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What Is The Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis And Inflammatory Arthritis

Joint Pain Isnt The Same: Difference Between Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid

The Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Inflammatory Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is the third most popular arthritis in the world whereas osteoarthritis is the most popular arthritis. Both the diseases give a lot of joint pain to millions of people around the globe. There are many similarities between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, including joint pain and inflammation. They have many things similar and many things different. Its important to differentiate one disease from the other for the purposes of treatment, as available treatment options for OA are different from those for RA. In this article, we will discuss some differences between the two types of arthritis.

Summary Arthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis can be defined as inflammation of the joint or joints resulting in pain and disability, joint swelling, and stiffness whereas rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes synovial inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is, therefore, a subgroup of arthritis. Therefore, the symptoms in arthritis differ depending on the form of arthritis and in rheumatoid arthritis, there is a spectrum of symptoms.


1.Parveen Kumar. Kumar and Clarks Clinical Medicine. Edited by Michael L Clark, 8th ed.

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2.6942317880 by david__jones via Flickr

What Is The Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is generally related to old age and the wear and tear of everyday activities. While in some cases it can be caused by a sudden trauma to the joint, it is usually a chronic health issue that cannot be cured.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where your bodys immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the joints and other areas of the body. It can also affect other areas of the body such as eyesight, skin and even internal organs. While some cases of rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with medication, it is usually a lifelong disease.

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What Are The Parts Of A Joint

Joints get cushioned and supported by soft tissues that prevent your bones from rubbing against each other. A connective tissue called articular cartilage plays a key role. It helps your joints move smoothly without friction or pain.

Some joints have a synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid that lubricates the joints. Many joints, such as your knees, get supported by tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to your bones, while ligaments connect bones to other bones.

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Both cause stiff, painful joints. Both are types of arthritis. Other than that,rheumatoid arthritis andosteoarthritis share little in common.

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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Can Arthritis Go Away

Having arthritis doesnt mean you are stuck with it forever, but there is no cure at the moment. However, many people find relief from their symptoms by adjusting their lifestyle habits or starting a treatment program with their doctor.

For example, if your arthritis causes severe pain in your knee joints when walking up and down stairs, your doctor may prescribe medication that will ease the swelling and pain.

While there is no cure for arthritis, we can treat its symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes. We hope this article has provided you with valuable information on arthritis and its treatment options. If you would like to learn more about this disease, check out some of our other articles.

What Actually Happens In Ankylosing Spondylitis

The spine in the human body is made up of a number of bones stacked one on top of the other.

It is a part of the axial skeleton.

In this disease, the bones of the vertebral column fuse together.

This makes the spine stiff and it becomes difficult to bend the back. The bones join because the disease causes an overgrowth of the vertebral bones.

It is due to this abnormal growth of the backbone that spondylitis causes a lot of pain in the back.

This disease is a chronic systemic disease.

Like rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis can also affect multiple joints at a time.

It mainly affects the ligaments and tendons near the joint and may cause them to swell up.

Who is more prone to Ankylosing spondylitis?

Various studies have found that it has higher chances of occurrence in men, mainly in their youth than in women.

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Rheumatoid Factor And Anticitrullinated Peptide Antibodies

Anticitrullinated peptide antibody levels are more specific for RA and correlate with erosive disease. Rheumatoid factor is a nonspecific immunoglobulin that is also detected in chronic infections, such as hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and infective endocarditis, and in autoimmune disorders such as paraproteinemias, vasculitis, or SLE and should prompt consideration for these entities in the absence of a typical RA joint pattern.11,12 The diagnostic value of rheumatoid factor testing may be limited by its specificity however, it should be used when signs and symptoms of inflammatory arthritis are present. In the clinical setting of symmetric polyarthritis, a high rheumatoid factor titer is associated with poor outcomes and high predictive value for diagnosing RA.13

Difference Between Arthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of joints. Arthritis is a blanket term which includes all types of arthritis like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. This article will discuss each type of arthritis in detail, highlighting their clinical features, symptoms, causes, investigation and diagnosis, prognosis, the course of treatment they require, and finally the differences between them.


Osteoarthritis is a very common joint condition. Women are more prone to symptomatic osteoarthritis than men. Females get it three times more commonly than males. It usually sets in around 50 years of age. Osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear. When it sets in spontaneously, without any previous joint disorders, it is called primary osteoarthritis. When it occurs as a result of another joint disease it is called secondary osteoarthritis. Joint injuries and diseases like hemochromatosis give rise to secondary osteoarthritis.

The x-rays of joints show loss of joint space, sclerosis under the joint cartilage, and marginal osteophytes. In some patients, CRP can be slightly elevated. Regular pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, low dose tricyclics, weight reduction, walking aids, supportive foot ware, physiotherapy, and joint replacement are a few treatment methods.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Read aboutGouthere.

What is the difference between Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gout?

There are no osteophytes in rheumatoid arthritis.

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What Can I Do To Prevent Arthritis

While there are no definite ways to prevent arthritis at the moment, the following lifestyle habits may help reduce your risk:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid traumatic injuries to the joints such as fractures and dislocations

Last, but not least:

Eating a balanced diet along with getting adequate sleep each night can also help reduce inflammation in the body. Make sure your diet includes foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin D. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in most fish and sea foods, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines. Calcium is contained in many dairy products including milk and yogurt.

When we think of arthritis we usually picture a serious, chronic illness that causes pain and loss of movement in the joints. While this is true in some cases, people of all ages and lifestyles can develop arthritis as a secondary symptom to another health problem. Given these facts, it is important to keep up with doctor visits and pay attention to the warning signs that may signify arthritis as the root cause of pain or illness in your joints. For example, if you feel like your knee pain only occurs after exercising or you have noticed a great deal of stiffness in your fingers after being out in the cold, it may be time to speak with your doctor.

How Is Ra Treated

RA can be effectively treated and managed with medication and self-management strategies. Treatment for RA usually includes the use of medications that slow disease and prevent joint deformity, called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs biological response modifiers are medications that are an effective second-line treatment. In addition to medications, people can manage their RA with self-management strategies proven to reduce pain and disability, allowing them to pursue the activities important to them. People with RA can relieve pain and improve joint function by learning to use five simple and effective arthritis management strategies.

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Symptoms Of Oa And Ra

Because OA and RA are caused by different factors, they elicit different symptoms.

A person who has rheumatoid arthritis may experience fatigue, malaise, and depression, preceding other symptoms by weeks to months. These are common symptoms of systemic diseases, as critical body systems, like the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, are under attack. These systems have key responsibilities in the body, and any damage to these systems can throw neurological, physiological, and physical functions off track.

Other symptoms of RA include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Morning stiffness of the joints
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Cracking and popping of the joints

How Rheumatologists Diagnose Ra

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Findings from a physical exam and medical history are important factors in diagnosing RA, say experts. Common RA symptoms include:

  • Joints that feel tender, warm, or swollen for six weeks or more
  • Multiple joints can be affected
  • Joint pain that is commonly symmetrical
  • Joint stiffness, especially first thing in the morning that lasts for an hour or more
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite

While many of these symptoms can occur with other diseases, infections, or injuries, there are subtle traits unique to RA that can help doctors make the diagnosis.

Pain, swelling, and stiffness in smaller joints in the hands, toes, and elbow, for example as opposed to one or two bigger joints, like the knee and hip, usually indicates a pattern more likely to be RA, says Dr. Husni. Pain from RA is usually more symmetric in nature, occurring on both sides of the body. When you injure yourself or have an overuse injury, however, pain usually occurs in just one joint. Joint stiffness can occur with injuries or other conditions, but stiffness with RA typically occurs in the morning and can be overwhelming, explains Dr. Husni. Its not a joint stiffness that passes after a few minutes, but more like you cant even move the covers to get out of bed.

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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 ,
  • fever

What People Mean By Rheumatism

Rheumatism is a term that people often used in the past when describing pain and other symptoms affecting the muscles and joints.

Healthcare professionals do not use this term, but they use similar ones, such as rheumatoid and rheumatology. Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in dealing with diseases of the joints and connective tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition that leads to swelling in the joints. It may also cause a fever and other symptoms.

When people use the word rheumatism, they often mean rheumatoid arthritis. When people use the word arthritis, they are sometimes referring to osteoarthritis.

diseases and other health conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 54 million adults in the U.S. have arthritis. This is 23% of the adult population.

Arthritis often affects older people, but it can develop at any age. In fact, 60% of arthritis cases affect people aged 1864 years, the CDC estimate. Juvenile arthritis , also known as pediatric rheumatic disease, affects around 300,000 children in the country. JA is not a well-defined condition, but it usually involves inflammation and autoimmune factors.

The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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How Do I Know If I Have Oa Or Ra

If you have joint pain, the best thing to do is see a healthcare provider. They can help figure out whats going on. Its helpful to know about any medical problems you or your family have, because autoimmune diseases tend to run in the family. A physical exam is also important, followed by X-rays .

Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse

Some differences between rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis

Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.

There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.

If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.


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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

When To Get Medical Advice

See a GP if you think you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, so they can try to identify the underlying cause.

Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis quickly is important, because early treatment can prevent it getting worse and reduce the risk of joint damage.

Find out more about diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.

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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 Symptoms Of This Disease

  • Sudden flares of pain are usually observed
  • Tenderness
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is linked with depression and anxiety due to the chronic pain.

The disease can be diagnosed using several methods. Some of them are

Family history The medical history of a persons family helps in determining the chances of rheumatoid arthritis.

Blood tests Rheumatoid factor is a type of an antibody which helps in the detection of rheumatoid arthritis. This antibody is present in the blood of people who are suffering from this disease. Hence, blood tests can help in the detection of rheumatoid arthritis.

Others – X rays, ultrasound and MRI also help in the diagnosis of this disease.

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Ra Vs Oa Epidemiology

The primary difference between RA and OA is the underlying nature of the disease. RA is an autoimmune disorder that produces inflammatory joint symptoms throughout the body. OA is a degenerative condition that is the result of increased wear and tear on joints. OA may produce inflammatory symptoms as well, but it primarily destroys joint cartilage over time.

OA affects an estimated 27 million Americans while only 1.3 million Americans have RA. Both RA and OA are more prevalent in women than in men. RA can develop in patients anytime between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. OA generally develops later in life.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Arthritis

Your doctor will ask you a number of questions about your symptoms and medical history to help them determine the root cause of the problem. They will then run several tests to point towards an arthritis diagnosis or rule out other possible causes of your illness. These include:

  • Blood Tests
  • X-Rays

Be sure to explain any joint injuries you have had in the past as these can help your doctor rule out a more serious condition that needs immediate attention.

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