Lupus & Fibromyalgia
It is relatively common for a person with an autoimmune disease, like lupus, to also develop fibromyalgia. Two studies attempted to ascertain the likelihood of having both conditions (comorbidity).
Published in 2009, one study relied on a survey of people with lupus (SLE). Fibromyalgia was measured using a separate survey. The researchers found that 22.1% of people with lupus also had fibromyalgia.
This finding was similar to what was found in a review published in 2012. The author of the review found 8 studies exploring the comorbidity between lupus and fibro. The average prevalence was 16.2% (the range was 12.2-19.8%).
There are other common comorbidities with fibromyalgia including:
- rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (15.4%)
- ankylosing spondylitis (30.4%)
- hypothyroidism (34%)
- Crohn’s disease (26%)
These prevalence findings are important to researchers who are looking expand the understanding of fibro. Comorbidity hints at other relevant factors and challenges.
Both lupus and fibromyalgia can cause symptoms that are similar to one another. This is one of the reasons that it can be challenging to diagnose these diseases. It is necessary for clinicians to consider lab tests, a person’s medical history, and a physical examination to make a diagnosis.
Though it can be challenging, the diagnostic process is crucial. Dr. Robert Shaw, a rheumatologist, shares: “A proper diagnosis is important because the treatments for lupus and fibromyalgia are different.”
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of fibromyalgia, be sure to bring it up with your clinician. And, if you are having issues sleeping, check out these strategies and tech tools that aim to improve sleep.