How To Test For Lupus

Lab Tests for Lupus
Lab Tests for Lupus from


Lupus, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be a challenging condition to diagnose due to its varied symptoms and the lack of a specific test for lupus. However, there are several tests that doctors commonly use to help diagnose lupus and monitor its progression. In this article, we will discuss the different tests used to test for lupus and how they can help in the diagnosis and management of this condition.

Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test

The antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is often one of the first tests performed to determine if a person may have lupus. This blood test looks for the presence of antibodies that target the nucleus of cells. A positive ANA test result indicates that there may be an autoimmune response occurring in the body, but it does not confirm a lupus diagnosis on its own. Further testing is needed to confirm the presence of lupus.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that measures various components of the blood, including red and white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets. People with lupus often have abnormalities in their blood cell counts, such as anemia (low red blood cell count) or leukopenia (low white blood cell count). These abnormalities can provide important clues in the diagnosis of lupus.

Complement Levels

The complement system is a group of proteins in the blood that play a role in the body’s immune response. In people with lupus, complement levels may be low, indicating ongoing inflammation and immune system activation. Complement levels can be measured through a blood test, and abnormal levels may suggest the presence of lupus or other autoimmune conditions.


A urinalysis is a test that examines a urine sample for various abnormalities. In lupus, kidney involvement is common, and a urinalysis can help detect signs of kidney damage or inflammation. The presence of protein or red blood cells in the urine may indicate kidney involvement and the need for further evaluation.

Autoantibody Tests

There are specific autoantibodies that are commonly associated with lupus, such as anti-dsDNA (double-stranded DNA) and anti-Smith antibodies. These antibodies can be detected through blood tests and are helpful in confirming a lupus diagnosis. However, it’s important to note that not all people with lupus will have these specific antibodies, and their absence does not rule out the presence of lupus.

Skin Biopsy

In certain cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to help diagnose lupus. A small piece of skin is removed and examined under a microscope to look for characteristic changes associated with lupus, such as inflammation or deposition of immune complexes. A skin biopsy can be particularly useful in cases where skin involvement is prominent.

Imaging Tests

In some situations, imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans may be ordered to assess organ damage or inflammation associated with lupus. These tests can provide valuable information about the extent of organ involvement and help guide treatment decisions.

Genetic Testing

While there is no specific genetic test for lupus, certain genetic markers may increase the risk of developing the condition. Testing for these markers can be helpful in certain cases, especially in individuals with a family history of lupus. However, it’s important to note that having these genetic markers does not guarantee the development of lupus.


Testing for lupus involves a combination of blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests, and sometimes skin biopsies. These tests, along with a thorough evaluation of a person’s symptoms and medical history, can help healthcare professionals diagnose lupus and determine the most appropriate treatment plan. If you suspect you may have lupus, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional who can guide you through the diagnostic process and provide the necessary support and treatment.

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