Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting about 27 million people in the United States. Osteoarthritis is caused by degeneration of cartilage, and is also known as degenerative arthritis. In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking the joints. This autoimmune process causes systemic inflammation, while in osteoarthritis, mechanical degeneration causes localized inflammation.
Osteoarthritis commonly affects a single joint, such as one knee. Trauma, such as multiple injuries playing sports, is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis usually affects three or more joints, in a symmetric distribution . Rheumatoid arthritis frequently, but not always, causes elevation in blood levels of substances that are markers of systemic inflammation such as the ESR and CRP . In contrast, osteoarthritis does not cause abnormal blood test results. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are hereditary. For example, if a woman has osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, her/his children are at increased risk of developing the same type of arthritis.
What Are The Different Types Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis usually begin gradually in several joints. Sometimes the symptoms begin only in one joint, and sometimes the symptoms begin initially in the whole body, with generalized stiffness and aching, and then localize to the joints.
- Typical “classic” rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of rheumatoid arthritis. Classic rheumatoid arthritis involves three or more joints. Usually, people have a gradual onset of joint pain, stiffness, and joint swelling, usually in the fingers, wrists, and forefeet. Elbows, shoulders, hips, ankles and knees are also commonly affected.
- About 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis are classified as “seropositive,” which simply means the rheumatoid factor blood test is abnormal. Some people with an abnormal rheumatoid factor also have an abnormal anti-CCP blood test. This is another blood test for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Approximately 20% of people with rheumatoid arthritis are classified as “seronegative,” which means the rheumatoid factor blood test is negative, or normal. In this case, the anti-CCP blood test may be abnormal or normal. Other blood tests, such as the ESR measure of inflammation, may be abnormal.
Atypical presentations of RA
- Persistent arthritis of just one joint may be the first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in some people.
- Some people experience generalized aching, stiffness, weight loss, and fatigue as their initial symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Common Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Chronic pain, stiffness, swelling, and redness are all issues that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are familiar with. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is estimated to affect 1.3% of adults in the United States, is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects a persons joints. Although it can come and go, the condition generally affects the hands, knees, and other joints of the body.
When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, swelling in the joints isnt the only thing patients should be looking for. Because its an inflammatory condition, rheumatoid arthritis can cause various and seemingly unrelated problems throughout the entire body, not just the joints. At her Beverly Hills office, Susan Baker MD specializes in treating RA and other autoimmune disorders, and has compiled a list of six symptoms you should never ignore!
Don’t Miss: Is Peanut Butter Bad For Arthritis
After Several Visits To The Gp With Painful Wrists And Swollen Joints She Was Referred To A
A 37 year old woman recalled that when she was 27 she had developed a pain in her elbow. Her GP thought she had pulled a tendon. The next week she developed a pain on the ball of the foot. The GP thought she had pulled a muscle. Two weeks later the pain seemed to be spreading to other joints, and a different GP decided to send her to the hospital for blood tests.One person noticed that something was wrong when her fingers ‘locked’ as she was lifting a baby out of a cot. Another person became worried when he found it hard to get up from the floor. Someone else noticed a lump on his painful wrist.Some people delayed going to see a GP. One woman, for example, had pains in her elbows, wrists, feet and hips for over two years, but didn’t consult her doctor because she had nothing specific to show him. She finally consulted her GP when she could no longer play badminton.
Other people developed severe symptoms of RA quite suddenly and had to seek urgent help . For example, one man developed an excruciating pain in his left arm and his right hand, so consulted his GP who was ‘confused’ by his symptoms and suggested painkillers. By the end of the week all his joints had ‘stiffened up’ and he could neither wash nor dress himself. He also sweated profusely and was severely sick.
People Cant Always See My Symptoms So They Think My Disease Is Trivial
While invisible to friends and family, chronic fatigue and pain are symptoms of RA that can have a severe impact on individuals work, relationships and mental health. As many as 40% of people with RA report experiencing symptoms of depression.5
Although they are common health issues, fatigue and depression are not well understood by many people. By recognising when people living with RA arent feeling their best, it can relieve some of the emotional burden of their disease.6
Don’t Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Description
What Does Arthritis Pain Feel Like
Are you wondering if the pain and stiffness in your hips, knees, or fingers are caused by arthritis? Here’s how you and your doctor can decide.
Hardly anyone escapes the annoyance of occasional aches and pains, especially as they age. But persistent joint pain and stiffness can be signs of arthritis, which affects more than 54.4 million American adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . By 2040, an estimated 78 million American adults are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.
Treat Ra Fatigue By Reducing Ra Disease Activity
I believe the other part of rheumatologists not tackling fatigue head-on is that they believe if they can reduce disease activity, fatigue will also be reduced.
I personally have subscribed to that theory make RA less active and the fatigue will also be less so I was surprised to read a recent article that discussed several studies demonstrating that while biologics can be effective against disease activity , they arent always effective on addressing the debilitating effects of fatigue.
You May Like: Mayo Clinic On Arthritis
Its Not Just My Ra That Makes Me Feel Unwell
It has been shown that many people with RA dont take their treatment as prescribed because of side effects including: 7,8
- Hair loss
- Skin rashes
This can result in reduced disease control and increased pain or other symptoms.9,10 People living with RA should speak with their doctor about their options.
Ra Is Not Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. My immune system is confused and does not work correctly in my body. RA causes joint erosion and deformity. RA not only attacks my joints but also can attack various body systems and organs. The disease is very unpredictable when it affects a person.
Please do not confuse rheumatoid arthritis with osteoarthritis. They both are very debilitating and very different diseases. RA is not a result of the aging process. It is not just a joint issue, but an issue with my immune system. This disease affects my joints, my body systems, and my organs.
You May Like: Does Psoriatic Arthritis Itch
What Osteoarthritis Pain Feels Like
Pain is pain, right? It just plain hurts. But for your doctor to figure out whether your joint pain stems from osteoarthritis, which develops as cartilage wears away, youll need to be specific about when the pain occurs, how bad it is, and the ways it’s affecting you.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis that may help you identify and better describe your pain to your doctor:
- Pain that aches deep into the joint
- Pain that feels better with rest
- Pain that isn’t noticeable in the morning but gets worse throughout the day
- Pain that radiates into your buttocks, thighs, or groin
- Joint pain that affects your posture and gait and may cause limping
- Pain that occurs after using the joint
- Swelling in the joint
- Not being able to move the joint as much as usual
- Feeling a sensation of bones grating or catching on something when moving the joint
- Pain during certain activities, like standing from a seated position or using stairs
- Pain that interferes with work, daily activities, and exercise
- Joint stiffness first thing in the morning that improves with time
- Stiffness after resting the joint
Why Your Mental Health Matters With Ra
When pain reduces your ability to get around or do the things you love, its normal for emotions to get the best of you. Depression is not uncommon in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies show a significantly increased risk of depression in people with RA, particularly in women and people older than 30 years of age.16,17
Research also shows that people with RA and depression may experience a lower quality of life and higher disease activity than those without depression. Moreover, some people with chronic conditions, including RA, may be an increased risk for having suicidal thoughts.18
The pain management community is just beginning to focus on the impact of chronic life on mental health. So its important to be proactive and tell your doctor if and when youre feeling depressed or anxious. Treatments from medication to talk therapy can help.
Don’t Miss: Side Effect Of Arthritis
How Ra Affects Feet
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. When you have RA, your immune system tries to destroy the lining of your joints, called synovium. It also attacks the fluid in your joints, called synovial fluid. It does this because it mistakes these parts of your body for disease-causing invaders.
RA causes damage and inflammation that makes your joints swell and feel warm. The small joints, like those in the feet, are the most common targets of these attacks.
Eventually, long-term inflammation thickens the synovium. This causes cartilage and bone to wear away. In the feet and toes, the joints may become deformed. This leads to poor range of motion and considerable pain. Walking, standing, and even wearing shoes can become difficult.
Proper treatment may help reduce the damage and inflammation to your foot joints. It may also prevent or delay deformities and other problems.
If Youve Got Arthritis Youve Probably Experienced The Intense Pain Of Flares Heres How To Handle Them
Youre feeling good, barely thinking about your chronic pain, and then wham an arthritis flare hits you like a Mack truck. These periods of increased disease activity take a toll on you physically and emotionally, especially because they can come on unexpectedly. If youve got either osteoarthritis or an inflammatory type of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis, you probably know what were talking about.
So how can you deal with an arthritis flare-up when it happens? I remind myself, This, too, shall pass, arthritis patient Beth Bloomfield told us on Facebook. Like a kidney stone! another patient, Katie Resnick, joked back. Although arthritis flares are never pleasant, there are techniques that can help shorten their duration. Also important: Being able recognize when a flare is starting and avoid the triggers that may cause your flare-ups in the first place.
Also Check: What Does Arthritis Come From
Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Patterns: Everyone Is Different
RA symptoms typically develop slowly over weeks or months, starting intermittently and eventually becoming a daily occurrence.
Usually the small joints are the first to be targeted: those in the hands , or those connecting the feet to the toes. As the disease progresses, symptoms are likely to spread from the hands and feet to larger joints like the knees, ankles, elbows, hips, shoulders, and neck. The total number of joints affected varies, but RA almost always ends up being polyarticular, affecting more than four joints.
Still, its important to remember that RA symptoms, and the rate at which they progress, can be completely different for everyone. For one person, symptoms might come on suddenly within days, attacking several joints off the bat. Someone else, though, may have swelling in one or more joints that lasts days or weeks and then mysteriously disappears, only to return weeks or months later, sometimes in different joints. In either case, the more classic RA symptoms might not appear for months.
And while rare, some people experience RA onset as chronic pain in just one joint, known as monoarthritis. According to small studies, about 10% to 15% of patients with monoarthritis progress to a diagnosis of RA.
If you have joint pain that doesnt quite fit the classic pattern of RA, watch out for other clues:
morning stiffness lasting more than 30 minutes
pain that decreases with activity
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Ra
With RA, there are times when symptoms get worse, known as flares, and times when symptoms get better, known as remission.
Signs and symptoms of RA include:
- Pain or aching in more than one joint
- Stiffness in more than one joint
- Tenderness and swelling in more than one joint
- The same symptoms on both sides of the body
- Weight loss
You May Like: Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis In Fingers
Contact Dr Baker Today
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that should not be ignored. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed on this page, its possible that you may be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Contact rheumatologist Dr. Baker today to schedule a consultation at her Beverly Hills office. During this consultation, Dr. Baker with perform various tests to correctly diagnose and begin treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Call 274-7770 or fill out an online contact form today!
Common Medications To Treat Arthritis Flares
OA patients might just need some OTC pain-relieving medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Dr. Bose also recommends topical gels and lotions like diclofenac gel or 2 Old Goats. If that doesnt work, Dr. Ashany says joint injections of steroids may be given. RA flares are more complicated. In inflammatory arthritis, steroids are often used to try to quickly bring a flare under control, Dr. Ashany says. If only one joint is involved a steroid can be given by injection, but otherwise it can be taken orally .
In inflammatory arthritis, if flares continue to occur, this indicates that the patients regimen of maintenance medication is not adequate, Dr. Ashany says. This may lead to addition of a medication, switching one drug for another or increasing the dose of medication that the patient is currently taking.
Don’t Miss: Does Arthritis Pain Come And Go
What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Since RA is a chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease, the symptoms are easy to detect, which is essential for starting treatment. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may experience the following joint-related symptoms:
- Lack of functionality
- Severe deformity
These symptoms can affect all organs of the body. Therefore, the degree of pain may vary from acute to chronic. In severe cases, RA attacks can exacerbate any symptoms and interfere with daily work, such as preparing meals, dressing, and even taking a bath. Early detection helps to better cope with this situation.
What Is Ra Again
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the body, causing inflammation. In the case of RA, the target is the synovial membrane, the tissue that lines joints. Typically, this lining is thin and delicate, and it produces a clear fluid that helps keep the joint healthy, lubricated, and moving smoothly. But when the membrane becomes inflamed, the fluid gets thick and begins builds up, putting painful pressure on the surrounding nerves. When that happens, its no wonder you feel muscle aches, stiffness, or heat around affected joints.
Despite the gazillion photos of elderly hands that pop up when you Google arthritis, RA often affects much younger people, usually between the ages of 40 and 60, and symptoms can affect your entire body . Women are also as many as three times more likely to get RA than men. Some evidence suggests that sex hormones may be at play. Makes sense, since the peak incidence of RA in women occurs during the menopausal years, just as sex hormones are fluctuating.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Wrist
What Are Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments
Despite significant advances in treatment over the past decades, rheumatoid arthritis continues to be an incurable disease. While there is no cure, the goal of disease remission is frequently attainable. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has two major components:
What’s The Difference Between Seropositive Vs Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis
In RA, there are two classic auto-antibodies:
anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide
RA patients who test positive for auto-antibodies have whats known as seropositive rheumatoid arthritis. About 70% to 80% of RA patients have this form of the disease.
On the other hand, patients who have RA symptoms but test negative for these auto-antibodies are diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis.
Why does it matter? Symptoms are similar between the two groups of patients, though some evidence suggests that seronegative patients have a lower risk of joint damage and experience fewer extra-articular symptoms. What are extra-articular symptoms? Glad you asked…
Read Also: Get Rid Of Arthritis In Hands