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What is the link between rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia?

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In healthy people, the immune system is the first line of defense against germs, viruses, and other invaders. But rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. That means the immune system attacks healthy tissue in your body, in this case your joints. As a result, the joints become painful and swollen. You may also feel tired. Fibromyalgia isn't an autoimmune disease. But its symptoms are similar. It also causes pain, stiffness, and fatigue. Doctors aren't sure what causes fibromyalgia. One theory is that an imbalance in brain chemicals makes you more sensitive to pain. The same pressure that other people think is normal may feel tender or painful to you. Another link may be inflammation, which involves part of the body becoming swollen, red, hot and painful. It's the main problem in RA. Fibromyalgia isn't considered an inflammatory condition. But chronic inflammation could play a role. Your lifestyle, weight, and stress level may all raise your chances for both conditions.

SOURCES:

Christopher Morris, MD, F.A.C.R., rheumatologist, Arthritis Associates of Kingsport, Tenn.; physician, Southern Medical Association.

Journal of Rheumatology : "Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia: A Frequent Unrelated Association Complicating Disease Management."

Mayo Clinic: "Rheumatoid Arthritis."

CDC: "Fibromyalgia Fact Sheet."

Mayo Clinic Proceedings : "The Science of Fibromyalgia."

Journal of Pain Research: "Evidence of both systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation in fibromyalgia patients, as assessed by a multiplex protein panel applied to the cerebrospinal fluid and to plasma."

Pain: "The development of fibromyalgia - I: examination of rates and predictors in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)."

American College of Rheumatology: "Fibromyalgia."

Arthritis Research & Therapy: "Distinguishing Fibromyalgia From Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus in Clinical Questionnaires."

Revisita Brasileira de Reumatologica: "Rheumatoid arthritis seems to have DMARD treatment decision influenced by fibromyalgia."

FDA: "Living with Fibromyalgia," "Drugs Approved to Manage Pain."

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: "Sleep quality and functional disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis."

Reviewed by David Zelman on June 24, 2019

SOURCES:

Christopher Morris, MD, F.A.C.R., rheumatologist, Arthritis Associates of Kingsport, Tenn.; physician, Southern Medical Association.

Journal of Rheumatology : "Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia: A Frequent Unrelated Association Complicating Disease Management."

Mayo Clinic: "Rheumatoid Arthritis."

CDC: "Fibromyalgia Fact Sheet."

Mayo Clinic Proceedings : "The Science of Fibromyalgia."

Journal of Pain Research: "Evidence of both systemic inflammation and neuroinflammation in fibromyalgia patients, as assessed by a multiplex protein panel applied to the cerebrospinal fluid and to plasma."

Pain: "The development of fibromyalgia - I: examination of rates and predictors in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)."

American College of Rheumatology: "Fibromyalgia."

Arthritis Research & Therapy: "Distinguishing Fibromyalgia From Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus in Clinical Questionnaires."

Revisita Brasileira de Reumatologica: "Rheumatoid arthritis seems to have DMARD treatment decision influenced by fibromyalgia."

FDA: "Living with Fibromyalgia," "Drugs Approved to Manage Pain."

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: "Sleep quality and functional disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis."

Reviewed by David Zelman on June 24, 2019

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How is rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia diagnosed?

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