Lupus (SLE) is not necessarily a progressive, fatal disease. In fact, today with good treatment, 80-90% of the people with lupus can expect to live a normal life span.
Although some people with lupus have severe recurrent attacks and are frequently hospitalized, most people with lupus rarely require hospitalization but their disease can cycle and become better and then worse or remain the same.
The diagnosis of lupus is based on a combination of physical symptoms and serial laboratory results, such as antinuclear antibody (ANA) and anti-extractable nuclear antigen (anti-ENA) testing. Other tests routinely performed in suspected SLE are complement system levels (low levels suggest consumption by the immune system), electrolytes and renal function (disturbed if the kidney is involved), liver enzymes, and complete blood counts.
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