Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus – what makes them similar?

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are both autoimmune conditions that are often confused to be the same. The fact that these – rheumatoid arthritis, lupus are autoimmune diseases makes their symptoms similar too. Auto immune diseases are typically those conditions where the immune system of the body attacks healthy cells, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain in the affected areas. There can be various triggers for the immune system of the body to react in both these diseases, but there is no single related cause for these auto-immune disorders.

Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus – similarities
The most shared and evident similarity that rheumatoid arthritis and lupus share is joint pain. However, the levels of inflammation and swelling of joints may vary between these conditions. Joint pain is also a common symptom of patients diagnosed with either rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Also, the joints can become warmer and tender, though this is a more prominent symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.

Fatigue and weakness is another symptom that is common with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Periodic bouts of fever and drop in energy levels is experienced by people who have both rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Another similarity is that both these conditions – rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are more common in women than in men.

It is these similarities that cause a lot of confusion with the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. There are several times when patients are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when they actually have lupus. This usually happens in the early stages of the disorder. As the condition progresses, the difference becomes evident; rheumatoid arthritis causes bone deformity and erosion while lupus rarely leads to bone erosion.

Long term treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus
As mentioned before, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are both chronic conditions that need a long term treatment plan. This will help in minimizing the complications associated with the conditions. While lupus, without the right treatment plan, can lead to heart or kidney damage, rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, may cause joint deformities; both of which are damaging conditions.

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