Reumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus are sometimes mistaken because both are autoimmune diseases with some similar symptoms, including:
- joint pain
- fatigue or weakness
- a periodic fever
- more common in women than in men
However, RA and lupus are two different conditions. And there are many differences between lupus and RA, such as
- Lupus is more likely to affect your internal organs and your skin, while RA tend not to.
- Lupus can cause life-threatening complications, such as kidney failure, clotting problems, or seizures. But these are not symptoms of RA.
- RA can also cause joints to deform, while lupus usually not.
- Pain associated with RA is usually worse in the morning and tends to get better later. But the joint pain caused by lupus is constant throughout the day, and can migrate.
- Once RA is advanced, it can cause bone erosion and deformity if appropriate therapy is not provided. However, lupus rarely causes bone erosions.
People with both lupus and RA need to make a long-term plan with their doctors. This plan includes ways to help control the inflammation and pain. Also, it will help you reduce the complications of lupus and RA.
Whichever condition you have, the most important thing is to call your doctor and get treatment as soon as possible.
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