Several autoimmune diseases affect the body. It is still unclear why these diseases occur. Again, most of them display similarities in their manifestation. Today we are looking at lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, we will dwell on the difference in blood tests for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks several parts of the body. Its clinical manifestation differs according to the area it strikes. Lupus occurs when the body immune system produces autoantibodies. These antibodies do not differentiate between foreign invaders like germs, bacteria from cell bodies. As a result, rogue antibodies attack healthy body cells.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the body joints. The body immune system produces antibodies that protect the body from bacteria and viruses. Apparently, some of these antibodies turn autoimmune or rogue and attack the joints. This damages the cartilage, and the joints swell with excruciating pain. Rheumatoid arthritis mostly attacks the hands and leg joints.
Difference Between lupus And Rheumatoid Arthritis
These two diseases are almost similar in nature. But a closer look displays some distinct differences. Lupus attacks joints and any other part of the body, including the internal organs. It can manifest with skin rashes, fever, and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis primarily attacks the joints. Unlike lupus, it attacks corresponding joints in the body. While rheumatoid arthritis deforms the joints, lupus does not.
Blood Tests For Lupus And Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Blood Test For Lupus
Unlike in the doctor’s appointment, you do not need special preparation for the blood test for lupus. The doctor already has all the required information. On your part, you need to disclose all the medications that you take especially supplements and vitamins. Some medicines or food can distort the interpretation of the results.
The Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test
The antinuclear antibody test or ANA is the most known blood test for lupus. It involves the taking of your blood sample for laboratory tests. The physician will tightly tie your hand slightly above the elbow. This swells the nerves for visibility. Is also makes the veins swell for more accessible blood collection. The doctor sterilizes the elbow with a surgical antiseptic. After that, he will insert a needle into the vein and collect blood into a tube. The doctor will remove the needle and bandage the area to stop further bleeding. Your blood sample is taken to the laboratory.
The blood test for lupus can be negative or positive. If negative, you have no antinuclear antibodies. A positive result means that you have antinuclear antibodies. The presence of antinuclear antibodies can also mean you have other autoimmune diseases. That means the doctor will order for more tests if a need arises. Most people who test positive to the antinuclear antibodies test end up will lupus. Negative results can also mean you have undisclosed autoimmune diseases. Extra checks can confirm the first test if it comes out inconclusive.
2. Blood Test For Rheumatoid Arthritis
- As in the lupus test, there is no clear cut preparation for the rheumatoid arthritis blood test. Stay clear of alcohol or related products.
- It is good to inform the doctor of all the supplements, medication, or anything that helps in managing your condition. The doctor may tell you to avoid taking food before the test.
- There are several rheumatoid arthritis blood tests that the doctor can order. That will depend on the clinical symptoms and the doctor’s suspicion.
- The doctor will prepare you as in the lupus procedure. When the blood samples are back from the laboratory, the doctor will interpret the negative or positive results.
- The anti-CCP blood test looks for an antibody with the same name. If it is more than 20 units per milliliter, you are at risk. Antinuclear antibody test usually checks for other autoimmune diseases.
- Other blood tests include C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, HLA tissue typing, and rheumatoid factor. Two further blood tests check on the uric concentration.
- If there is a higher concentration of uric acid, you may have gout rather than rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis blood tests can sometimes fall short of giving a conclusive diagnosis. This will cause the doctor to use some imaging diagnosis to check the joint condition. It is the doctor to decide which other methods to take.
Natural Remedies For Lupus And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Some natural foods like omega-3 fatty acids, ginger, and turmeric are useful for lupus management. Intensive mind therapies through meditation are also helpful. For rheumatoid arthritis, changing your lifestyle is crucial. Apart from your diet, exercise, rest, and body meditation can also help. Omega fatty acids, Indian frankincense, turmeric, and cumin are vital ingredients in managing rheumatoid arthritis.
The clinical manifestations of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are almost similar. Researchers are still grappling why the immune system turns to attack its tissues. Some recent blood tests for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are revealing positive strides in science. It is the hope of many that an effective remedy will come out soon.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.