Those with rheumatoid arthritis (or RA) know all too well about the pain, stiffness, and deformity that it brings. What they may not know, however, is that those symptoms could be reflective of an entirely different condition that closely mimics rheumatoid arthritis. For instance:
Psoriatic arthritis causes similar joint pain and stiffness; yet unlike RA, the majority of patients experience psoriasis first – something that does not occur in RA.
Gout is a type of arthritis that leads to tenderness and swelling of the joints, often with such intense pain that even the slightest touch can be excruciating. Gout is caused by excess levels of uric acid, however, unlike RA.
Inflammatory erosive osteoarthritis causes inflammation to the joints; yet in IEO, inflammation will eventually subside. RA is a chronic, lifelong condition.
Ankylosing spondylitis primarily impacts the lower back between the spine and pelvis. Less common in women, AS is differentiated from RA by the inflammation occurring between the tendon and bone, rather than in the joint membrane lining as in RA.
Lupus can display as joint pain and swelling and is often confused with RA and/or is co-occurring. Lupus can, however, also include skin rash, fatigue and muscle aches.
Fibromyalgia pain is more widespread than RA, affecting soft tissue and muscles as well as joints. It also often leads to sleep problems and fatigue.
Lyme disease symptoms mimic those of both RA and the flu. It’s important for blood work to be done to confirm the presence of Lyme disease and to allow for proper treatment.
Pseudogout strikes suddenly, bringing intense pain to the joints along with warmth and swelling which can last for several weeks or even months.
Palindromic rheumatism, or palindromic arthritis, causes only temporary joint inflammation that subsides in as little as several hours, up to several days. It can also progress between joints before disappearing altogether.
Reactive arthritis, while extremely rare, is a type of arthritis that stems from an infection and typically affects joints in the feet and knees. It can also, however, inflame the skin, urethra, and eyes. Symptoms are usually gone within a year. Those who suspect they have rheumatoid arthritis should be sure to ask the doctor to rule out any of these similar conditions in order to allow for the most appropriate treatment. THE MEDICAL TEAM’s skilled home care providers are available to help those with RA or any other condition to improve quality of life. Contact us for an in-home consultation to learn more!