Autoimmune diseases often express similar symptoms in different conditions. This is one of the reasons it is so difficult to diagnose these diseases.
Lupus is often referred to as the disease with a thousand faces because it is associated with a wide variety of symptoms and other connective tissue auto-immune conditions.
Common diseases that overlap with lupus:
- a form of inflammatory arthritis. In RA, almost exactly like lupus, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, specifically the synovium, a thin membrane that lines the joints. As a result of the attack, fluid builds up in the joints, causing pain in the joints and inflammation that is systemic, meaning it can occur throughout the body.
- a blood disorder where the body accidentally attacks normal proteins in the blood, which are made to control blood clotting.
- a condition that causes some areas of your body— such as the fingers, toes, and the tip of your nose and ears — to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress.
- a progressive disease of skin and connective tissue. It is caused by the accumulation of collagen in the inner walls of the small arteries that causes skin and the tissues of internal organs to become sclerotic.
- an immune-mediated destruction of the endocrine glands, most prominently the tear and salivary glands, causing dry eyes and dry mouth. Other glands and organs can also be affected.
There are also many less common autoimmune diseases that can affect people with lupus.
Overlapping diseases are most likely to develop shortly after the first diagnosis. However, a patient can develop a second autoimmune disease more than ten years after the diagnosis of the first.
It is therefore very important to keep your doctor updated on any new symptoms you are experiencing.