Difference between Lupus and Fibromyalgia

The two syndromes of the world that there is a source of attraction for researchers and doctors are Lupus and Fibromyalgia. A lot of medical research is done on both of these medical syndromes and a number of theories are formed on their causes. But unfortunately, medical research experts have still not reached any concluded answer to state the causes and cure for both these illnesses.

Both of these syndromes vary in conditions and symptoms from person to person so it is still a mystery to know the root cause of the ailments. The most accepted theory for fibromyalgia states that it is caused by the disturbed levels of neurochemicals in the human brain, which leads to sensitivity to the feeling of pain.

The environment and genetics are important in determining what actually triggered the Fibromyalgia syndrome are the basis of other theories, but up to now, no definite evidence has drawn.

There are various other theories that showcase how the number of vessels in the extremities of the human body can change the way the brain perceives pain. But how the other symptoms of the syndrome arise and how they act so variably and affect multiple parts of a person’s body still remains an entire mystery.

The facts and conditions about Lupus are still not clear. Its causes involve a lot of things including environment and stress but they cannot be limited to it. Lupus seems to be somehow inherited and stress plays a vital role, but there are other causes responsible for it so far.

The other symptoms may involve infections with CMV (cytomegalovirus), Hepatitis C virus and the Epstein-Barr one. The exposure to UV light, trichloroethylene (and other chemicals) and certain types of antibiotics (such as the penicillin-based ones) can also cause Lupus.

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The only common thing between these to conditions is not only the mystery behind their root cause. But their symptoms also seem to overlap a lot too and that becomes the reason for their misdiagnosis. The common symptoms they have are painful joints, swelling of the extremities, fatigue, photosensitivity and sudden rapid changes in weight.

One particular thing about Lupus is that the patients develop butterfly-shaped rashes on various parts of their skin, which is probably not found in the case of Fibromyalgia. However, this symptom is not present in all the Lupus patients.

Moreover, Lupus can prove fatal especially when it affects the sensitive parts of the human body. No such condition relates to fibromyalgia. It often affects kidneys (leading to kidney failure), lungs, the Central Nervous System, the heart, and it can make one’s body more sensitive to infections or even develop Cancer.

So how can medical professionals distinguish between Lupus and Fibromyalgia?

In order to diagnose whether a person is suffering from lupus or fibromyalgia, a thorough analysis have to be done. To clarify which parts of the body are affected and what damage is caused to them, a number of examinations are done and a lot of inquiries are made by the physician.

Medical professionals after analyzing the patient’s symptoms get a number of basic blood tests to determine if the person has anemia or lacks certain elements in the blood to diagnose Lupus. The doctor will also run an ERS (an Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) which determines the presence of an autoimmune disease in the body. If the red blood cells start settling faster than the usual during this examination, the patient is suspected to have Lupus.

The tests of kidneys and liver, urine test (to check the levels of proteins and red blood cells), Syphilis test to examine the presence of anti-phospholipid are performed by a doctor in order to completely detect the Lupus.

However when a person is suspected to have the disorder of fibromyalgia, the medical professional mostly start analyzing by testing the pressure points on the patient’s body. Generally, if the doctor tests 18 such pressure points and the patient finds them painful, then the probability of Fibromyalgia is quite high.

Moreover, a blood test will help a lot to diagnose this syndrome. This test is called FM/a and it can detect the presence of markers in the blood cells. The markers are usually found in the blood of a person suffering from Fibromyalgia.

But there are no other important tests in order to clearly determine the presence of Fibromyalgia. However, doctors may choose to investigate the patient for other Fibromyalgia-related diseases like Arthritis, Hypothyroidism, renal diseases, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

A proper diagnose for Fibromyalgia and Lupus is crucial for the improvement of the patient’s health. Although the two syndromes have many things in common, their treatment may vary a lot. In the case of Lupus, efforts are made to avoid serious complications, while in the case of Fibromyalgia other than painkillers and anti-inflammatory no drugs are prescribed. According to patient’s symptoms, medical history and severity dosage and type of drug may vary in case of Lupus.


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