Palindromic rheumatism is just one of many. Palindromic rheumatism is a very rare type of inflammatory arthritis. Symptoms are often mistaken for and misdiagnosed as RA or rheumatoid arthritis. Also, these two conditions can certainly overlap, existing in the same patient.
That being said, however, there are still some distinguishing features between palindromic rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.
So what is Palindromic Rheumatism, and its features?
- Palindromic rheumatism is an inflammatory type of arthritis – since not a whole lot is known about it, it is often referred to as a syndrome instead of a disease like RA. A syndrome is a ‘collection of symptoms.’ Fibromyalgia is often also referred to as a syndrome.
- Palindromic rheumatism is characterized by attacks of inflammation on joints, tissue, and muscle. It is not reserved for the joints only. These attacks come and go, and usually are “quicker” than typical RA or Lupus flares — albeit, very painful in nature. These attacks of palindromic rheumatism come on VERY SUDDENLY and spontaneously, and can last a few hours to a few days, usually affecting 1-3 areas. These attacks are usually intense, but are unpredictable in frequency and duration. Remission, like onset, is very sudden and spontaneous in nature.
- It usually comes and goes from one joint to another. Example: In one attack, it could start in a thumb, move to the arm the next day and then hours later the arm will be better and it could move to another joint or tissue.
- Palindromic rheumatism does not usually lead to permanent joint damage, like rheumatoid arthritis does. This is one of the main differences between the two diseases. However, as stated, palindromic rheumatism can occur in patients who do have rheumatoid arthritis also.
- Subcutaneous nodules can develop in palindromic rheumatism patients. These nodules are unlike the nodules seen in RA patients, however.
- X-rays are usually normal with palindromic rheumatism patients.
- Sed-rate and rheumatoid factor tests may or may not be positive in palindromic rheumatism patients.
- If a patient starts out with palindromic rheumatism, they have a better chance than the average person of developing RA. Sometimes palindromic rheumatism turns into RA.
- About 30-40% of palindromic rheumatism patients’ condition worsens over time. The attacks become more frequent and may last longer.
- Only between 100,000 & 200,000 people in the United States have palindromic rheumatism, making it much less common than RA.
- Men and women are equally affected by palindromic rheumatism, another unique difference from RA which is more prevalent amongst females.
- Palindromic rheumatism typically affects people from 20 years old to 70 years old and is not documented in children.
- Treatment for PR usually consists of NSAIDs, oral steroid use, steroid injections, and DMARDs. Occasionally, anti-Malaria drugs like Plaquinil will be given. Some people turn to alternative treatments such as massage, acupuncture, etc.
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