OsteoArthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Difference is pretty clear. One of the most common mistakes people make regarding arthritis is that all arthritis is the same. There are actually some key differences that, when known and understood, can make a huge difference in how they are treated.
OsteoArthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting up to 23 million Americans. Often referred to as the “wear and tear” arthritis, this degenerative condition is caused when the cartilage in the joint begins to wear out over time.
Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand is a chronic inflammatory type of arthritis also known as an autoimmune disease because of the way it causes the body’s own immune cells to attack healthy tissue. This arthritis affects multiple joints at the same time.
Symptoms of OsteoArthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
While both forms of arthritis affect the joints in our bodies, there are some major differences in the symptoms between OsteoArthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Those with OsteoArthritis tend to feel pain and stiffness in specific joints where the cartilage has begun to wear out. Hips, knees and wrists are some of the more common joints to be affected. Rheumatoid arthritis often begins in the fingers. It affects the same joints on both sides of the body at the same time, such as both hands, both wrists, and both elbows. Additionally, those with rheumatoid arthritis may also experience frequent fatigue and a general feeling of being ill.
When Does Onset Begin?
One big difference between OsteoArthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is the age at which the symptoms begin to develop. OA typically begins later in life and affects more people over the age of 65. It gradually builds over the years as cartilage continues to deteriorate.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis can begin anytime in life and often sets in rapidly over a period of weeks to months. Rheumatoid arthritis has much less to do with cartilage breakdown and is more about the person’s immune system.
Treatment of Arthritis
Because of the difference between these two types of arthritis, doctors use different methods of treatment to relieve the pain and slow the effects of arthritis. At Arrowhead Health Centers, we treat those with OsteoArthritis on a daily basis. We work with the patient to develop a plan that will help you on the road to recovery. Treatments often include hyaluronic acid injections that act as a lubricant and shock absorber in joints to make up for the degenerative cartilage. Other treatments include strength training with a physical therapist and custom knee braces to name a few.
Rheumatoid arthritis is much more effectively treated with medication such as corticosteroids, biologics and analgesics. Local steroid injections can also make a difference.
If you or someone you love is experiencing pain in their joints, we recommend you give us a call right away at 623-334-4000 option 9. The sooner arthritis is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated. Find out how we can help by setting up a free consultation today.