Almost everyone with Lupus has joint pain and swelling that can develop into arthritis. Frequently affected joints are the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees, the same as with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Both diseases are similar in both physiology and symptoms, but there are important differences, too.
Let’s take a look at where they differ and where they are the same.
Characteristics of Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. 2.1 million Americans have this disease
2. A symmetrical pattern of tender, warm, swollen joints
3. Inflammation and joint deformity affect the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
4. Symptoms can occur in the body (systemic involvement – i.e. skin, organs etc.) other than the joints.
Characteristics of Lupus
1. It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans have Lupus
2. Swollen glands and mouth ulcers are among the common symptoms
3. Hair loss can occur
4. A red skin rash on the face (across the nose and cheeks) known as the butterfly or malar rash
5. Photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight)
6. Positive tests for the following auto-antibodies (anti-DNA, snti-Sm, anti-RNP, anti-Ro, anti-La) help diagnose
7. There are 3 times more African-American women than Caucasian women with Lupus
Characteristics Shared by Both Diseases
1. Extreme fatigue
2. Painful and swollen joints
3. Symptoms can occur in the body (systemic involvement – i.e. skin, organs etc.) other than the joints.
4. Unexplained fever
5. Chest pain upon deep breathing
6. Raynaud’s phenomenon (discoloration of fingers, toes in response to cold or stress) can be a secondary condition associated with both
7. Positive ANA (antinuclear antibody test)
Keep in mind the similarities and the differences, too, of these auto-immune diseases so you can have an informative conversation with your doctor.
Source: Carol Eustice