Recently I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA). I thought ‘no couldn’t be’ I already had Fibromyalgia(FM), Vitiligo (which is also an autoimmune disease), Depression and Severe Anxiety Disorder. I don’t need this. Then my mind starts going: Was I misdiagnosed in 2006? Did I have RA all along? They have many of the same symptoms. Could you have FM and RA at the same time?
Not that I don’t believe my doctors, but I ALWAYS research anything they diagnose, prescribe, etc. Believe me, more than once I have made the decision not to follow their advice or take the prescription. I go back and talk to them about other options. Most have agreed to accommodate me, a few annoyed that I don’t just follow their directions. However, over 95% of the time there are no issues.
(ex: my gynecologist gave me a prescription that had a warning that *could cause blood clots. I had a deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in my leg, that went to my lungs causing a pulmonary embolism back in 2012. I went back to him and asked for something different citing my concerns. He didn’t think I should worry about it. but I refused to take it)
I’m now questioning whether or not I had RA all along and not FM. I had nodules on two of my fingers for years. Possibly before the FM. I have carpel tunnel syndrome which started back in 2007 but I never did any repetitive motion long enough to cause it. However, RA can cause it.
So the question remains, could you have both? The answer is yes you can. I was stunned to find out that 20-30% of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis have Fibromyalgia. While many symptoms are similar, there are a few ways to distinguish between fibromyalgia and RA.
Joint pain, swelling and inflammation is a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, but the pain of fibromyalgia is widespread impacting half of the body.
Both conditions can cause sleep disturbances and fatigue, but sleep problems in people with Fibromyalgia tend to be more draining. The fatigue in RA is from inflammation and anemia.
Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disorder. Even though it causes severe pain it doesn’t cause any damage in the body unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis which attacks the joints and can be severely debilitating. RA can also attack the lungs and heart.
I felt great before I went back to work. Now I have the RA to add to the list. It only took a year before everything came crashing down. If it wasn’t for my doctor noticing me rubbing my hands while sitting in his office, I don’t know how long or how deformed I would be before I would be diagnosed.
Funny how life changes.
Have a great Day!!