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What's the difference?

733 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Stacymo
What's the difference between Lupus and RA?

Thanks! Stacy
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HI there, RA is Rheumatoid Arthritis. And Lupus is awful. Lupus is a full package of a number of syndromes and diseases. I hope that helps.
Be well.
I would say that the disease called RA primarily affects the joints and often, maybe usually, causes joint damage, although it can sometimes involve some organs.

The disease that's called lupus often affects the joints but doesn't usually cause joint damage and doesn't always involve arthritis with swelling, redness and heat. It might be arthralgia alone meaning painful joints without signs of inflammation.
Although few people suffer from all the major types or symptoms of lupus it can potentially affect every body part, organ and system and cause irreparable damage even death.
For illustration look up ACR RA criteria and compare with SLE criteria, and the emedicine articles on RA and SLE.

Other people might have further points to make about the differences

SLE/lupus is also much more likely than RA to be life threatening. SLE these days has very good survival times after diagnosis, but it definitely has a higher mortality rate than RA does. This is due to the organs that are much more frequently affected in SLE than RA.
Heres a quote from the Lupus Foundation of America

Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis
In lupus, joint pain (arthralgia) is common. Joint swelling (arthritis) may be present in some cases, but the majority of those with lupus experience joint pain without swelling or only intermittent swelling. In rheumatoid arthritis (RA), joint swelling is always present and pain is common but less prominent. Because rheumatoid arthritis is more likely than lupus to cause joint deformities and bone destruction, joint replacement or reconstructive surgery is more often required in RA than in SLE. If a person with lupus develops severe arthritis with joint deformities, he/she should be considered to have rheumatoid-like arthritis. In some instances, the physician might have reason to believe that both diseases -- SLE and RA -- have occurred in the same person. When arthritis develops in the course of lupus, treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), low doses of cortisone, and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) are usually helpful. People with lupus who have typical rheumatoid arthritis are prescribed the standard forms of RA treatment. These include methotrexate, sulfasalazine and in some cases, more potent drugs to suppress joint inflammation.

Luv n stuff
Thanks guys! That is helpful! Stacy
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