Is there an association between rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus)? Can someone have both diseases or must he or she be diagnosed with only one? What are the challenges in addressing these questions and more?
From a recent article published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, the average RA patient has 1.6 comorbidities and that number increases with the patient's age. There is increasing interest in the field of comorbidity (the existence of more than one disease in a person, usually independently of one another) and rheumatic diseases.
Incidence of Co-morbidity of RA and Lupus?
The Lupus Foundation of America states that the majority of people with lupus have lupus alone. However, between 5 and 30 percent of people with lupus report having overlap symptoms -- symptoms of more than one disease. The likelihood of a person with lupus also having an overlap disease is 15 percent, distributed as follows: Rheumatoid Arthritis (1%), Polymyositis-Dermatomyositis (2%), Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (3%), Scleroderma (4%), and Sjogren's syndrome (5%). There are at least 1.5 million Americans living with lupus, thus statistically approximately 15,000 may have both Lupus and RA.
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