Both lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are autoimmune disorders in which the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and causes pain and inflammation. These conditions are sometimes confused with one another because the symptoms can be somewhat similar. Lupus can affect nearly any organ system, while RA is considered to be a condition of the joints. But many people have overlaps in symptoms, which mean that specialized tests are needed to diagnose the precise condition causing them.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):
The most common symptom of RA is stiffness in the joints in the morning. The most common joints affected by this condition are the hands and feet, but other joints are frequently affected as well. People with RA often develop anemia and experience fatigue as a result. People with RA may also experience inflammation around the heart and in the lungs.
Symptoms of Lupus:
The autoimmune disease of lupus attacks the joints and many internal other organs too, such as the heart and lungs. A common sign of lupus is a rash on the face and elsewhere on the body. These rashes tend to worsen with sun exposure. Other possible symptoms of lupus include joint pain, hair loss, mouth sores, shortness of breath, and blood in the urine. Muscle weakness, bodily inflammation, and seizures may also occur in lupus patients.
Impact on Joints:
Both of these conditions can be challenging to diagnose, especially if the condition is caught early and when symptoms are relatively minor. Both lupus and RA are painful and cause damage to the joints. However, the type of arthritis that is most closely associated with lupus typically causes less joint damage than RA. People with RA are more likely than those with lupus to require surgery for severe joint damage.
Treatment for RA and Lupus:
There is a genetic connection between the two conditions. Therefore, some of the same treatment strategies for one autoimmune condition may work well for the other one as well. It is also possible for an individual to have both lupus and RA at the same time. This is called comorbidity, which is the existence of multiple diseases that are independent of one another. Certain treatment plans can help reduce joint pain and organ damage for both conditions and also in the early stages of one disease in which the diagnosis is not yet clear. Although there is no definitive cure for lupus, it is possible to manage the symptoms by taking medications to control joint pain and inflammation.