The flaw in this is that arthralgia is not a diagnosis but a symptom. It only means joint pain and it's the cause of the joint pain that will be the diagnosis. There are many possible causes of joint pain - injury, infection, autoimmune connective tissue diseases, other autoimmune diseases, even drug induced
We tend to think that the word inflammatory means there is something visible. If there are visible signs of joint pain (and maybe obvious damage) such as swelling, redness, heat and mis shapen it would be called chronic arthritis unless this is due to injury which can be treated. The " - itis" ending means inflammation, the "-algia" ending means pain, as in neuralgia or fibromyalgia.
In lupus as opposed to RA, joint pains commonly are technically arthralgia and not arthritis with visible signs. Also deformity is not very common in lupus, either visibly or internal damage to joints.
Lupus is described as an inflammatory disease because inflammation results from any special activity of the immune system from whatever cause. I have often heard of doctors saying it can't be lupus because your joints look OK. That is rubbish.
Oddly enough the blood signs of inflammatory processes are not always elevated in lupus, but of course elevated SED and CRP levels help greatly to diagnosis. High CRP levels though might indicate an infectious cause rather than lupus
Joint aches and pains are one of the most common symptoms of lupus and for some people the main symptom. However there would have to be other signs and symptoms before the aches could be attributed to lupus as opposed to anything else.
Look carefully over the ACR Criteria for Lupus and compare it with your symptoms or any blood test abnormalities. Make sure all the usual tests have in fact been done.
I am pretty sure that the presence of anti- Ro antibodies is abnormal whatever the titre. The higher the ANA titre the more likely it is due to Lupus. 1:320 and above is considered more likely than the lower titres which might be due to other illnesses or none at all.
Sometimes lupus can only be a diagnosis of exclusion.
I would be looking for another doctor because if it is chronic arthralgia the cause should be found so that correct disease modifying treatment can be used not relying entirely on anti inflammatories or steroids for relief.
All the best
Post Edited (BumbleBee1) : 2/10/2009 9:33:00 AM (GMT-7)