Hello. I am a 29 year old female with a laundry list of troubling symptoms that have developed over the past 6 weeks. I would greatly appreciate some insight from an expert or fellow users.
First, I have a family history (on both sides) of autoimmune disorders: Celiac disease, Sjogren's, Type 1 diabetes, and others, and my dad is currently being treated for sarcoidosis. My past medical history includes severe ear infections, persistently enlarged lymph nodes for no obvious reason, appendicitis, back and neck pain (cervical fusion performed in 2010), and undiagnosed pelvic pain. I am severely allergic to sulfa drugs, experienced debilitating "growing pains" as a child, and began losing my hair by the handful in my early twenties. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2009.
About 6 weeks ago, I suffered a severe sunburn on my face, upper chest, and arms within minutes of being in the sun. A week later, I began having vision problems and was diagnosed by an opthalmologist with a Roth spot in my right eye. The following week I began to experience overwhelming fatigue, red and achy joints in my hands and wrists, severe morning stiffness, and headaches. I then broke out in a flaming red rash across my nose and cheeks that burned and was warm to the touch. My palms also began to burn. These symptoms are completely new for me. Over the past few weeks, they have been worse on some days and less severe on others. Every day I seem to have a different combination of these symptoms.
What is confusing to me is that my opthalmologist ordered a CBC and ANA panel when he found my Roth spot. Nothing abnormal showed up in my blood work. All of my symptoms seem to suggest lupus, and I know that something is wrong with me. Is it possible that the blood work just doesn't yet show that I have lupus? That perhaps my ANA will turn positive in future but I could still be developing lupus now? Are there other conditions with these symptoms that I haven't yet considered?
I have an appointment with my GP later this week, and I'm so worried that he'll just take one look at my negative ANA and tell me that there's nothing wrong with me. I don't WANT to have lupus, of course, but I do want to figure out what's wrong so that it can be dealt with. Any advice or information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has identified 11 characteristics that should be present for diagnosis of SLE or lupus and it is important that at least 4 of the characteristics should be present for a confirmed diagnosis. This includes serositis (pleurisy or pericardiatis, since you had bronchial infection, ask your doctor to check for pleurisy or inflammation of lining of lung), mouth ulcer, low WBC or leucopenia/anemia (hemolytic)/thrombocytopenia/lymphopenia, arthritis, kidney involvement, high ANA, finding of Smith Antibody (Anti-Smith)/ dsDNA/ antiphospholipid antibodies (anticardiolipin immunoglobulin G [IgG] or immunoglobulin M [IgM] or lupus anticoagulant), neurological features like seizures and psychosis, discoid rash and malar rash.
Definitely the possibility of hypothyroidism, ischemic events in brain (through brain MRI), and diabetes should be looked at as you have Roth spot. Take care!
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