Differentiating SLE from Fibromyalgia

Differentiating SLE from Fibromyalgia

These two conditions have features and one has to be keen while trying to outline their differences in epidemiological studies. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a complex disease of the autoimmune system which involves the immune system attacking the body cells and tissues which results in inflammation and damage to tissues (Fortuna & Brennan, 2013). Whereas, fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder which causes great pain in bones, muscles and tender areas of the body and also characterized by general fatigue (Fortuna & Brennan, 2013).

SLE can affect any part of the body following a remitting and relapsing course. The disease is characterized by protean manifestations in the urine which can help in differential diagnosis to avoid misdiagnosis. Fibromyalgia is more specific regarding expression as opposed to SLE which can occur in any part of the body. Lupus manifests itself as a rash while Fibromyalgia does not. Their causes also serve as a differing point since SLE is an autoimmune disorder but has also been found to have genetic traces. Fibromyalgia, on the other hand, has some predisposition to genetics but has various triggers such as trauma, emotional stress, and anxiety (Fortuna & Brennan, 2013).

In diagnosis, samples of blood from suspected SLE patients have elevated levels of positive antinuclear antibodies which are not the same for Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia Symptom management includes a combination of therapies such as antidepressants, painkillers steroidal therapy and muscle relaxants while SLE responds well to steroidal treatment with immunosuppressant medications than Fibromyalgia (Fortuna & Brennan, 2013).

Information for patient education suffering from SLE

The causes should also be explained to the patients. The disease is more prevalent in women than men with 90% approximate cases reported being women (Fortuna & Brennan, 2013). This means that it usually affects women nine times more than men. Some environmental factors also predispose one to the disease such as ultraviolet light, chemicals, and drugs such as hydrazine, alfalfa sprouts, smoking and infections such as parvovirus.

It is also imperative to undergo diagnosis from a professional due to the similar symptoms posed by the disorder to avoid misdiagnosis and ensure early discovery and treatments. One of the most apparent sign is the skin abnormalities such as rashes and patterns. Concepts of treatment should also be discussed to reduce the symptoms.


Fortuna, G., & Brennan, M. T. (2013). Systemic lupus erythematosus. Dental Clinics57(4), 631-655.

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