Living with Fibro

Are Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia Related?

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects the nervous system, and thus makes your entire body more sensitive to touch and other sensations that you may feel on a regular basis.

The constant pain can be a huge risk, however, because you may not be able to tell if there are other problems going on in your body.

One common issue that comes up in older adults who are fighting off fibromyalgia symptoms is rheumatoid arthritis.

Learning about this disorder and how it links with fibromyalgia is vital for your wellness; that’s what we’re going to explore here today.

What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Like a variety of other diseases, rheumatoid arthritis is what is called an autoimmune disorder.

This means that your immune system is not acting as it should, and instead, it’s starting to attack different parts of the body, thus resulting in pain, difficulty in movement, or a loss of function of certain areas of the body.

Many of these diseases don’t have a known cause, so it makes them all the more difficult to deal with.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, what is happening is that the immune system is going after your joints.

This causes your joints to become inflamed and, thus, makes it difficult for you to bend them.

You will notice that you have parallel pains – that is, if you’re feeling pain and stiffness in your left knee, you are also feeling it in your right knee, and so on, and so forth.

In the worst cases, the joints will get so swollen that they will become deformed and you won’t be able to use them at all.

Your range of motion is sometimes greatly decreased, making it difficult for you to walk, type, or do any of your regular daily activities.

Unlike standard osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can happen to anyone at any age. There may be some genetic causes for it, but other than that, it’s not really certain as to how the whole thing gets started.

In certain cases, you will find that you only end up dealing with the symptoms every once in awhile – in other cases, you have to deal with them every single day.

Just like with any other autoimmune disease, you will notice that the symptoms will vary depending on the person and what other disorders and diseases that they are dealing with at the same time.

What Happens Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia?

Okay, so why are rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia so intertwined? An important thing to note is that, people who have rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to end up having fibromyalgia.

But, those who have fibromyalgia are not always more likely to end up with rheumatoid arthritis.

The reason for this is likely because of what rheumatoid arthritis does to our body. We’re in a lot of pain a lot of the time, so the nervous system ends up becoming a lot more sensitive to pain sensations in general, and fires off whenever it wants to.

This, in turn, could end up resulting in a fibromyalgia case, because the nervous system just doesn’t understand what pain is anymore, so it gives you mixed signals and you don’t know what way is up most of the time.

Fibromyalgia already has pain associated with it, and because it’s not an autoimmune disease that makes our body attack itself, it’s not going to make it more likely for the body to start doing so.

Since so many symptoms overlap between the two, how is a doctor supposed to tell the difference?

As we mentioned above, one of the major issues that happens with rheumatoid arthritis is that you start to have mobility issues and your joints swell and deform to the point where you can’t really use them anymore.

That is not something that happens with fibromyalgia, so if you start to see that happening, you will want to make sure that you get in touch with your specialist as soon as possible so that they can deal with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as well.

What do doctors suggest for those with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia? A few things. As with most diseases, you want to make sure that you continue to stay active, even when you’re dealing with the pain.

Yes, it can be a lot more difficult to go out and take a walk, but even if you’re only able to get around the block without a lot of pain, it’s okay.

You’re still being active and you’re still allowing your joints to get a bit of movement. You should also try to ensure that your sleep schedule is relatively normal.

Stay in a routine so that you don’t mess up your sleep schedule, and be sure to get the right amount each night so that your body can fight back the problems going on.

Also make sure that you are eating a balanced diet and taking supplements.

On top of that, you will likely need some sort of physical therapy or another type of treatment in order to keep moving.

Prescription medication is usually prescribed for both disorders, and your doctor will work with you in order to make sure that the combination of medications that you are utilizing is working as it should.

It may take some time to find the right combination for your rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, but your doctor is experienced and will get you what you need.

Fibromyalgia can be incredibly debilitating, with issues like depression, brain fog, and other cognitive issues making it difficult for you to function.

It doesn’t have to make your life more difficult if you’re mindful of it. That being said, it’s important for you to do what you can in order to ensure that your body is functioning as it should be.

By treating some of the concurrent disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis, you will find a lot of relief and your quality of life will increase significantly.

References:

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/rheumatoid-arthritis-vs-fibromyalgia

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whyfmscfsarelinked/a/fibroRA.htm

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Living with Fibro

2 Comments

  • I have psoriatric arthritis as well as fibro. This is where your immune system (autoimmune disease) attacks your joints etc and not just germs. The best thing I ever did was see a rheumatoligist. He did a bunch of bloodwork. There are markers for what I hav e and the RA to help narrow it down. I am now on methotrexate and Humira. Best thing I ever did since I now can TREAT what my issue is!

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