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SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, U.S.Department of Health and Human Services: Link to NIH
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Tests for Blood Cell Abnormalities

Blood cell abnormalities often accompany SLE.

People suspected of having lupus are usually tested for anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia.

Anemia

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.

When first diagnosed, about 50% of patients have a form of anemia in which the concentration of hemoglobin and the size of the RBCs are normal.

This is called normochromicnormocytic anemia, or "anemia of chronic disease." Autoimmune hemolytic anemia, with a positive Coombs test, is much less common.

Leukopenia and Thrombocytopenia

Abnormalities in the white blood cell (WBC) and platelet counts are an important indicator of SLE.

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



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