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An Overview of Arthritis and Lupus

An Overview of Arthritis and Lupus

Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus are both Autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are those in which, the immune system of the body which is to protect humans from infections and other alien bodies, attacks and destroys the healthy tissues. All autoimmune diseases have an alternation of periodic exacerbations followed by a spell of quietude where symptoms may be absent or very minimal. Both exhibit chronic inflammation of joints and organs of other similar systems. The inflammatory process is also similar to the involvement of immune cells and chemicals which lead to organ destruction. There are no well-determined causes arthritis or lupus, though; genetics play a definitive role in both.

Since both share very similar symptoms the diagnosis is criteria based rather than symptom-based. The criteria for diagnosis of SLR and RA are established.

For SLR at least 4 symptoms need to be present of the 10 specified in the criteria.

  • Characteristic rashes across the nose called butterfly or malar rash appearing on the cheeks and nose.
  • Photosensitivity. Rashes appear when exposed to the sun.
  • Raised red colored patches on the skin.
  • Neurologic symptoms like psychosis or seizure.
  • Changes in heart, lung-like inflammation of the lining of these organs.
  • Arthritis that does not cause bone erosion.
  • Kidney symptoms like cellular cast or protein in urine.
  • Blood disorders like low white cells, anemia or low platelet count.
  • Presence of ANA or antinuclear antibodies.
  • Immunologic disorder.

If the diagnosis of RA is confirmed, one should get 6 or more point on the RA classification scale. Points are allotted to symptoms severity.

  • Up to 5 points are given depending on the number of small joints affected.
  • Up to 3 points are awarded for testing positive for anti-citrullinated protein antibody in blood or RA factor.
  • Symptoms lasting for six weeks or more and testing positive for C-reactive protein is awarded 1 point each.

Rheumatoid arthritis lupus treatments are fortunately similar. There are common drugs that are used to treat the inflammation and pain.

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