It has been some time since I posted but I started a new job and life has been a bit hectic. After not working for 6 months, suddenly taking a train into work and then a subway (over 4 hrs. a day!) has wreaked havoc on my joints(especially the knees and ankles). My fingers also ache from the middle joint to the joint closest to the palm. I started the Plaquenil in May, so it is too soon to see if it is working. At this point it really isn't. I have a hardly noticeable redness on both cheeks and my nose, but my mother has roseacea so I thought it could be that. My hair has thinned but hasn't gotten any worse and my family has a history of very fine, thinning of the hair. I have not internal organ symptoms except for my gallbladder being removed a week before the Lupus dx in May due to the bile duct shutting down and no longer working.
After the Lupus diagnosis in May, I and some other family members have concerns that rheumatoid arthritis was not really considered. Is it true that both diseases can often be similar in much of the lab tests and symptoms? I know I had a high ANA, positive for the Rheumatoid factor, positive for both the anti-SSA and anti-SSB. My mother says she knows of a couple of people that were incorrectly diagnosed with one or the other initially.
Since my job is in a major city now, I decided to change my PCP(who is also my rheumatologist) and am going to a major teaching hospital's Lupus Center next month to see a Rheumatologist that specializes in the disease. I have also requested a copy of all lab and office visit materials since the diagnosis. Until then I wait and wonder and try to take each day as it comes. Any information you have would be truly appreciated!
Hi Angie~~ I am new to the forum. The only reason, I may be able to answer this ? for you is because I have been reading about lupus. Rheumatoid factor is actually produced by your body, that causes a chain reaction of bio chemical events that leads to cartilage and joint destruction. 1/3 of lupus patients have RH factor, which can aggravate the inflammation of joints but, may be protective of other tissues, such as the kidneys. That is good news for you. in that you may not have to worry about kidney involvement. So, it is possible to have lupus and Rh factor. The RH factor is positive in 80% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. and in 20-30% of lupus patients w/SLE. When there are high levels of RH Factor and low levels of ANA, then rheumatoid athritis is the most likely Dx. There is a blood test called~Serum protein Electrophoresis If a broad band of gamma globulin is found, it confirms an autoimmune process.
Hope this helps. I am not a medical professional. Just offering, what I myself, have just learned.
Thank you so much! That is a tremendous help to me. I also just recently read more in depth symtoms of RA, such as warm joints and benign nodules around certain areas of the body. I don't have either one of those so I think the Lupus dx fits more and more. Thank you for the insight! It was very helpful!