Health

Common differences between rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are conditions where the immune system produces autoantibodies which attack its cells and organs instead of producing antibodies which attack the antigens. Although scientists haven’t been able to find out what triggers these diseases, they do attribute them to genetics, hormones, and environment. The conditions of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have very similar symptoms; there are ways to tell them apart.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused when your immune system attacks the linings of the joints and in some severe cases internal organs such as mouth, lungs, and eyes. Whereas in upus, the immune system can attack any part of the body, but more commonly skin, joints, lungs, heart, kidney, blood, and brain.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis attacks your joints and can cause deformation of fingers, wrists, knees, and ankles. Due to this deformation, they become crooked and painful, whereas Lupus usually doesn’t cause deformation of bones.
  • RA  is usually worst in the morning just after waking up and progresses slowly during the day, whereas Lupus pains are constant throughout the day and can sometimes migrate to other bones and joints.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis causes bone erosions if not treated on time, whereas lupus doesn’t cause any bone erosions.
  • Although a rheumatologist usually deals patients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, their treatments vary depending on the severity of their disease. The prescribed medications would also differ for these disorders.
  • Found more commonly in women, rheumatoid arthritis is usually diagnosed in the older age group of 25 – 50 years, whereas lupus affects the younger age group, between 15 and 40 years.
  • SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), which is the most common kind of lupus is generally race-specific and mostly found in women from an African American, Hispanic and Asian descent, whereas Rheumatoid arthritis is not race-specific.

Usually, when there is an indicative symptom similar to rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, it would be advisable to get tested and diagnosed for both since diagnostic tests for both also vary and if left untreated lupus can be life threatening.

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