|INT'AL CLASS'N OF DISEASES | AIDS GLOSSARY | ANATOMY | DRUGS | USA STATS | CHINA STATS | GENOME DICTIONARY|
LUPUS ERYTHROMATOSUS A TO Z
SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Department of Health and Human Services: Link to NIH
Seeking a Diagnosis
It may take some time for a patient to be
definitively diagnosed with lupus. During
this time, patients may be confused or
frustrated by the seeming inability of the
doctors they visit to confirm the diagnosis.
"I can't put a handle on my symptoms. I'll have one today and a totally new one tomorrow."
"No one seems to believe me. My family thinks it is all in my head and they want me to see a psychiatrist. I am beginning to wonder if it is all in my head."
A lupus patient will, in all likelihood, be on intimate terms with her or his symptoms long before their cause is known. Realistically, she or he is the best authority on these symptoms.
A patient may feel frustrated if, after describing symptoms, others do not respect her or his knowledge or do not share the conviction that something is wrong.
If the doctor, family, or friends are unsupportive, the patient's fear, anger, and sense of isolation will only increase. These feelings add stress, which in tum can exacerbate the disease.
Health professionals can help ease these feelings by showing empathy during this difficult time and by reassuring the patient that the symptoms are real and merit serious attention.
In addition, treating the patient as a whole person, and not just as a subject with a disease, can be immensely valuable in establishing a trusting relationship with the patient.
Such a relationship will help the patient speak freely about symptoms or concerns that she or he may have been unwilling to discuss previously.
Source: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Dept of Health and Human Services