Fibromyalgia vs Lupus - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention, Differences

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that leaves the patient extremely tired, with deep muscle pain and an aching body. More than 5 million adults in the US have this condition, and around 85% percent of patients are women, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Symptoms

One of the most frequent signs (even in the early stages) is a widespread chronic pain. You may experience this pain throughout your body, but, occasionally, it may be a dull ache while other times it is stabbing and sharp.

Additional symptoms may include:

  • chronic fatigue;
  • sleep disruptions;
  • overlapping conditions, like – restless leg syndrome (a disorder which causes an urge to move one’s legs) and irritable bowel syndrome;
  • problems with anxiety and/or depression;
  • difficulties with thinking clearly and memory;
  • about 1 in 4 patients report “poor circulation.”

Note – the effects of these symptoms vary from day to day and from patient to patient. Furthermore, many individuals have flare-ups from time to time when the symptoms become considerably worse.

Causes

The exact cause of this condition is unknown, nevertheless, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, certain events may trigger flare-ups, like:

  • Changes in weather – some patients report pain with changes in barometric pressure or on hot, humid days.
  • Stress – it has been linked to hormonal disturbances which could contribute to this condition. Hormonal changes also occur during pregnancy or menstrual cycle. This is why women with this condition are recommended to spend time before conception focusing on building up her endurance and strength.
  • Alcohol – most people who have this condition find that they can no longer drink much alcohol.
  • Smoking – smoking cigarettes is strongly associated with the development of this condition, according to a 2010 study.
  • Diet – a lot of patients with this condition have sensitivities to particular foods, especially to certain food preservatives, MSG, gluten, eggs, dairy, or other allergens.

Diagnosis

Because there are no tests which can confirm a diagnosis, doctors must rely on a history of symptoms and a physical exam in order to diagnose this condition.

Treatment

There is no cure for this condition, however, most patients find they are able to ease some of the tenderness and pain with the right approach. Usually, your healthcare provider may prescribe antidepressants or pain drugs to help treat the fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression.

Physical therapy is also recommended. It will improve your flexibility, strength, and stamina. In addition, massage, cannabis, and acupuncture can help to relieve the severity of pain.

Prevention

Preventions methods include:

  1. Good sleeping patterns – a regular lack of restorative sleep creates a cycle of more pain, making it considerably harder to sleep, that causes more pain, and so on.
  2. Reduce your stress levels – find something which reduces stress for you before it gets to that painful point. Useful techniques include – mindfulness meditations, exercise, breathing exercise, transcendental meditation, or spending time in nature.
  3. Nutrition – avoid ice cold drinks, overly greasy foods, coffee, alcohol, junk foods, and animal products. Eat foods which support the functions of the stomach and spleen, like – vegetable, fruits, legumes, and nuts.

Lupus

It is a systemic autoimmune disease which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. It is estimated that more than 5 million people worldwide and 1.5 million people in the United States have this condition. Also, studies suggest that approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed are women, although there are still many men living with this condition.

This autoimmune disease makes the immune system unable to differentiate between healthy tissue and antigens. This makes the immune system to attack the healthy tissue.

Sufferers with this condition are more vulnerable to any type of infection since both diseases weaken the immune system. Common infections include – respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, salmonella, yeast infections, shingles, and herpes.

Symptoms

Common symptoms may include:

  • mouth ulcers;
  • headaches;
  • nose ulcers;
  • fingers turning white when cold;
  • fever;
  • hair loss;
  • abnormal blood clotting;
  • photosensitivity;
  • butterfly-shaped rash across nose and cheeks;
  • approximately 90% of patients experience malaise and general fatigue;
  • pain in chest on deep breathing;
  • swelling of the feet, hands, or legs;
  • low numbers of red blood cells;
  • painful joints.

Causes

This condition is caused by a complex interplay of hormones, genes, lifestyle and environmental factors (like – stress and pollution), and certain drugs.

Diagnosis

Your healthcare professional will ask you questions about your symptoms as well as it will do some blood and urine tests.

Treatment

FDA has approved some medicines for this autoimmune disease, which include:

  • aspirin;
  • Acthar – it contains ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), a naturally occurring hormone;
  • Belimumab, a human monoclonal antibody;
  • hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine;
  • corticosteroids, like – prednisolone, prednisone, hydrocortisone, and methylprednisolone.

Prevention

  1. Physical exercise – regular moderate physical exercise can help manage your weight, build your stamina, and improve your mood.
  2. Nutrition – for this condition, it is recommended to consume foods that prevent inflammation. These foods include – zucchini, red cabbage, red onions, apples, cauliflower, blueberries, beetroot, kale, cayenne pepper, black beans, red kidney beans, flax seeds, turmeric, garlic, tomatoes, pineapples, papayas, broccoli, ginger, red grapes, radishes, goji, turnips, and pears.
  3. Sleep – inflammation in the body is frequently increased in people with sleep-related disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, and RLS. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Also, try to go to bed at the same time every night.

Fibromyalgia vs Lupus – Differences

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition which causes pain in the bones and muscles. Other symptoms are sleeping poorly and feeling tired. Furthermore, individuals with this condition have “tender points” (on the shoulders, neck, hips, back, legs, and arms) throughout their bodies which hurt when pressure is put on them.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease which can damage any part of the body, including the joints, skin, and organs inside the body. Symptoms may be limited to the skin, but more often it also causes damage to the kidneys, heart, and other vital organs.

In conclusion, it can be hard for sufferers to receive a proper diagnosis of lupus because the symptoms are similar to fibromyalgia, however, these conditions are entirely different.

References

https://www.niaid.nih.gov/clinical-trials/clinical-research-studies
http://www.lupus.northwestern.edu/
https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2009/04/inexpensive-drug-appears-to
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/fibromyalgia