Newly diagnosed - few symptoms

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/13/2013 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Here's my story -

My first pregnancy ended in stillbirth at 23 weeks. I had a ton of bloodwork done at the hospital prior to delivery and one of my results was a positive ANA (1:640, speckled). I had this retested 7 weeks after my loss and the result was the same. I was negative for all specific antibodies except anti-RNP. Additionally, my C3 and C4 complement levels were each 1 point low. The rheumatologist said she thinks I have lupus and started me on a 6 week course of prednisone and plaquenil after which time she's going to retest everything.

I'm wondering if the diagnosis is premature in the absence of other clinical signs. I've had symptoms of Raynaud's since I was about 16 (~10 years now), but otherwise nothing that would have brought me to a doctor. I told the rheumatologist that occasionally the joints in my forefinger and thumb ache a little, but that I can usually relate it to something I've done (e.g. I do crossfit and lift heavy weights).

Any thoughts on whether a lupus diagnosis sounds appropriate? Do you think with this bloodwork I will eventually go on to develop symptoms and just happened to catch it early because of the pregnancy loss?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 10/13/2013 9:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Is the predisone helping you feel better?
If so then you might have it.
Usually the doctor tries out predisone and plaquenil to see if it helps with that kind of blood work. If you feel better then it's possible lupus.
Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Asthma, Hypothyriodism, Sleep Apnea, OA, Depression, Allergies, and benign familia tremors

When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Barbara Lee
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 2889
   Posted 10/13/2013 9:53 PM (GMT -6)   
First I'm so sorry for you loss (((hugs))), I can't begin to say I understand what you've gone through, but I'm sorry never the less.

As to your condition, it's hard to say. Normally, you have to have 4 of the 11 symptoms to be DX'd with lupus. Having what blood work positive that you have and no symptoms normally, wouldn't get a diagnosis. However, if the medication that has been prescribe to you changes your blood results it's possible you could have it.

Lupus is very difficult to DX, in my case it took my Doctors 13 years before they agreed I had it and began treating my lupus. My lupus is very severe and I believe that's because I was left untreated for such a long time.

I would recommend that you check out the lupus foundation website and look over the symptoms and see if anything fits you. I'd follow up with the Rheumy and have them retest your labs and see if the meds did anything to change them. Other than that, you could get a second opinion and I'd wait and see what happens symptom wise.

I'm really sorry that you're having issues and I know it's frustrating. It is possible to have a baby and have lupus. I hadn't been DX'd with it when I had my daughter. I did become very ill after her birth, which sometimes is common as the all the stress of being a new mom can wear us down. My daughter has had a positive ANA 1:640 since she was 6 and we constantly worry is she going to develop lupus. She's watched and does complain of joint pain, fatigue when out in the sun, and other symptoms of lupus.

Doctors don't know what causes lupus, so they can't tell us if it's hereditary. It seems to run in families though. If you have any more questions please feel free to come and ask away.

DX- RA, Lupus, Fibro, LGL Leukemia, Pulmonary Hypertension, Bells Palsy, Gastroparsis, Blood Clots, Glaucoma, Chronic Pericarditis & Pleurisy, Severe Anemia. Way to many medications to list.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/14/2013 4:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks -

I can't say that the prednisone is making me feel better, because I didn't really feel bad to start. Mostly it's making it hard for me to sleep.

I've looked over the symptoms used for diagnosis and there's nothing that I would have complained about if I wasn't looking for it (but you know how once you start asking if you have a symptom, you start thinking you probably have it...). I guess it's good to have a proactive rheum though since it seems like the norm here is to go years and years without answers. Maybe an early start to these meds will help keep me without symptoms for even longer. But of course I also worry about unnecessary treatment.

Thanks Barbara for the reassurance about having children. I've already seen a maternal-fetal-medicine specialist and went over all the extra monitoring I'll have during any future pregnancies. From what I've read and been told, lupus can cause pre-eclampsia and growth restriction, but I didn't have these problems and there were no signs of placenta inflammation, so it doesn't look like lupus is why I lost my baby. (I also found out I have a clotting disorder, so I'll be treated with blood thinners and hope that will solve any problems).
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