A test for levels of immune substances called C3 and C4 complement. C3 and C4 are often low in people with active lupus
A test for anti-DNA antibodies. This shows whether your immune system is attacking the genetic material of normal cells. The anti-DNA antibody test is usually only abnormal in patients with lupus.
A urinalysis, to test whether lupus may be affecting your kidneys
What Is the Treatment for Lupus?
Lupus is unpredictable and thus difficult to control, but close self-monitoring and proper treatment usually helps. People are often treated by doctors who are specialists in rheumatology. There are a number of treatment options now available:
A short course of corticosteroids, sometimes called simply "steroids," reduces inflammation and is recommended for flare-ups.
People with active, autoantibody-positive lupus may benefit from Benlysta (belimumab) in addition to standard drug therapy. The drug targets a protein involved in B cell development and reduces the number of abnormal B cells thought to be a problem in lupus. B cells are responsible for making the autoantibodies that cause lupus.
Mild skin rashes can be treated with over-the-counter corticosteroid creams. Some rashes may require prescription steroid creams, steroid injections, or drugs such as hydroxychloroquine.
Antidepressants and mild anti-anxiety drugs can help with the sleeping problems that frequently accompany lupus.
Cyclophosphamide or mycophenylate, drugs that suppress the immune system, may be used for severe cases of lupus that cause kidney damage or affect the brain.
Proper nutrition is important for people with lupus. A diet low in fat and high in essential fatty acids, with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, promotes general health and may decrease pain. Fatty, deep-water fish -- such as sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout -- or fish oil capsules may lessen joint pain. Talk to a nutritionist to create a personalized eating plan.
Taking a daily multivitamin, while not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet, helps ensure that you get the nutrients you need.
Rest eases the fatigue of lupus. But it's just as important to get appropriate exercise, particularly swimming and walking. Exercise increases muscle strength, eases joint stiffness, helps control weight, and helps in the prevention of bone loss. It also reduces stress and improves your outlook on life. Work with your doctor to create a fitness program well suited to your needs and abilities.