Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the immune system which first targets the synovium, or lining of the joint, resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling, joint damage, and loss of function. Inflammation most often affects joints of the hands and feet and tends to occur symmetrically which helps to distinguish it from other diseases. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 1.3 million Americans, or about 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population, live with rheumatoid arthritis.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes pain throughout the tissues that support and move the bones and joints of the body. Pain, stiffness, and localized tender points occurs in the muscles and tendons, particularly those of the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. Patients often experience fatigue and sleep disturbances. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (CDC) adds that other symptoms may include tingling or numbness in hands and feet, headaches (including migraines), irritable bowel syndrome, and cognitive difficulties.
It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans, or about 2 percent of the U.S. adult population. For unknown reasons 80 to 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, although men and children can be affected. People with certain rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis), may be more likely to have fibromyalgia, too.
Can I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia?