Differences and Similarities between Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis continued….
Posted Sep 24 2008 8:37am
Diving back into the topic of the autoimmune disease, Lupus, I’m going to talk about the diagnosis and treatment processes that are involved. Right now, there isn’t a single test that is used to diagnosed Lupus, it’s based on a combination of results of symptoms, blood work, and the patients medical history used to discover the abnormalities in the organ systems. Urinalysis and x-rays may also be ordered to make further confirmation. Specific tests that are relevant to the diagnosis of Lupus are sedimentation rate and CRP that are used to identify inflammation, an Antinuclear antibody test, and a Complement test to detect the presence of a specific antibody or antigen.
The severity of the symptoms of Lupus will determine the type of treatment. For inflammation control, NSAID’s (NonSteroidal AntiInflammatory Drugs) are commonly prescribed for a patient. Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARD’s), such as Plaquenil, is also a frequently prescribed medication to treat Lupus, along with immunosuppressants such as CellCept, cyclosprine and Imuran. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone are another option of treatment for Lupus.
As with other autoimmune diseases, there is no known cure as yet, but further tests of new treatments and discoveries are being performed and proven successful more and more each year.
So, as my title “Differences and Similarities between Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis” says, let’s take a quick over view of the differences and similarities. Similarities: both are autoimmune diseases with no known cure, both cause joint pain and inflammation, fatigue, inflammation affecting other organs. Treatments are similar as well with NSAID’s, DMARD’s and prednisone. Differences are mostly in the symptoms with Lupus revealing a possible tell-tale of a ‘butterfly-rash’ or malar rash on the cheeks and bridge of nose, a discoid rash- sores on the face, neck and chest, mouth sores or ulcers and a sensitivity reaction to sunlight (photosensitivity).
Before I end, something’s that I also didn’t realize before was that there 5 possible types of Lupus:
-the most common is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus involving multiple organs and the most serious
-Discoid Lupus Erythematosus involves only the skin, not other organs
-A drug induced Lupus is a reaction to specific prescription medications. The symptoms mimic SLE but it doesn’t influence the central nervous system or kidneys.
-Neonatal Lupus is an unusual disease which affects newborn babies.
-Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus seems more of a photosensitivity form of Lupus causing skin lesions to appear on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun.
One more thing, when I’ve had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Duncan, I’ve always made a point of reminding her of how much I appreciated her as a teacher and now I’ll have to tell her how much I understand the road she’s traveled, as we both live and SUCCEED with our autoimmune diseases.