Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Lupus

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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Lupus
How do the symptoms develop? The way of how it develops can vary. But typically, the symptoms tend to strike quickly within a few months or even weeks. The symptoms can develop slowly or strike suddenly.
Can the inflammation be systemic (widespread inflammation)? Yes. Yes.
How long does the joint stiffness last? Stiffness can last more than one hour. The same thing happens in lupus. Morning stiffness can last more than half an hour.
Does the affected joint become red and warmth? Yes, typically mild redness and slight warmth. Too hot and very redness are usually the symptoms of gouty arthritis. Yes, both redness and warmth characteristics in the joint affected by RA also occur in the affected joint by lupus.
Does the disease attack the joint symmetrically? Yap, it tends to affect the joint symmetrically. In other words, if it affects your left knee, you are more likely to have it in your right knee, too. Lupus can affect the joint either symmetrically or unsymmetrically. And it tends to move from joint to joint.
Symptoms that are not related to the joint! Although it also can cause symptoms that have nothing to do with the joint, but these symptoms are less common. These include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss.


Poorly-controlled RA can be a life threatening condition, too. See more the complications in here!

In lupus, there are more symptoms unrelated to the joint, depending in which part of the body affected.

Even some can be the classic symptoms of lupus such as butterfly-shaped rash and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, hair loss, chest pain, shortness of breath, mouth ulcer, stomach pain, dry eyes, headaches, memory loss, seizures, hypertension, and skin lesions that worsen with sun.

*These checklists are intended for general information. For more in-depth information about the diagnosis and more advice, talk with a doctor!

It seems that there are some similarities for the symptoms of RA and lupus, especially for the symptoms related to the joint. Both conditions can cause the same classic symptoms of inflammation in the joint – these include joint pain, mild warm, mild redness, similarity pattern of morning stiffness, and swelling.

The symptoms examination is usually more intended to help distinguish between inflammatory arthritis (such as RA or joint inflammation due to lupus) and non-inflammatory arthritis (such as osteoarthritis (OA)).

Once your doctor knows that your joint problem is inflammatory arthritis, several laboratory tests are usually required to determine whether the problem is RA or lupus.

For instance, people with lupus usually have anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) in blood test. The presence of anti-CCP (Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide) antibody and RF (rheumatic factor) are usually the markers for RA, though not all people with RA have these indicators.

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