Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia are two various conditions with similar symptoms that are frequently confused.
The Arthritis Foundation (AF) thinks about fibromyalgia to be an “arthritis-related condition.” However there are some unique differences between the symptoms of fibromyalgia and RA.
Inflammatory Arthritis and Fibromyalgia
One of the biggest distinctions in between types of arthritis and fibromyalgia is inflammation. In RA, joint inflammation is among the crucial symptoms.
There can be pain in the joints and muscles in fibromyalgia, however might not be caused by inflammation. For that reason, fibromyalgia does not damage your joints the manner in which arthritis can. It also doesn’t seem to harm your muscles or other soft tissues.
Is It Fibromyalgia?
If joint inflammation isn’t really a sign of fibromyalgia, then what is? Two symptoms commonly affect people with the condition:
Muscle and tissue pain. If you have unusual pain throughout your body, you may have fibromyalgia. This rheumatic condition can impair your muscles and joints, causing chronic pain.
Sleep problems. Many individuals with fibromyalgia have difficulty sleeping. They might also get tired more quickly than other individuals.
Courses of Progression
Another huge difference between rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia is the way each disease progresses. Fibromyalgia is episodic but not progressive, which suggests its symptoms don’t grow more serious in time.
Arthritic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis have a sluggish development of symptoms. Symptoms might develop as “flares” that worsen and then enhance. Without treatment, RA symptoms typically slowly end up being more serious.
If your joint or muscle pain isn’t really chronic however rather reoccurs, you might have RA. Features of this type of arthritis include:
- joint pain and tightness that’s frequently more severe in the morning
- red, swollen joints, often in your hands or feet
- an abrupt increase in symptoms that heighten for a period of days to months prior to momentarily decreasing.
Other Signs of RA
Individuals with RA typically observe that their joint pain appears on both sides of their body. In other words, if you have a painful joint in one part of your body (such as your right wrist), you likewise might have pain in the matching body part (for instance, your left wrist).
Unlike with fibromyalgia, an irregular immune system reaction causes the inflammation seen in RA.
Getting to the Bottom of It
There are clear symptoms and signs that can help your doctor identify. However, fibromyalgia can be challenging to diagnose.
There isn’t one blood test or X-ray that your doctor can offer to figure out whether you have fibromyalgia.
One of the best ways for your doctor to help detect fibromyalgia is to dismiss more common conditions, like RA.
There is no treatment for fibromyalgia, but there are treatment options that can make a difference in your lifestyle, consisting of lifestyle changes and medication.
An RA diagnosis needs timely treatment. Without timely treatment, initial signs of RA can result in long-term joint damage. Serious cases of RA can even cause damage to significant organs, including your heart.