Conditions That Look Like RA
For me, it’s hard to talk about lupus without talking about RA because I have both illnesses.
As of November 2013, it was reported that 1.3 million adults in the United States have RA and between 161,000 to 322,000 have lupus (1). However, the prevalence rate for lupus may be higher given its difficulty in diagnosing, as the American College of Rheumatology calls lupus ‘the great imitator’ at its range of symptoms and ability to mirror other illnesses (2).
In lupus, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, and RA attacks the joints, but both can cause problems with all organ systems of the body; lupus most commonly impacts the skin, kidneys, lungs, and nervous system.
Like RA, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease. It can have periods of flare and periods of remission. And lupus is most common in women of childbearing age (15-44 years old), although it is two to three times more common in African American women than Caucasian women.
Common symptoms of lupus are fatigue, headaches, painful/swollen joints, fever, a butterfly rash across the cheeks and nose, photosensitivity, hair loss, and mouth or nose ulcers.
I like to say that lupus makes me feel like I got hit by a Mack truck, I wake up feel plastered to a wall. It’s like being hungover without the fun of having actually had any alcohol to drink.&nb