Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus have similar symptoms that confuse people, according to Healthline. However, there are differences that put the two diseases apart. For example, rheumatoid arthritis causes pain that gradually worsens as the day goes on, while the pain resulting from lupus is constant throughout the day.
Both diseases have joint pain as a common symptom, but lupus has other symptoms, such as a butterfly-shaped rash on the face or sensitivity to sunlight, notes Healthline. Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint stiffness and tenderness.
Lupus not only affects the joints but may also cause damage to internal organs, such as the lungs, while rheumatoid arthritis only affects the joints of ankles, knees, wrists or fingers, explains Healthline. Unlike lupus, an advanced rheumatoid arthritis condition may result in erosion and deformity of the bones.
Lupus can be fatal because the disease may bring about heart and kidney complications, and patients can also suffer from anemia or inflammation of the blood vessels, states Healthline. Rheumatoid arthritis has no life-threatening symptoms. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, lupus may cause weight loss. Despite the differences between the two, a patient suffering from either condition should seek a long-term plan from a doctor to help relieve the symptoms.