What is the difference between lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Lupus and RA
Lupus vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

 

Some of you may know that lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are both autoimmune diseases. In fact, the two conditions are sometimes confused or overlapped because they share many symptoms.

The most apparent similarity between RA and lupus is joint pain. Another common symptom is joint swelling, though the inflammation levels and, therefore, pain can vary. Both diseases can cause your joints to become hot and tender, but this is more noticeable in RA.

In my case, there are some days that I cannot go up and downstairs, as the tip of my toes and my knees hurt too much.

Lupus and RA also affect energy levels. If you have either disease, you might feel constant fatigue or weakness. Having a periodic fever is another symptom of lupus and RA, but it’s more common with lupus.

Both diseases are more frequent in women than in men.

There are other differences between them. For instance, lupus might affect your joints, but it’s more likely to affect your internal organs and your skin than RA. Lupus can also cause life-threatening complications such as kidney failure, clotting problems, or seizures, not RA symptoms. Many of you may have heard about Selena Gomez’s kidney transplant due to lupus, for example.

RA, on the other hand, primarily attacks your joints. It affects the fingers, wrists, knees, and ankles. RA can also cause joints to deform, while lupus usually doesn’t. Bone erosion is another characteristic of RA. The risk increases with disease severity and is characterized by bone loss in certain parts of the body.

RA can also be associated with inflammation in the lungs and around the heart in some cases, and with painful skin nodules. However, this is less common with the current therapies available now than in the past.

Pain associated with RA is usually worse in the morning and tends to get better as the day progresses. But the joint pain caused by lupus is constant throughout the day and can migrate.

Unfortunately, I have both. Even though there is no cure for either of these conditions, the good news is it can be managed with medication, diet, managing stress, and exercise. I know it requires a significant lifestyle change, but the cost of dealing with the pain every day is too high.

 

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/lupus-and-ra#differences

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