Diagnosis and Treatment: Many symptoms of lupus mimic those of other illnesses, and symptoms can come and go over time, which makes diagnosis more difficult. Because lupus can attack nearly any system of the body at any given time, lupus can seem to be a number of unconnected health problems within the same patient.
Lupus rashes are easily be dismissed by doctors diagnosing them as eczema or allergic skin reactions and rashes. Before my lupus diagnosis, over the years my discoid lupus rashes were diagnosed as a “sun allergy”, eczema, strawberry allergies, and infected rashes. Lupus joint pain, stiffness and inflammation are easily misdiagnosed as osteo arthritis, tendonitis or suspected to be rheumatoid arthritis. The brain fog of lupus, and its more severe lupus involvement in the central nervous system is at times misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, or even depression. My lupus oral and nasal ulcers were misdiagnosed for years as infections, and even suspected and biopsied to see if they were cancerous lesions.
These changing presentation of lupus symptoms can take years before a doctor finally puts the different pieces together and sees the connection between the various symptoms and lupus. Consequently, lupus can often take three to five years or more to diagnose, and as many doctors. It is important the a patient who suspects they may have lupus to continue to persist in seeking medical care and a diagnosis.