Multiple sclerosis vs. lupus: Differences and symptoms

What is the difference between MS and lupus?

Multiple sclerosis and lupus both involve the immune system, and they may cause similar symptoms at times. However, they are separate conditions with distinct characteristics.

 

Symptoms ofĀ multiple sclerosisĀ (MS) appear because the body attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This damage interferes with the way the body communicates with the brain.

LupusĀ is an autoimmune condition. It causes the immune system to attack different areas of the body, such as the skin, joints, and organs. In some people, lupus attacks the nervous system.

 

It is possible to have both MS and lupus, though the chances are slim.

In this article, learn more about the differences between MS and lupus, their symptoms, and the diagnostic process for each.

MS vs. lupus symptoms

Both MS and lupus can cause fever and body aches.

Both MS and lupus can cause fever and body aches.

The symptoms of MS and lupus tend to flare up and go away.

The symptoms that mark these flare-ups can vary and may get worse over time.

 

In a person with MS, the immune system attacks nerve cells, damaging their protective sheaths.

This makes it harder for the brain and body to communicate and may result in neurological symptoms, including:

  • unexplained numbness, sometimes in the limbs

  • vision problems, such as blurred orĀ double vision

  • dizziness

  • trouble balancing

  • weakness in the limbs

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that can causeĀ inflammationĀ in many areas of the body, including the nervous system, but this system is not always involved. Lupus can also attack the skin, joints, and organs.

According to theĀ Lupus Foundation of America, many scientists believe that the condition results from a combination of hormones, genetics, and environmental factors.

 

The most common symptoms of lupus are:

  • skin rashes

  • painful or swollen joints

  • unexplainedĀ fevers

  • hair loss

The following symptoms are more common when lupus is affecting the nervous system and less common in people with MS:

  • headaches

  • changes in personality

  • seizures

  • stroke

The two conditions share some symptoms, such asĀ fatigue. People with these conditions can also experience similar aches and pains.

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