Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe inflammation of the joints. However, there are different kinds of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis .
Is A Fear Of Falling A Symptom Of Osteoarthritis
Q) I’m 86 and have had osteoarthritis for many years. This has worsened during the past five years, with me requiring a walking stick and now a tri-wheel walker. The worst side effect is that I can’t go down slopes and am nervous even with the help of the walker, feeling that I will fall over. Initially I believed that this was a psychological reaction, but I was assured that it was a symptom of the condition. Is this correct, please, and is there anything I can do about it?
Robert, via email – 2013
This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell in 2013, and was correct at the time of publication.
What Is The Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis
The biggest snag I run into when I tell people that I have rheumatoid arthritis is that people often dont know what that is. Usually, the response is something like, So? My grandma has that. Now, obviously its possible that grandmas have rheumatoid arthritis. I know quite a few who do. But this is usually said with the implication that everyone gets rheumatoid arthritis as they get older, which isnt true. Instead, quite a few people get osteoarthritis as they age. So, what is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
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How To Know If You Have Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis often develops when one or more joints have been subjected to some form of long-term overexertion. This can happen in a few different ways, including the result of a monotonous movement pattern, previous injuries , or if a person affected is overweight. Being overweight means that the body weight a person is carrying is greater than the muscles can manage to bear. We also know that there is a hereditary form of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis develops at different rates in different individuals, with its symptoms very often emerging in a stealthy manner.
Common symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis generally include painful joints and long-term stiffness in the body, mainly in the morning. Heredity is a common factor with rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, it is important for anyone who has close relatives who suffer from the disease to rigorously report any symptoms to a doctor so that any action can be taken at an early stage. If RA is treated early, it is possible to slow down the symptoms and prevent any long-term damage to the joints.
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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Get Help Treating Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis With Joint Academy
Todays technology-driven society has led to telehealth becoming a popular way for patients to receive medical guidance or treatments. Fortunately, Joint Academy is at the forefront of virtual physical therapy technology that can be used as a first line of defense for conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. With the Joint Academy app, licensed physical therapists can connect with patients digitally and provide them with personalized, evidence-based treatment programs to follow.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.
A healthy immune system protects the body by attacking foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses. However, in cases where an autoimmune disease exists, the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue instead. In RA, the joints which are designed to absorb shock and allow smooth movement between bones, are targeted by the autoimmune process.
About 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis.
The ends of your bones are covered by elastic tissue called cartilage, which supports and helps protect the joints during movements. A tissue known as synovium or synovial membrane lies next to the cartilage. The synovium produces synovial fluid, a substance that acts as a lubricant and provides nourishment to the cartilage.
In people with RA, the autoimmune process causes the synovium in certain joints to become inflamed. The tissue swells and becomes painful with every movement of the affected joints.
The uncontrollable joint inflammation can also lead to joint erosion, a loss of motion, and joint damage to many associated parts of the body. In other words, people with rheumatoid arthritis will likely experience worsening pain and stiffness, especially if this particular inflammatory arthritis isnt treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or other standard treatment protocol.
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Signs You Have Arthritis
Osteoarthritis symptoms: According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include pain during or after movement, joint tenderness when pressure is applied, joint stiffness first thing in the morning or after a period of inactivity, loss of flexibility, feeling or hearing a grating sensation when the joint moves, or bone spurs . Specific joints with osteoarthritis might react slightly differently. For example, hip arthritis symptoms include pain in the groin area or sometimes on the inside of the knee or thigh . Knee osteoarthritis feels like grating or scraping when moving the knee . In the fingers, you might develop bone spurs around the affected joints, which can cause swelling, tenderness, and redness . As you can see, symptoms can vary depending on the affected joint, so be sure to bring up your symptoms to your doctor, even if you think they might not be relevant.
Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
What’s your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if you’ve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
Can Any Other Tests Show The Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Yes. Depending on what your exam and X-rays show, your provider might order blood tests, too. Because RA is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease, there are certain things to look for in the blood. These include markers of inflammation and autoantibodies. They are not present in OA.
Additionally, if you have swelling in a large joint , your provider might need to remove some fluid and send it for testing. This can also give clues to whether its RA or OA.
What Are The Four Stages Of Osteoarthritis
The four stages of osteoarthritis are 1) minor, 2) mild, 3) moderate and 4) severe.
Stage 1 Minor OA means your joint is showing signs of minor bone spur growth. These bony growths develop near the joint meaning there might be some cartilage loss but, in general, you won’t experience much, if any, pain at this stage of OA.
Stage 2 Mild OA reveals greater bone spur growth but the cartilage is still intact, usually within a healthy range and the bones won’t be rubbing together. You’ll also still usually have normal levels of synovial fluid between your joints at this stage. However, at this point, you’ll likely begin to experience some uncomfortable symptoms such as pain after a long period of walking or running, stiffness after the joint hasn’t been used in a while and tenderness when bending the joint.
Stage 3 Moderate OA means that your cartilage between the joint has undergone more obvious damage with less space between your bones. You’ll likely be experiencing joint pain more regularly especially when walking or bending. You might also start to experience stiffness after long periods of sitting still, some swelling of the joint or more achiness in the morning.
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What To Do If You Suspect You Have Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you suspect that you are affected by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you should visit your primary care physician or a rheumatologist. OA and RA are clinical diagnoses that are made by a doctor or physiotherapist. A clinical diagnosis means that the diagnosis is mainly made based on the patients typical medical history. Blood tests and X-rays are typically only used to confirm the diagnosis.
Wednesday August 18 2021
Let’s begin by defining a few terms. Arthritis is an umbrella term that describes the inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. So, in simple terms, there is no difference between osteoarthritis and degenerative arthritis.
However, there is another form of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis. Although osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are both forms of arthritis characterised by similar symptoms, the main difference between them is what causes these symptoms.
Here, we’re clearly defining osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the similarities and differences between them, and how you can treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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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.
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:
Symptoms: While OA and RA share common symptomsjoint , swelling and stiffnessin RA, you may also have constant , , and a low-grade .
Affected joints: Another difference between OA and RA is their joint pattern. RA is symmetric and usually affects the same joints on both sides of your body, such as both wrists. OA is not symmetric and may only affect a joint on one side of your body. For example, you can have OA in one hip joint and not the other.
Risk factors: The main risk factor for OA is aging. The older you are the more likely you are to get OA. OA is also more likely if youre overweight, youve injured a joint in the past, or you have a family member with OA. On the other hand, RA is more likely to develop in younger women between the ages of 30 and 60 years.There is not a strong genetic influence in RA, although both genetic and environmental factors play a role in your chance of developing the disease.
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Their differences begin with what causes them. Osteoarthritis is more commonly occurs later in life, after years of mechanical wear and tear on the cartilage which lines and cushions your joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, which can occur at most any age, is anautoimmune disease. That is, your body’s immune system attacks your joints.
Dr. Michael Raab explains the differences of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.
What is arthritis?
Here are other important things to know about the key differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
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What Is The Most Painful Type Of Arthritis
In general, rheumatoid arthritis is more painful than osteoarthritis. RA is more painful for a few reasons including the fact that it presents more symptoms, affects more joints simultaneously and often lasts longer throughout the day.
The most common symptoms of both RA and OA include painful, stiff joints, limited range of motion, warmth and tenderness in affected joints and more intense pain in the morning. However, RA presents additional symptoms apart from OA including fevers, muscle aches and excessive fatigue.
These additional symptoms suggest that RA is more painful since you’re experiencing more overall discomfort.
RA also affects more joints than the average case of OA. Since RA is an autoimmune disease that attacks the cells that make up your joints, it often begins in your smaller joints and eventually begins to effects all of the joints of your body.
On the other hand, OA tends only to affect a few isolated joints that are overused or injured. While OA can certainly progress to affect most of your joints, especially as you age, it’s estimated that RA is more painful overall since most of your joints will be affected.
And lastly, although both RA and OA symptoms are more intense in the morning before your joints get a chance to loosen up, OA symptoms tend to improve within 30 minutes whereas RA symptoms tend to take longer to feel better. This is a third reason why it’s assumed that RA is more painful than OA.
Treatment Similarities Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis
After an osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis has been confirmed, its easy for patients to feel overwhelmedespecially since there is no specific cure for either disease. However, there are effective treatment plans available, and treatments for both OA and RA are similar.
Physical training with arthritis is the most important form of treatment by far. It is important that those affected by OA or RA are involved in some form of physical activity. This activity will preferably involve various exercises from a specially adapted exercise program. Weight loss can also play a critical role in reducing symptoms, as it can minimize pressure on the joints.
Anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDs may be given to treat the most intense pain. However, they should preferably not be taken for long periods of time. They should only be used to help get through the worst periods of pain. It is also a good idea to ease the strain on the affected joints by using different types of assistive devices, including orthoses, splints, and inserts.
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Treatment Of Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis
The good news is, there are some ways to treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. But, with that being said, there’s no cure for either type of arthritis and joint damage is irreversible. Instead, the treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis focuses on:
- Reducing pain in your joints
- Improving the function of your joints
- Minimising further damage to your joints
- Generally, anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids are used to help deal with the inflammation of your joints caused by arthritis. These should also help with the pain associated with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
When it comes to osteoarthritis, other pain-relieving treatments are often used such as:
- Pain-reducing creams
- Pain-relievers like acetaminophen
As always, speak to your doctor before using any medications to treat your osteoarthritis.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, drugs that suppress your immune system can help with treatment. However, these treatment plans come with many caveats and require personalised care. Be sure to speak with your medical doctor about treating your rheumatoid arthritis.
What Can I Expect From A Baker’s Cyst
Q) I have a Baker’s cyst on my right knee because of osteoarthritis. What am I to expect? How long will it last? Will I need a new knee eventually? Ive already had two hip replacements, so I use a crutch when I walk outside.
Rowena – 2017
A) A Baker’s cyst is a swelling that can develop behind the knee. It’s filled with synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid that’s usually found inside the knee joint. It most commonly occurs if there’s an underlying problem with your knee, such as osteoarthritis. A Bakers cyst often causes no symptoms, but some people can experience pain, swelling and tightness behind the knee.
Having a Bakers cyst doesnt necessarily mean you’ll need a knee replacement. Often it’ll get better on its own and the swelling goes away over time. In a small minority of people, they can split open and the fluid inside can leak out into the calf muscle, which causes swelling, redness and itching. If anything like this happens, you should get it checked out by your GP, as they’ll need to make sure that the symptoms are due to the Bakers cyst and not a deep vein thrombosis , which can cause similar symptoms, but needs treatment. However, most people with a Bakers cyst wont experience this.
This answer was provided by Dr Tom Margham in 2017, and was correct at the time of publication.
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Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis Nursing
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Monica Piecyk, MD, a rheumatologist from New England Baptist Hospital will discuss Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. This free seminar will take place at the Four Points.
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