How is fibromyalgia related to rheumatoid arthritis?

There is often concern on the part of people with fibromyalgia (FM), and sometimes doctors, that FM is the early phase of a more severe disease, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc. Long-term follow-up of people with fibromyalgia has shown that it is very unusual for them to develop another rheumatic disease or neurological condition.

However, it is quite common for people with "well-established" rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and Sjogren's syndrome, to also have fibromyalgia. It is important for these patients' doctors to realize that such a combination of problems exists, since specific therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, etc. does not have any effect on FM symptoms.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
Doctors classify fibromyalgia as a rheumatic disease, which is the medical term for a chronic, painful condition that affects the joints and their supporting tissues (such as tendons and ligaments). Arthritis is another type of rheumatic disease. If you have fibromyalgia, your primary-care doctor may refer you to a specialist known as a rheumatologist for treatment.
Dr. Mihaela B. Taylor, MD
Fibromyalgia is common in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes inflammation (swelling and redness) of the body's joints. This inflammation causes the pain that people with RA experience, but in some cases fibromyalgia may also be a factor. People with both RA and fibromyalgia can be more difficult to treat with anti-inflammatory medicines.

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