Tests for Blood Cell Abnormalities
Blood cell abnormalities often accompany
People suspected of having lupus are
usually tested for anemia, leukopenia, and
Tests for anemia include those for hemoglobin,
hematocrit, and red blood cell (RBC) count.
In addition, the levels of iron, total ironbinding
capacity, and ferritin may be tested.
At any time during the course of the disease,
about 40% of patients with SLE will be
anemic. The anemia may be caused by iron
deficiency, GI bleeding, medications, or
autoantibody formation to RBCs.
diagnosed, about 50% of patients have
a form of anemia in which the concentration
of hemoglobin and the size of the RBCs are
This is called normochromicnormocytic
anemia, or "anemia of chronic
disease." Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, with
a positive Coombs test, is much less common.
Abnormalities in the white blood cell (WBC)
and platelet counts are an important indicator
Leukopenia, a decrease in the
number of WBCs, is very common in active
SLE and is found in 15-20% of patients.
Thrombocytopenia,or a low platelet count,
occurs in 25-35% of patients with SLE.
Source: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Dept of Health and Human Services