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My symptoms are: Extremely painful to walk, rashes, blood in urine, Anemia (had to get iron infusions), headaches, extreme fatigue, ect. I seen a doctor who did some x-rays, blood work & a physical exam. She recently called me & told me from my lab results came back & said i have either Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or RheumatoidArthritis. She said my blood work showed alot of abnormalities & even infection. She wanted me to start on a steroid right away. She put me on (10 mg pills of Prednisone) for 10 days until my follow up with a Rheumatologist. Okay my question: What is Lupus & RheumatoidArthritis?
Are these 2 illnesses simular? She will be calling me back within 5 days with the other test results. Has anyone personally experienced this? She said my illness is treatable but not cureable. I’m still pretty young & this is a shock to me & i’m having a hard time dealing with not knowing what i’m dealing with i guess my new doctor will be able to answer alot of questions later.
Thanks for the advice i will go look there.Paul John answers:


Lupus and RA are autoimmune diseases, that is when your immune system attacks your own cells.
These two diseases overlap in some people, so don’t focus so much on an absolute diagnosis.


I am sorry that you have this problem. It sucks. Try to take the steroids as little as possible because, although it may help you feel better, it has lots of side effects over time.


Looking back over your symptoms, it sounds like you have something else going on too. Doctors do not know what causes the outbreak or auto-immune diseases. It can be stress, chemical exposure, diet or most commonly, something you can never identify.
Make sure you get good sleep. Eat a super healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits.


My Mom had RA. I have friends with lupus and related illnesses. Don’t give up hope. There are so many advances in the treatment of these diseases.


Here are a couple of links on auto-immune disease:






Maria asks…Rheumatoid Arthritis or something else?


I’m 20 years old, pretty athletic, I’ve been tested for RA 3 times, the first time I was 13 because I started getting joint pain and inflammation and have uveitis in my eyes, they took 7 tubes of blood from me, they tested for all kinds of autoimmune diseases and all of them came back negative, In April I got tested again because I had progressively worsening symptoms. The rheumatoid factor came back normal again. I’m so frustrated, I just want to know what is wrong with me, I have every single symptom of RA, including the pain, stiffness, swelling, joint discoloration/warmth, weakness, joint rash, fatigue, and severe aches when I get a fever. These symptoms affect almost every joint in my body. It even runs in my family, my mom has had it since she was 12 years old. Even in the cold weather my joints will stiffen up and in the heat they will swell up.


Any idea what it could be??Paul John answers:


RA isn’t easy to diagnose. There are some people who have RA and have no positive blood tests at all. It’s especially common in children with JRA to have negative blood work.


Have you seen a rheumatologist? If you haven’t, then you should. A good rheumatologist will take note of your symptoms and then look at x-rays and blood tests.


Have you had x-rays? And do you have a copy of your blood test results? Have you had an ENA panel done? And have you have your ESR and CRP done? Or anti-CCP?


There are many things that can cause these symptoms, and usually it’s just a matter of exclusion. It sounds like you’ve been dealing with this for a long time and your symptoms seem to match up with RA, and you have a family history. But no one on here is a rheumatologist or able to diagnose you. Approximately 30% of people with RA don’t have a positive rheumatoid factor (seronegative rheumatoid arthritis). I’m in a similar boat (I’m 21 years old and had bouts of synovitis when I was a child), but I’ve had a few positive blood tests and the symptoms. I’m currently seeing a rheumatologist. My GP put me on Prednisone which helped so much. I went back to my GP and told her I felt amazing and she said “well if you feel better on Prednisone, it’s a huge indicator that you have some sort of autoimmune inflammatory arthritis”. But don’t go on Prednisone until you’ve seen the rheumatologist! It masks your symptoms and you’ll have a rheumatologist who gets angry with you (just like mine did!)


Go back to your doctor and ask for a copy of all your blood tests and a referral to a rheumatologist. When your joints swell or look different, you should definitely take photos of them. Take these photos with you to the doctor. The best day I’d had in the past 10 months was the day of my rheumatology appointment! I had no swelling (thanks to the Prednisone) and the rheumatologist got annoyed with me.


Anyway, good luck. I hope you get some answers!




Chris asks…juvenile rheumatoid arthritis?


In February of 2007 i was 14 years old and i suddenly got juvenile rheumatoidarthritis. For about a year i the symptoms were really bad. than they got better and better until they nearly didn’t bother me anymore or even phased me. Now 17 and from time to time i still get a bit of the rashes and very rarely my joints start to hurt but it goes away the next day. I know its not “gone” but will it ever? am i going to have it for the rest of my life? will it get even worse again when i get older?Paul John answers:


If treated properly symptoms can go away and for quite a lot not return even in old age. However it needs to be treated correctly and so I would recommend going to see a doctor and being admitted to a specialist preferably the rheumatologist you had when you were younger as they would know your condition.


Sandy asks…anyone diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, suspect it may actually be lyme disease?


i live in south florida. where you can find a tick on any animal that isnt protected by a pest collar or frontline, advantix etc. a little over 2 years ago despite countless hundreds spent on lawn repellant and animal products i had quite a tick infestation after they plowed down the field next to my home. my grandmother got bit by a few ticks and started developing symptoms: the bulls eye rash (at the sight of the tick bite), flue like symptoms. then she started with the joint pain, a 75% blocked artery fatigue and some nervous system problems… i understand she’s older, and i understand alot of these symptoms spell out RA, but we really think its Lyme disease poisoning, and the doctos she’s gone to refuse to believe it and don’t want to test… anyone else had this problem??Paul John answers:


Lyme disease is very often misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.


Although a bull’s eye rash, or even knowledge of a tick bite (they can be very small) is not required to be diagnosed with Lyme disease, the bull’s eye rash means 100% that she has Lyme.


Unfortunately, it is extremely common for doctors to refuse to diagnose Lyme disease, even in a very obvious case like your grandmother’s.


Here are some websites for more information.