JRA.... Journal of a Radical Arthritis Chick

Here I give advice, speak of my experiences and give information to those who want to better understand Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am NOT a medical professional, and you should always seek advice from a doctor.

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Location: MA, United States

Hello everyone! I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when I was just 3 years old. I've had my battles with this disease over the years, and have decided to create a blog. I want to share my stories and adivce with other RA chicks, or anyone interested, to raise awareness and get insight from others. Feel free to comment/question me about anything. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rosacea - Does is coincide with RA/JRA?

Thank you Kristen Bryant from RA Chicks for asking this!  First, what is Rosacea? Personally, I don't know much about it, so for those like me, let's explain what it is.  Rosacea is a skin disease of adults (more often women) in which blood vessels of the face enlarge resulting in a flushed appearance.  It is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. There are four types of Rosacea:

  • Subtype 1 (erythematotelangiectatic rosacea), characterized by flushing and persistent redness, and may also include visible blood vessels.
  • Subtype 2 (papulopustular rosacea), characterized by persistent redness with transient bumps and pimples.
  • Subtype 3 (phymatous rosacea), characterized by skin thickening, often resulting in an enlargement of the nose from excess tissue.
  • Subtype 4 (ocular rosacea), characterized by ocular manifestations such as dry eye, tearing and burning, swollen eyelids, recurrent styes and potential vision loss from corneal damage.

Experts are not sure what causes rosacea. It tends to affect people who have fair skin or blush easily, and it seems to run in families. Rosacea is not caused by alcohol abuse, as people thought in the past. But in people who have rosacea, drinking alcohol may cause symptoms to get worse (flare).  Rosacea often flares when something causes the blood vessels in the face to expand, which causes redness. Things that cause a flare-up are called triggers. Common triggers are exercise, sun and wind exposure, hot weather, stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and hot baths. Swings in temperature from hot to cold or cold to hot can also cause a flare-up of Rosacea.

The question comes to play... does Rosacea coincide with RA/JRA?  I honestly had a realllly hard time trying to finding any information on this topic. I did find one study that was done on the drug Hydroxychloroquine sulfate (Plaquenil), which is used to treat Rosacea and RA.  The study was done with women aged 40-60+, who had Rosacea and how the drug helped.  The top condition that they also shared was RA.  You can read more about it HERE.  It seems there hasn't been much research done into this topic, but the two are treated with similar drugs and both go through flare-ups.  The one advantage I did find, is that they are treated with the same medications, so it will help eliminate taking a bunch of medications for different illnesses, and eliminating it down to one. 

I did a poll in RA Chicks and asked how many of them who's suffered from RA, also have Rosacea and do they seem to coincide with one another.  Out of the 9 ladies who responded who have Rosacea and RA, they were diagnosed separately and years apart.  Here are some of their claims:
One woman said: "I have Rosacea and RA. My rosacea is controlled..no flares..unlike my RA". 
Another woman said: "I have RA and Rosacea (pretty bad at the mo - more than just red patches). I think medications and some foods do not help the Rosacea but it also gets worse when I am stressed. Nothing seems to have worked for me of a topical nature and some days it looks worse than others". 
One more said: "I have had Rosacea for 15 years. Diagnosed with RA 3 years ago. I keep it under control with RX creams and Anti Biotics. Lots of stress will bring on a break out." 
They don't believe they coincide with one another, they claimed that when stressed they both seem to flare.  However, when the Rosacea flares on it's own the RA doesn't seem to be affected, and vice versa. 

I also looked into to see if Rosacea and Lupus are connected.   The answer to that, is also, NO.  Rosacea is not a symptom of lupus. Rosacea and lupus both can cause a red rash on the face, but the rashes are very different. The rosacea rash can be all over the face, while the lupus rash is normally seen in the butterfly pattern.

I apologize if this article wasn't more helpful, there just doesn't seem to be ANY research out there between Rosacea and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I researched online for days, and tried asking around.  As of now, it doesn't seem like the two coincide with one another.  On a note, it does seem that once you're diagnosed with one auto-immune disease, it seems somewhere down the line, you will end up being diagnosed with more.  That is just my personally opinion, based on what I have seen in the past.  Hopefully in the future more can be done about this, so those who do suffer from both have some answers. 

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Blogger m. heart said...

Hi, I just stumbled across your post while researching this topic myself. I have rosacea (which my father also has) and suspect I also have the beginning of rheumatoid arthritis (which my brother has). I agree that there doesn't seem to be much research in Western medicine regarding the connection between these two diseases. However, for the past year I've been looking into Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, and have learned that the inflammation associated with both conditions is attributed to an out-of-balance pitta dosha (among other things). They are indeed related in this ancient science, and you might find it interesting to look there for some theories/suggestions. I'm not an expert on the subject by any stretch of the imagination but have found the lifestyle changes I've made this year helpful in controlling rosacea flare-ups and some of the joint pain I've been experiencing. Anyway, it's interesting, so I thought I'd let you know!

February 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Last Dollar said...

Hi, I also just stumbled across your post as I have what i suspect is the beginning of RA though I remember when i was in 5th grade that a Dr. told me I would have flares up and suffer from it throughout my life. I had no symptoms until now, at 48 years old. I also have Roscea and once my joints and fatigue started getting very noticable, my roscea has as well. thanks for your post and you can put my two cents in worth that I think they are related

March 20, 2011 at 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Bob said...

I'm a male, age 39 of anglo descent. In my early 20's I discovered I had a condition (which was mis-diagnosed at the time) known as occular rocsea. It's when the rocsea manifests itself as a painful, red and light sensitive ("photo-phobic") flare-up in the white portion of the eye. It tends to creep up on me when I'm run down, stressed and tired. When I wake up and notice redness, I have to monitor it all day to be sure it doesn't go full-blown. If untreated with a powerful steroid gel within 48 hrs, I'm incabable of getting myself to the opthamoligist. Extremely painful. I choose to only use the steriod when a flare occurs, as opposed to being on a small dose year round because as my Dr said, we want the big guns to work when we use them.
Fast fwd to about 4 years ago, I noticed a lot of robotic movements in my hand joints, stiffness and loss of range of motion. Pain. Swelling, etc. I went to a Rheumatoid Dr and was diagnosed last year with RA. I'm sure both are tied to heredity and genetic components, as both seem to run in my family. Whether the two are mutually exclusive or not, I suppose a lot more data needs to be collected. I'm inclined to think they are tied to an immune system that's working too well in one area and not well enough in the other. I'd be willing to bet that the incidence of Rocsea is greater in RA patients than non-RA populations. This data could help treatment/early intervention in the future, especially with a disease who's trademark is a progressive, degenerative joint deterioration. Regardless, I hope this site raises awarness and thanks for reading.

July 22, 2011 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger Curtis said...

Rosacea is a long-lasting skin disorder that occurs on the skin. Treatments may be combined for greater efficacy and some medications like they provide Rosacea Cream.

Stop Rosacea

August 4, 2011 at 2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have both RA and rosacea, so it's interesting to see this post.

February 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Check out this link (last paragraph) for an interesting association.

April 25, 2012 at 11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I myself was diagnosed with RA during my last pregnancy I'm not exactly sure when Rosacea symptoms started but definitely has worsened for over a year now the past 5 months I've continually had large "cysts" I only say cysts because that's what the Dr. has said but its not painful and seems to be only filled with blood? But I too definitely believe that the Rosacea is a result of arthritis...my body's immune system working against me!!! P.S I've been in RA remission for nearly 2yrs now...that's the good news....nor have I ever had to take any medication for the RA other than pain relievers acetaminophen and ibuprophen both of which I was taking daily for the 2yrs I suffered with the debilitating pain and weakness of joints. Currently I'm taking Doxycycline along with the topic ointment Metrogel (1st day today) to help with the rosacea. I've tried non medicated remedies that unfortunately didn't help to rid of the flare ups nor rid of the swollen nodules.....I have however stopped using any sort of soaps or cleansers on my face....I was at one time using honey to wash daily that did help some....but I don't know what happened to make it flare up again....now I'm using seasalt to cleanse with...it does help with oil control and makes my face feel clean and smooth....this I've just started for 3days now....no real results in decreased rosacea though. I hope to read more personal updates and thoughts about rosacea and RA but I'm certain the two are intertwined rosacea prone skin is definitely caused by inflammation!

December 4, 2013 at 4:23 AM  
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March 5, 2014 at 5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have rosacea and Arthritis in the pelvis that was just discovered I also have had precancerous breast lumps out and I have rynards so some how I do think they are all connected I wonder what goes wrong to cause all this, stress does make things worse, thanks to everyone who shared I am not alone.

March 29, 2014 at 6:12 PM  

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