Learn The Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment For Fibromyalgia And Autoimmune Arthritis, And How The Two Conditions May Be Linked
Pegasus Home Health Care is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization.
Our expert in-home nurses in Sherman Oaks and elsewhere, provide specialized care to patients, including those who suffer from autoimmune arthritis and/or fibromyalgia.
In some individuals, their body’s defense system tries to destroy their normal cells. That is due to their immune system losing the ability to distinguish normal cells from foreign invaders. The result is an individual experiencing at least one of the more than 80 autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases affect millions of Americans to a greater or lesser degree of disability. More women than men develop one or more autoimmune diseases. Although treatment can relieve symptoms, there is no cure.
Several Types Of Arthritis Are Autoimmune Diseases
Medical science has described more than 100 types of arthritis. Some are autoimmune diseases. Some are not.
- Juvenile arthritis
- Palindromic arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Spondyloarthritis, which includes ankylosing spondyloarthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, reactive arthritis, and enteropathic arthritis
Symptoms can vary significantly in location, intensity, and duration. However, nearly all individuals experience inflammation and pain in one or more of their joints.
Fibromyalgia Is Not An Autoimmune Disease
Although fibromyalgia isn’t an autoimmune disease, it can be just as debilitating. Individuals with fibromyalgia experience body-wide pain. It affects more women than men.
Fibromyalgia pain is often accompanied by sleep disorders, leaving individuals chronically fatigued. Some experience difficulty thinking clearly, known as “fibro fog,” or other cognitive issues. Although the precise cause is unknown, fibromyalgia appears to result from abnormalities in the brain’s pain receptors.
Genetics may play a part in developing fibromyalgia. Infections and emotional or physical trauma may also be factors. Individuals with specific medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases, can also be at high risk for fibromyalgia.
Treatment focuses on symptom relief, as there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Patients often become depressed, so antidepressants are frequently prescribed. Low-impact exercise is usually recommended, along with physical therapy. However, any activity is painful and requires extended time to recover.
How Does Fibromyalgia Differ From Autoimmune Arthritis?
Individuals with autoimmune arthritis have joint pain from inflammation. Individuals with fibromyalgia experience pain in their muscles and tissues. As fibromyalgia is a neurological condition, pain does not result from inflammation.
Arthritis usually deforms joints. Fibromyalgia doesn’t affect the joints in most patients. However, some individuals may experience stiffness and tenderness in their joints. Treatments are different for each condition.
In What Ways Are Fibromyalgia And Autoimmune Arthritis Potentially Linked?
Despite their differences, autoimmune arthritis and fibromyalgia have commonalities. It’s not unusual for an individual to have both concurrently. Both present difficulties in diagnosis.
Neither autoimmune arthritis nor fibromyalgia has a definitive diagnostic test. Physicians rely on the patient’s symptoms and a battery of tests designed to exclude other conditions. Physical exams generally confirm a diagnosis.
Genes may have a role in both conditions, although the gene differs in each. Research indicates that varying infections can be an underlying cause of each. However, both conditions have been linked to the Epstein-Barr virus.
Because more women than men have arthritis or fibromyalgia, hormonal changes may be a factor in developing either condition. Smoking and obesity increase the risk and severity of symptoms in both.
Statistically, individuals with an autoimmune disease, especially those with rheumatoid arthritis, are at an increased risk of fibromyalgia. However, fibromyalgia is not a risk factor for arthritis. The chronic pain of arthritis is thought to be one cause of the pain sensitization that characterizes fibromyalgia.
Regardless of any differences or links between the two conditions, both are marked by chronic pain. Arthritic pain often starts in the small joints and progresses to larger joints. Patients can usually describe exactly where it hurts, and the area is often swollen.
Patients with pain due to fibromyalgia describe their whole body as hurting. They can’t name a specific area as the focus of pain. Patients with either or both arthritis and fibromyalgia can experience flare-ups or temporary remissions of pain.
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Pegasus in-home nurses in Sherman Oaks and other locations offer one-on-one care that helps their patients remain independent. They’re familiar with a variety of medical conditions, including fibromyalgia and autoimmune arthritis. Career home health care nurses utilize and perfect multiple clinical skill sets for assessing and treating their patients.
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