I have been diagnosed with spondyloarthritis for several years. I know the disease is separate from rheumatoid, but I’ve been told they are related. What are the similarities / differences in the progression and symptoms and should they be treated the same?
RA and spondyloarthritis are quite distinct. RA tends to affect the peripheral joints (small joints of the hands and feet) and dose not affect the spine. Spondyloarthritis tends to affect the spine with little or no effect on the peripheral joints. The pathogeneic basis for the disease, and associated genetic and autoantibody features are also different. Despite the differences, many of the same medications are used to treat both disorders. There is much more information on these subjects on the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center Website.