Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be challenging to diagnose. Not only is there no definitive test to prove that someone has the disease, but there are also other conditions that present with the same symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you have rheumatoid arthritis, they must first rule out other diseases that mimic it.
Post-Viral Arthritis – Chronic or acute viral infections can cause polyarthritis – a temporary condition that looks a lot like rheumatoid arthritis from a clinical perspective. Infections like parvovirus B19, hepatitis, and HIV can all lead to this condition.
Seronegative Spondyloarthritis – This is a group of rheumatic conditions that cause inflammation in the spine. Psoriatic arthritis is one of these diseases, and if it presents without a rash, it can be difficult to distinguish between this and rheumatoid arthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis and IBS can also mimic the disease.
Lupus – Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect your joints. Deformities can develop that mimic the joint damage present in rheumatoid arthritis. With lupus, the deformity comes from the tendons and ligaments rather than the joints, which is the distinguishing factor in determining which of the two conditions you have.
Scleroderma – This condition includes joint pain, tightening of the skin, heartburn, and Raynaud’s disease (exaggerated response to cold temperatures. Scleroderma can be ruled out with a comprehensive chemistry panel, complete blood count, and serologic studies.
These are just four of the diseases that present with similar symptoms to rheumatoid arthritis. In future blog posts, we will look at the rest of the conditions that have to be ruled out before a diagnosis of RA is given. Our pain management clinic in Jacksonville, FL, can provide you with relief from your RA symptoms when you call our office at 904.449.7246 or book an appointment online.