Fibromyalgia vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis differences and comorbidity in symptoms, treatments

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Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis are both similar in sense that pain is foremost symptom in both of them, although both of them have some similarities but they also differ that helps to choose the appropriate treatment for both of them. Sometimes unluckily both of co-exist which make it difficult to treat both of them. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose as there is no specific test for it, there are no obvious signs like changing to blood or organs. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis which can be identified by joint inflammation, pain and destruction. Fibromyalgia co-exists with rheumatoid arthritis; in fact studies show that 13 to 17 percent of people have fibromyalgia, in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms are worsening if patients are suffering from both diseases simultaneously as compared to patients suffering from single disease. These patients have overall low quality life, and are at high risk of heart diseases, diabetes and even depression.

TYPICAL SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis share many symptoms, the chief one is pain. If you want to distinguish between both of them it’s important to know about the symptoms that differentiate them.

COMMON SYMPTOMS IN FIBROMYALGIA INCLUDE: Pain in some specific parts of the body, flue like pain, extreme fatigue, anxiety, chronic back pain, diarrhea, constipation, jaw and facial tenderness, headache or migraines.

COMMON SYMPTOMS IN RHEMATOID ARTHRITIS INCLUDE:

Stiffness and cracking of joints, pain in affected joints, crunching and crackling of joints, reduced appetite, feeling of unwell, swollen glands, general feeling of weakness, pain in affected joints.

The main difference between the symptoms fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis is that in fibromyalgia there is no destruction of joints, and fibromyalgia cannot b detected on x-ray while rheumatoid arthritis can.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AND FIBROMYALGIA TOGETHER: SIGN AND SYMPTOMS

The severity of symptoms increases when both diseases co-exist. Researchers are unknown of the fact that that why there is high prevalence of fibromyalgia in rheumatoid arthritis patients but is also known that there is not high incidence of rheumatoid arthritis in fibromyalgia patients, which shows that it has more to do with arthritis then fibromyalgia for their co-existence.

When both fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis co-exist, common symptoms are joint pain, pain on both sides of the body, fatigue, depression and low energy.

DIFFERENCES  BETWEEN  FIBROMYALGIA  AND  RHEUMATOID  ARTHRITIS  SYMPTOMS

SIGN AND SYMPTOMS      Fibromyalgia     Rheumatoid arthritis

>Damage to joints              NO                         YES

>Inflammation of joints      NO                          YES

>Surgery as treatment        NEVER                     SOMETIMES

>Can be indentified            NO                              YES

With blood testing

>Can be indentified           NO                             YES

With X-ray

>Extreme fatigue               YES                          SOMETIMES

>Type of pain               MUSCLE PAIN                  JOINT PAIN

>Depression                COMMON                     LESS COMMON

>Headaches                COMMON                        LESS COMMON

TREATMENTS OF FIBROMYALGIA AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS TOGETHER INCLUDE:

>>>Over-the-counter pain relievers

>>>Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory

>>>COX-2 inhibitors

>>>Glucocorticoids

>>>Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS)

>>>TNF Blockers

Surgery may be required, if there is severe joint pain.

Sometimes if both conditions co-exist, then their treatment can lead to complications so consult your doctor which combination medicines are best and have minimum adverse effects. Sometimes treating one condition can aggravate the symptoms of the other condition, so in the beginning its trial and error to find the best treatment options. As there is no proper treatment for both conditions, you should strictly follow your treatment plan, this will help you to reduce your symptoms and live a balance and normal life.

MANAGE FIBROMYALGIA AND RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS THROUGH HOME REMEDIES

There are many home remedies that can help both conditions, as both symptoms overlap, these home remedies include:

>>Reducing stress

>>Getting proper sleep

>>Exercising regularly

>>Pacing yourself when completing a task

>>Eat well to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid caffeine and alcohol, stop smoking, and do whatever you enjoy doing.

>>Apply cold and heat packs to relieve pain.

>>Relaxing

>>Consult your doctor for best treatment, and report them if you notice any change in your condition.

>>Don’t push yourself to do things when you don’t feel alright.

>>For emotional support contact your friends.

>>Take time to relax.

>>If there are difficult tasks that you need to do, do it some other day. Avoid doing it on the day you feel low energy.

You will be living a much better life by following these tips and your doctor’s advice.

-Reviewed by Dr. M Rana,MD MBBS, FUMDC.

Reference: Fibromyalgia vs. rheumatoid arthritis differences and comorbidity in symptoms, treatments by Devon Andre from belmarrahealth

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