, treatments are used to relieve symptoms and protect organs by decreasing inflammation and level of autoimmune activity. Patients with mild symptoms may only need treatment with anti-inflammatory medications during symptom flares. More serious illness involving internal organs may require high doses of corticosteroids and other medications used to suppress the immune system.
Reviewed by: Michael Fuller, MD