Does Discoid Lupus Cause Enlarged Spleen?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Two years ago I was diagnosed with discoid lupus. I saw an internal medicine specialist rather than a rheumatologist. When I questioned him about how he knew I only had discoid and not SLE, he said it shows it in the tests. My symptoms include aching muscles, aching joints, chronic fatigue, Raynauds, positive skin biopsy for discoid, butterfly rash, rash on my feet (disc-like), reaction to the sun, anemia, positive ANA test, occasional hair loss (significant), heart palpitations, night sweats, memory problems, depression, confusion at times of stress. I do have a slightly enlarged spleen.

Doctor's response

A positive ANA in a patient with discoid lupus does heighten the concern for the possibility of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Enlarged spleens are not caused by discoid lupus.

If you are unclear about or not confident about your diagnosis, you should discuss this with your doctor. Alternatively, the opinion of a rheumatologist can clarify the diagnosis of discoid and/or systemic lupus.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018
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