“It’s not lupus, it’s never lupus!” says Gregory House in an episode of the hit television series HOUSE, M.D. it was a line that made fun of the fact that the diagnostics team that the show often focuses on always brings up lupus as the patient’s possible medical condition, a diagnosis that has been proven wrong time and time again. The line was, of course, an instant sensation among the fans of the show and the fact that there is an actual web page one that has a YouTube video featuring all the times the team had diagnosed a patient with lupus embedded on it is proof of that. Since the utterance of that line, “It’s never lupus” has had so many people quoting it and putting it on t-shirts that even people who don’t actually watch the show have come to know it.

One thing that some people have started to wonder about is why the writers of the show favored mentioning lupus over all the other possible illnesses. Is lupus really that commonc Or, perhaps, the better question would have to be “Is lupus really that interestingc” After all, the bulk of an episode of HOUSE, M.D. is mainly focused on the unusual conditions of the patients and the diagnostics team’s race against time to figure what is wrong with the patients so that they may be given the appropriate treatment. Given that little tidbit, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine that lupus is thrown into the script a lot of times because of all the medical mishap possibilities that the diagnosis could bring up.
Having said that, it should perhaps be pointed out that the writers of HOUSE, M.D. should be considered smart for using lupus as a “throw-away” diagnosis in many cases. Why, you askc Because the reasoning is nevertheless completely plausible even if the almighty and all-knowing Gregory House proves them wrong in the end. After all, lupus does indeed create so many complications that could explain some of the symptoms that the patients featured on the show display and the creepy part is that there are real medical cases upon which the cases in HOUSE, M.D. is based (but let’s not get into that).

The point to be made here is that lupus causes so many other health problems that one has to wonder why it DOESN’T become a standard part of the diagnostics process in the really weird and potentially fatal cases that could be encountered in reality. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which in layman’s terms means that the body attacks and destroys its own tissues and cells because it cannot understand the difference between those and the “alien” materials that make us sick. Your joints, your heart, your lungs, your kidneys, your skin and even your brain get attacked by your immune system when you have lupus, and and it is inevitable that at some point when it gets too much your body may begin to shut down as well.

Because it is a disease affecting the immune system, some people believe that lupus is a blood disorder (because white blood cells are an essential component of the immune system). This is a mistaken assumption lupus is not in itself a blood problem; however, lupus CAUSES a number of blood disorders because it attacks blood cells as well; of course, these blood disorders help in determining the approach to treating the lupus. Because of this, blood experts are brought in when a case of lupus is discovered which is possibly why some people are so sure that lupus is a blood disorder when it in fact only brings about blood problems like too much blood clotting (thrombosis), and low red blood and hemoglobin levels (anemia).

Yes, everyone should be able to understand the irony of our own “anti-sickness” system being an actual cause of sickness one of the things that makes lupus a very interesting condition to ponder. Whether or not you knew much about it before it was constantly mentioned in HOUSE, M.D. doesn’t matter anymore. In the end, lupus has become part of popular culture’s consciousness and more people have become aware of it.

One last thing: while many people expected that “the condition” that changes in every episode would never be lupus, an episode in the current season ended up with a patient actually HAVING lupus, prompting Gregory House to say “I finally have a case of lupus.” So while some of you may have started to think that in real life, “it’s never lupus”, remember that even in the show that coined the phrase, lupus happens.


6 thoughts on “Lupus Diagnosis Test

    1. Sue

      While the ANA blood test will test for a marker of lupus, it is not a definitive diagnosis. You are diagnosed based on the list or criteria set forth by Medical Board. If you have 4 of the 11 markers, you can be diagnosed with Lupus.

      I’ve listed the Web MD website below. If you match 4 out of the 11 possible symptoms, your doctor will consider diagnosing you with this disease. Keep in mind, there are many other autoimmune disorders mimic lupus, and with patience and consideration you will get a handle on your medical situation! Good Luck

  1. amanda h

    Does a positive ANA necessairly mean Lupus?
    Hello! I have been dealing with a slew of medical issues only to recently have a positive ANA test. My doctor says not to worry quite yet, but it’s a little hard not to! She referred me to a Rhematologist but was wondering if anyone knew the odds of having a positive ANA and a positive Lupus diagnosis.

    1. ★☆W.a.b.b.y✿❀

      Your doctor is right, don’t worry yet. An ANA test is helpful, but it’s also very flawed. Did your doctor tell you what ‘titer’ your ANA test was? They are measured like this, negative, 1:40, 1:80, 1:160, 1:320, 1:640, 1:1280 and continue to double. The higher the second number, the more likely it is that you have an autoimmune disease. My rheumatologist said that she would not consider anything below 1:640 as being significant. So even if your ANA result says – Positive 1:320, it definitely doesn’t mean you have an autoimmune disease.

      There’ve been a number of studies that look into this-

      One study studied 485 healthy volunteer blood donors and found that 20% of the women and 7% of the men had a positive ANA result. Of women over 40 years of age, 31% were ANA-positive.

      Another study found an ANA titer of at least 1:640 in 15% of healthy women younger than 40 years and 24% of women age 40 or older.

      In another study of healthy adults (age 20 to 60 years), found that 31.7% had a positive ANA result at a 1:40 dilution, 13.3% at a 1:80 dilution, 5% at a 1:160 dilution, and 3.3% at a 1:320 dilution.

      Another study looked at 1,010 ANA results in a hospital. Fifteen percent of all patients and 30% of patients older than 65 years had a positive ANA titer of 1:40 or greater, but the positive predictive value for rheumatic disease was low. The false-positive rate for any rheumatic disease was 72% in patients 65 years old or younger, and 90% in patients older than 65 years. Even ANAs that were positive at a titer of 1:320 or greater were more likely to be falsely positive (55%) than indicative of any rheumatic disease (45%).

      So studies have found, 20% of all woman have a positive ANA but nothing wrong and 72% of all positive ANAs in under 65 year olds are positive for no reason.

      You’re seeing the right doctor (a rheumatologist). They will order more tests and look at your joints, any rashes and see if they can determine if this is autoimmune. There are other causes for a positive ANA than Lupus, for example, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Polymyositis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. And of course it’s also seen in healthy people too.

      I’d recommend before your rheumatology appointment, that you write down all your current symptoms and a brief medical history. There may be symptoms that you had 10 years ago that help suggest a certain condition. And I’d recommend taking someone with you to your appointment, rheumatologists can be horrible people. I’ve seen four and everyone of them has made me leave in tears and I don’t cry that often!

      Good luck.

      ….

  2. §♫♪‹(•¿•)›☼»-(¯`v´¯)-»\

    My doctor won’t make a clinical diagnosis for Lupus & I don’t test out. What can I do?
    I have 9 of the 11 indicators of Lupus. I just cannot “pass” the blood tests.
    My gyno thinks I definitely have Lupus, but my rheumy don’t make the diagnosis for lack of laboratory results.

    My gyno told me to file for disability, but I am afraid I will need verified lab tests to get anyone to listen to me.

    What can I do?

    1. Anonymous

      Ma’am your doctor is wasting your time.You suspect you have lupus and they are doing NOTHING.What i suggest is to find a doctor that will actually LISTEN,UNDERSTAND AND HEAR what you say, because your current doctor is not giving you what you actually need.Do what ever you can to get those medical papers passed. Because your health is at SERIOUS RISK.

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