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How can one tell the difference between Lupus and MS? I see a Rheumatologist who says I have UCTD - Unspecified Connective Tissue Disorder. I've been seeing him on and off for symptoms for the past few years. Prior to that, I was doing the rounds of Doctor and ER visit's for odd symptoms. I finally diagnosed myself - at age 35 - after my son was born and made my own appointment with a top Rheumatologist in town. This Doctor is the first Doctor to take my symptoms seriously - and I've been symptomatic on and off since I was 12. I'm 42 now, and have had this illness most of my life. I am usually ANA negative, but a few times have had an ANA - low speckled titer reading. I always have a high sed rate, a low ( and I mean low) lymphocyte count, some microscopic blood in my urine (although all kidney tests are negative). I've had odd sores in my mouth and nose and fatigue on and off.I've had UGLY red rashes on my lower legs - when out in the sun too long - that were diagnosed once as "vasculitis". As a teen, I had episodes of transient visual loss in my left eye, with flashes of lights in my vision. Also as a teen, I had horrendous episodes of vertigo - several times. All medical tests then were normal. I went 20 years with no visual problems, and after the birth of my son - when I was 35 - had a few of these visual episodes again. I saw an Optho-Neurologist who said I have Opthalmic Migraine (w/out the headache). The last time I had one of these occurances, I also had some numbness in my left hand and tingling in my leg for several weeks. I thought I'd had a stroke and did have an MRI - this was normal too. Could I have peripheral nervous system involvement with UCTD or could I have MS? The other symptoms I've had is this occasional odd burning sensations - sometimes on my body and recently I had very bad pain and burning in my jaw, lower gums and teeth. It was excruciating and I checked out fine at the Dentist. He said I had facial neuralgia. My doctor gave me a Medrol dose pack and I'm feeling good again. I know neuralgia can go along with both Lupus and MS. I work part-time as a Psychology Profesor and Psychotherapist. I know none of this is in my head - there is something going on - but my tests are always so near normal - it's been difficult to pinpoint. I was so exited the day my Rheumatologist said I had UCTD - I finally had something!! Does anyone else out there have this UCTD and odd mix of symptoms? I do stay upbeat and busy and only occasionally let this drag me down. I have two great little boys who need a happy, fun Mom; I try to walk several miles a day and have close friends...I think my husband - an Engineer (Type A, never sick...)- thinks I'm a little wacked at times, but he's supportive - but as puzzled as I am about these symptoms that wax and wane.





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