One of the best ways to learn about
Lupus is to read on the website www.lupus.org
. There you will see the 11 main symptoms that generally indicate Lupus.
One of the main things to know is that GP's/PCP's generally run an ANA test before deciding if something is indicative of Lupus or not. Then, and only then, they will refer to a rheumotologist - the rheumotologist is the Dr fully trained and experienced with Lupus and many other auto-immune diseases. The "hidden trap" in this is that ANA is NOT a firm indicator of yes/no for Lupus. If your niece is showing 4 or more of the listed symptoms, your sister will want to take her to a rheumotologist regardless of what the GP/PCP is advising (and regardless of the ANA results).
A good way to find a rheumy who is "good at" Lupus is to visit the Lupus website above, find your local chapter, then ask what Drs are active on their advisory board -- these are the Drs most interesting in helping Lupus (and other auto-immune) patients.
Let us know how it goes.
PS. This website is neither pro or con on various treatments -- treatment advice is solely that of the individual.
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator, Dx: 2002DIAGNOSING LUPUS & LUPUS RESOURCES
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde