Wednesday, December 6, 2023

How To Tell If You Have Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis

Oa Treatments Are Largely About Lifestyle And Relieving Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Signs & Symptoms | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Two of the most important treatments for OA are exercise and weight loss, says Soo Kim, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Musculoskeletal Center in Baltimore. By strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint, more stress gets distributed onto those muscles, and less of it lands on the joint, says Dr. Kim.

To manage the pain, acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help. Topical agents can be applied over the joint. And for severe pain, steroid or hyaluronic acid injections may help, Dr. Kim says.

What Are Heberdens Nodes

Heberdens nodes are bony outgrowths that occur on the joints nearest to the fingertips. The nodes often make the hands look crooked or knotty. The affected joint may be painful and stiff, but the node itself may or may not be painful to the touch. Ligaments and other soft tissues can occasionally be involved in Heberdens nodes, too.

Herberdens Nodes | Image courtesy of DermNet

Heberdens nodes occur when the cartilage between the affected joints has worn down and the bones of the joint have begun rubbing together directly. In addition to these nodes, you may experience:

  • Loss of motion
  • Stiffness and weakness in your hands

Heberdens nodes are similar to another type of bony growths known as Bouchards nodes. However, Bouchards nodes occur on the middle finger joints rather than those closest to the fingernail. Bouchards nodes are also significantly less common than Heberdens nodes.

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How To Tell People You Have Arthritis

Use these tips to easily tell friends and family about your arthritis.

Youve been diagnosed with arthritis, started treatment and educated yourself about your condition. But have you shared the information with family and friends? Its a good idea to start a conversation with family members and friends not to get medical advice, but because those who care about you will want to know what youre experiencing. And its an important first step in building your support system, explains Robert Katz, MD, a rheumatologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. But its not always easy to explain or convey what it means to have arthritis. It helps to think in advance about your elevator speech. Prepare a short, easy-to-understand summary what you could say during an elevator ride. Where should you start and what should you include?

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How Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Different From Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease in which the immune system which normally makes antibodies to fight infection instead mistakenly attacks the healthy tissue membrane that lines the joints, known as the synovium. It is a chronic and disabling type of arthritis that usually affects the hands, wrists, and feet.

In RA, joints are usually affected on both sides of the body at the same time and to the same degree. Symptoms usually develop gradually over several weeks, but in some cases it can progress quickly in a matter of days.

The disease can also cause other generalized symptoms such as fatigue, fever, and weight loss, as this type of arthritis can affect more than just the joints. It can cause problems in areas of the body such as the eyes , and it can cause chest pain if the heart or lungs are affected.

What Are The Differences Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pin on Arthritis Diet

The main difference between these two types of arthritis is the cause of the joint pain and symptoms. Osteoarthritis is mainly due to the mechanical wear-and-tear placed on the joints, and it happens over the course of ones life. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints.


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative disease and is mainly caused by aging. However, obesity can also cause it and make it worse. Carrying extra weight puts more stress and strain on your joints, and the extra fat tissue produces proteins that can trigger a harmful inflammatory response in your joints.

With the development of OA, the cartilage at the ends of your bones deteriorates from wear and tear. Cartilage is a protective cushion that helps bones in joints move and glide smoothly. With the loss of this protective tissue, bone begins to grind against bone.This leads to pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of range of motion, and a grating sensation in the joint. Common joints affected include knees, kip, and hands.

Your arthritis doctor can diagnosis the condition through X-rays and MRI imaging. Blood tests may also be performed to help provide a more complete diagnosis. Unfortunately, the damage from OA cant be reversed. However, pain can be effectively managed through treatments such as exercise, physical therapy, surgery, cortisone injections, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Can You Have Both Ra And Oa

Yes, its possible to have both RA and OA.

While OA usually develops after years of wear and tear on cartilage, people with RA may have it earlier in life due to causes such as sports injuries that result in damage to the cartilage, joints, or ligaments.

People with RA may also develop OA as they get older.

People older than 65 who may have OA can also develop a condition called . Unlike RA, EORA more frequently affects large joints.

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What Is The Prognosis For Rheumatoid And Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

As a rule, the severity of rheumatoid arthritis waxes and wanes. Periods of active inflammation and tissue damage marked by worsening of symptoms are interspersed with periods of little or no activity, in which symptoms get better or go away altogether . The duration of these cycles varies widely among individuals.

Outcomes are also highly variable. Some people have a relatively mild condition, with little disability or loss of function. Others at the opposite end of the spectrum experience severe disability due to pain and loss of function. A disease that remains persistently active for more than a year is likely to lead to joint deformities and disability. Approximately 40% of people have some degree of disability 10 years after their diagnosis. For most, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic progressive illness, but about 5%-10% of people experience remission without treatment. This is uncommon, however, after the first three to six months.

Rheumatoid arthritis is not fatal, but complications of the disease shorten the life span by a few years in some individuals. Although generally rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, the disease gradually becomes less aggressive and symptoms may even improve. However, any damage to joints and ligaments and any deformities that have occurred are permanent. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect parts of the body other than the joints.


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What Are The Goals Of Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

The most important goal of treating rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce joint pain and swelling. Doing so should help maintain or improve joint function. The long-term goal of treatment is to slow or stop joint damage. Controlling joint inflammation reduces your pain and improves your quality of life.

How Does A Normal Joint Work

What is Causing Your Knee Pain? Osteoarthritis? How to Tell

A joint is where two bones meet. Most of our joints are designed to allow the bones to move in certain directions and within certain limits.

For example, the knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most complicated. It must be strong enough to take our weight and must lock into position, so we can stand upright.

It also has to act as a hinge, so we can walk, and needs to twist and turn when we run or play sports.

The end of each bone is covered with cartilage that has a very smooth, slippery surface. The cartilage allows the ends of the bones to move against each other, almost without rubbing.

The joint is held in place by the synovium, which contains thick fluid to protect the bones and joint.

The synovium has a tough outer layer that holds the joint in place and stops the bones moving too far.

Strong cords called tendons anchor the muscles to the bones.

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Ra Treatments Are Disease

While OA meds can only treat symptoms, RA meds can actually slow the progression of the diseaseeven put it into remissionby tamping down on the overactive immune system, says Dr. Askari. In fact, if you catch RA early enough, theres a good chance it will have little impact on your life, he adds. RA treatment usually starts with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs the most common is methotrexatewhich work by interfering with pathways in the immune system that lead to inflammation. If you dont get the results you want from that, you may move on to more targeted DMARDs like biologics or JAK inhibitors.

Diagnosis Of Joint Pain Causes

RA Medical history, physical examination, imaging tests, and blood tests make up the process. The medical history is important because there can be a genetic component.

OA Medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests are used to determine diagnosis. Lab tests may also be done to rule out other forms of arthritis.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Ra

Researchers have studied a number of genetic and environmental factors to determine if they change persons risk of developing RA.

Characteristics that increase risk

  • Age. RA can begin at any age, but the likelihood increases with age. The onset of RA is highest among adults in their sixties.
  • Sex. New cases of RA are typically two-to-three times higher in women than men.
  • Genetics/inherited traits. People born with specific genes are more likely to develop RA. These genes, called HLA class II genotypes, can also make your arthritis worse. The risk of RA may be highest when people with these genes are exposed to environmental factors like smoking or when a person is obese.
  • Smoking. Multiple studies show that cigarette smoking increases a persons risk of developing RA and can make the disease worse.
  • History of live births. Women who have never given birth may be at greater risk of developing RA.
  • Early Life Exposures. Some early life exposures may increase risk of developing RA in adulthood. For example, one study found that children whose mothers smoked had double the risk of developing RA as adults. Children of lower income parents are at increased risk of developing RA as adults.
  • Obesity. Being obese can increase the risk of developing RA. Studies examining the role of obesity also found that the more overweight a person was, the higher his or her risk of developing RA became.

Characteristics that can decrease risk

How Do You Know If You Have Osteoarthritis


Usually, osteoarthritis comes on slowly. Early in the disease, joints may ache after physical work or exercise. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. Most often it occurs at the hands, knees, hips, or spine.

Hands: Osteoarthritis of the fingers is one type of osteoarthritis that seems to have some hereditary characteristics. More women than men have it, and they develop it especially after menopause. In osteoarthritis, small, bony knobs appear on the end joints of the fingers. They are called Heberdens nodes. Similar knobs, called Bouchards nodes, can appear on the middle joints of the fingers. Fingers can become enlarged and gnarled, and they may ache, feel stiff or go numb. The base of the thumb joint also is commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the hands can be helped by medications, splints, or heat treatment.

Knees: The knees are the bodys primary weight-bearing joints. For this reason, they are among the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. They may be stiff, swollen, and painful, making it hard to walk, climb, and get in and out of chairs and bathtubs. If not treated, osteoarthritis in the knees can lead to disability. Medications, weight loss, exercise, and walking aids can reduce pain and disability. In severe cases, knee replacement surgery may be helpful.

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Other Types Of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis type, but it is not the only type. Other common types of arthritis are RA, psoriatic arthritis , and gout:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: RA is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy body tissuesmainly the synovial linings of joints. RA can also affect the organs, including the skin, heart, lungs, and kidneys. The cause of RA and other autoimmune diseases is unknown, but these conditions tend to run in families and are linked to specific gene mutations.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: PsA is also an autoimmune disease. With PsA, the immune system attacks the skin, joints, and enthesesareas where tendons and ligaments meet bones. PsA often occurs in people with the autoimmune skin condition psoriasis, but it is possible to have PsA and never have psoriasis.
  • Gout: Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis resulting from the buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint. The toe or other foot areas are often affected, but gout can occur in other joints, including the ankles, elbows, and fingers.

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Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are several different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common forms. Although the symptoms of these two types of arthritis can be similar, it’s very important to distinguish between them in order to determine the proper treatment.

At the University of Michigan Health System, our experienced rheumatologists will do appropriate tests to determine which type of arthritis you have. Then we will develop an effective treatment plan and will explain your options.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage joint surface wears out. Osteoarthritis usually begins in an isolated joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body instead of intruders. In this case, it attacks the synovial membrane that encases and protects the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis often targets several joints at one time. The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • the symmetrical nature of the disease ,

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Affected Joints In Oa

OA is less symmetrical. You might have pain in both your left and right knee, for example, but one side or one joint is worse.

OA, like RA, is common in the hand and fingers. OA often affects the spine and hips in addition to the knees.

The primary goal in treating both OA and RA is to:

  • reduce pain
  • minimize damage to your joints

Your doctor will approach these goals differently, depending on which condition you have.

Anti-inflammatory and corticosteroid medications are generally effective for both OA and RA, but use of corticosteroids is minimized.

If you have RA, drugs that suppress your immune system can prevent damage by stopping your body from attacking your joints, and prevent joint damage.

The following are some of the questions you may have about RA and OA:

Can Ra And Oa Co

Rheumatoid arthritis vs osteoarthritis- what is the difference?

It is possible to have both RA and OA. OA is more likely to occur as you age, and people with RA are at risk for OA as they get older. It is also possible to have elderly-onset RA years after being diagnosed with OA.

According to a 2018 report in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease, elderly onset RA, or geriatric RA, begins after age 65. It presents with more systemic symptoms and more frequently affects large joints rather than the small joints of the hands and feet.

When these conditions co-exist, diagnosing and treating both conditions can be challenging. Both patients and doctors have difficulty differentiating between pain caused by either condition, says Dr. Lee. That can lead to function and mobility problems and delayed treatment.

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How Are Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis Different

Although they are both forms of arthritis, OA and RA are different diseases with different disease processes.

  • Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear on your joints with time. OA causes your joint cartilage to deteriorate. Your body often responds by growing bone spurs or bone overgrowths.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune process where your immune system attacks its joint connective tissue. As a result, cartilage and protective membranes become inflamed, swollen and may be permanently damaged.

Other differences between OA and RA include:

Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue

Everyones experience of rheumatoid arthritis is a little different. But many people with RA say that fatigue is among the worst symptoms of the disease.

Living with chronic pain can be exhausting. And fatigue can make it more difficult to manage your pain. Its important to pay attention to your body and take breaks before you get too tired.

What are rheumatoid arthritis flare symptoms?

The symptoms of a rheumatoid arthritis flare arent much different from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. But people with RA have ups and downs. A flare is a time when you have significant symptoms after feeling better for a while. With treatment, youll likely have periods of time when you feel better. Then, stress, changes in weather, certain foods or infections trigger a period of increased disease activity.

Although you cant prevent flares altogether, there are steps you can take to help you manage them. It might help to write your symptoms down every day in a journal, along with whats going on in your life. Share this journal with your rheumatologist, who may help you identify triggers. Then you can work to manage those triggers.

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