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One gets worse with time. One is more difficult to pinpoint. And they tend to appear hand-in-hand.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful disease. Your immune system turns against your body, attacks healthy joints and organs, and causes inflammation, pain and damage.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that includes widespread pain, stiffness and fatigue. It affects the way your brain processes pain, making it more intense.
Your risk for developing fibromyalgia increases if you’re a woman, if you already have rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or lupus, or if someone in your family had it.
The two conditions can be present at the same time. But how can you tell whether it’s one or the other?
There are some key differences.
First, let’s look at the similarities:
Now, the differences:
Lab testing can find evidence of rheumatoid arthritis. Lab tests cannot identify fibromyalgia.
Regardless, if you have rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, you’re likely in frequent pain.
There are some things you can do to manage your symptoms on your own:
The rheumatologists at Edward-Elmhurst Health work closely with you and your primary care physician to relieve your pain and help you stay active. Learn more.
Pain does not have to be a constant companion in your life. Learn more about pain management at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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