Care for living with lupus and fibromyalgia

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), known as lupus, is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that causes inflammation, which can cause irreversible damage to multiple organs.

The immune system protects the body , in lupus, the immune system fails and attacks itself, the patient’s own tissues, so lupus is an autoimmune disease. The exact cause of this disease is unknown. “It is not possible to prevent it,” says rheumatologist Claudia Vera Barrezueta.

In contrast, fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that causes widespread pain, sensitivity at certain specific points, tiredness, sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, migraine, among other symptoms. “It is not an autoimmune disease nor is it based on inflammation, it is not possible to prevent it either,” adds Dr. Vera.

The rheumatologist Andrés Zúñiga explains that both diseases can be confused with other pathologies, due to common symptoms such as polyarticular pain.

Fibromyalgia can be detected in general medicine, with a good medical history and physical examination, applying the latest criteria of the American College of Rheumatology, after excluding similar diseases. There is no proof to diagnose it. In contrast, in lupus the detection is complex and must be done by a rheumatologist.

Luis Zurita, head of the Rheumatology Service and director of teaching at Omni Hospital, explains that the detection of lupus is carried out with the support of laboratory tests, especially antinuclear antibodies, anti-Dna and complement. For the specialist it is easy to differentiate between the two, “the main problem occurs when both diseases coexist,” says the doctor.

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