Do You Have Fibromyalgia, Lupus Or Both?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, May 18, 2006.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Do You Have Fibromyalgia, Lupus -- Or Both?

    (Question/Answer provided by: ROBERT SHAW, MD, Rheumatologist)

    Q: My family doctor, suspecting I might have lupus, referred me to a rheumatologist, who diagnosed fibromyalgia. Is it possible to have symptoms of lupus, but actually have fibromyalgia?

    A: Figuring out whether a patient has lupus, fibromyalgia, or both - which is entirely possible - requires a thorough medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Diagnosing lupus and fibromyalgia can be difficult because the conditions share some symptoms.

    During the medical history, fibromyalgia patients usually describe fatigue and a generalized muscle pain or soreness of the muscles that often is made worse by lack of quality sleep. Lupus patients may also have fatigue and muscle soreness, but initial symptoms may include a rash across the cheeks and nose that gets worse in sunlight, kidney problems, difficulty breathing, or a blood clot, stroke or heart attack.

    Physical examination of a person with fibromyalgia shows joints that move normally and are not swollen. However, people with fibromyalgia usually have tender areas over muscles, and pressing those areas causes discomfort. The examination of a person with lupus may reveal joint pain, stiffness, swelling, or abnormal movement.

    In most cases, a patient's history and physical examination lead to a diagnosis; lab tests usually confirm the diagnosis. A blood test that measures the level of antinuclear antibody (ANA) usually is positive in people who have lupus, but it also can be positive in those with mixed connective tissue disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), scleroderma, and Sjögren's syndrome. Therefore, a rheumatologist will run several other special tests to confirm lupus. In people with fibromyalgia, all blood tests usually are normal.

    A proper diagnosis is important because the treatments for lupus and fibromyalgia are different. When a person has both fibromyalgia and lupus, corticosteroids or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as methotrexate, should be prescribed to prevent lupus-related damage to the internal organs. Physical therapy, counseling, and antidepressant medications can help improve muscle aches, sleep, and mood changes associated with fibromyalgia.

    Info by: ROBERT SHAW, MD (Rheumatologist)

  2. kriket

    kriket New Member

    As far as I know, I just have fibro. Have often wondered if that is all I have. I like my doctor, but I must admit that sometimes I wonder. I have a lot of problems with my joints. Especially the knees,ankles,wrists,and elbows. Most of the major joints. I'm not sure that this is all caused by fibro. If the joint pain gets much worse, I may have to be checked for lupus.

  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Unfortunately, I have fibro and systemic lupus, along with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis thrown in!

  4. caroleye

    caroleye New Member

    I started out with CFIDS; then came Systemic Lupus; finally Fibro had to join the Club!!

    The biggest difference w/Lupus for me is the Mylar facial rash (came later); the joint pain; crashes are more severe than my CFIDS ever were, and last longer. More fatigue, and much more chemically sensitive; in fact sensitive to this planet!!

    Also any inflammation takes l0x longer to heal. It's that autoimmune condition, where everything attacks you and you react to everything. Not a fun one! And I was just "borderline" (or so the tests say!!)

  5. TxSongBird

    TxSongBird New Member

    Just got done having a bazillion medical tests run to rule out Lupus, MS and Rhumetoid Arthritis. Sometimes it would be nice to have a test that shows what is really wrong with me, but I don't want to wish the other diseases upon myself. Fibro is faceless and I tire of people who don't understand the illness to harp that I don't look sick or I am just fat.


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