Thursday, May 23, 2024

What Is The Difference Of Rheumatoid Arthritis And Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Vs Arthritis: Whats The Difference

Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis Nursing | Symptoms, Pathophysiology, Treatment Mnemonic NCLEX

The terms “osteoarthritis” and “arthritis” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same things. Arthritis refers to over 100 joint conditions that cause inflammation of one or more joints, while osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis. Arthritis will affect tissues around the joints and other connective tissues throughout the body.

Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative arthritis, or wear-and-tear arthritis, because it occurs with use over time, as people age. It causes the breakdown of cartilagethe firm, whitish, flexible connective tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint.

OA affects 32.5 million adults in the United States. It is the most common form of arthritis, followed by rheumatoid arthritis a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause severe joint damage and affect the organs and connective tissues throughout the body, as well. OA is a leading cause of disability worldwide.

This article will cover osteoarthritis symptoms, causes, treatment, and more.

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What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Rheumatoid And Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Although rheumatoid arthritis can have many different symptoms, joints are always affected. Rheumatoid arthritis almost always affects the joints of the hands , wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and/or feet. The larger joints, such as the shoulders, hips, and jaw, may be affected. The vertebrae of the neck are sometimes involved in people who have had the disease for many years. Usually at least two or three different joints are involved on both sides of the body, often in a symmetrical pattern. The usual joint symptoms include the following:

  • Stiffness: The joint does not move as well as it once did. Its range of motion may be reduced. Typically, stiffness is most noticeable in the morning and improves later in the day.
  • Inflammation: Red, tender, and warm joints are the hallmarks of inflammation. Many joints are typically inflamed .
  • Swelling: The area around the affected joint is swollen and puffy.
  • Nodules: These are hard bumps that appear on or near the joint. They often are found near the elbows. They are most noticeable on the part of the joint that juts out when the joint is flexed.
  • Pain: Pain in rheumatoid arthritis has several sources. Pain can come from inflammation or swelling of the joint and surrounding tissues or from working the joint too hard. The intensity of the pain varies among individuals.

These symptoms may keep someone from being able to carry out normal activities. General symptoms include the following:


At What Age Does Arthritis Usually Start

RA can be diagnosed anywhere between the ages of 30 and 60, although the likelihood increases with age. It is also more common in women 2 to 3 times more, in fact.

Osteoarthritis is also more common later in life, with many people getting a diagnosis in their 50s or 60s. Its estimated that about 9% of adults will have knee OA by the time theyre 60 years old. But it is possible to have OA earlier, such as after an injury.

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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

Understand The Underlying Cause Of Joint Pain

Rheumatoid arthritis vs. osteoarthritis

Getting relief may feel like the only thing that matters, but in the long run, the root cause of the pain is very important to determine. The treatments for the two diseases are different, says Paula Rackoff, MD, rheumatologist and clinical associate professor in the department of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. You dont want to miss the opportunity for reversing the inflammatory component of RA. And you dont want to treat OA with potentially toxic medication if you dont need it. But every RA patient eventually gets OA as well, so the pain needs to be diagnosed correctly and reassessed every time.

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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.

Want To Get More Involved With Patient Advocacy

The 50-State Network is the grassroots advocacy arm of CreakyJoints and the Global Healthy Living Foundation, comprised of patients with chronic illness who are trained as health care activists to proactively connect with local, state, and federal health policy stakeholders to share their perspectives and influence change. If you want to effect change and make health care more affordable and accessible to patients with chronic illness, learn more here.

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Oa Is Diagnosed With X

Both OA and RA require you to give a medical history and undergo a clinical exam for diagnosis. But for diagnosing OA, X-rays are also important, says Dr. Ashany. X-ray images can show if the space between the bones is becoming narrower, a sign of cartilage loss. And they can reveal the presence of those bony growths called osteophytes. Magnetic resonance imaging may also be used to detect more detailed changes in the cartilage and surrounding tissues, says Dr. Askari.

Who Is Affected By Arthritis

Osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis pathophysiology | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common type of arthritis. It currently affects over 32 million Americans². RA affects approximately 1% of the adult population worldwide, including about 1.3 million adults in the US³. While RA can start at any time in your life, OA usually begins later in life. The University of North Carolinas Osteoarthritis Action Alliance reports that 62% of individuals with OA are women². RA is also three times more common in women than men.

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The Location Of The Joint Pain

RA Most commonly these joints are affected: hands, wrists, fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and hips. However, the pain can be in any joint. The pain is usually symmetrical it effects both sides of the body at the same time.

OA There is pain wherever a joint has been injured or worn through overuse most commonly in the hands, fingers, thumb, knees, hips, lower back and neck. The pain is not symmetrical. The lifetime risk of developing OA of the knee is about 46 percent, and the lifetime risk of developing OA of the hip is 25 percent, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

Differences Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints. It is not a single disease. There are over 100 types of arthritis. Some similar symptoms of arthritis in general include joint stiffness and joint pain. These symptoms make it difficult to move around and perform everyday tasks. Lets take a look at the two most common types of arthritis, their differences, and how arthritis doctors treat them.

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Ra Vs Oa: Getting A Correct Diagnosis

The treatment goals for both RA and OA are similar to maintain joint function, reduce pain, and minimize the potential for joint damage. But these conditions need to be treated and managed differently, which makes getting the correct diagnosis crucial.

With RA, diagnosis involves a medical history, physical examination, bloodwork, and imaging studies. Your medical history in RA is helpful because there is a genetic component to the disease.

An OA diagnosis typically involves a medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies. Bloodwork might be done to rule out RA and other types of autoimmune arthritis.

With this overlap in diagnosis, RA is sometimes mistaken for OA it often happens, especially as patients get older, Dr. Lee says. This is especially common in erosive OA. It can be mistaken at times, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Erosive OA is a rarer, more severe type of OA involving bone erosion and cartilage damage to the fingers.

Other Types Of Arthritis

Ra Vs Oa

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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Ra Is Diagnosed With Blood Tests

Several lab tests are useful for confirming RA, says Dr. Bingham. For instance, up to 80% of people with RA have elevated blood levels of specific auto-antibodies namely, rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP. Other tests can measure the inflammatory markers in the blood and in the synovial fluid of the affected jointthe higher the inflammatory cell counts, the more likely it is to be RA . In osteoarthritis, those blood tests are not elevated, says Dr. Bingham, because it is not a primary disease of the immune system.

Risk Factors For Osteoarthritis

There are certain factors that may increase your risk for osteoarthritis. Some are modifiable and others are not. Risk factors include:

  • Family members with the condition, particularly a parent or sibling
  • An occupation that involves repetitive actions, like kneeling, climbing, or heavy lifting
  • Having another condition that affects joint health, such as other types of arthritis
  • Being at least 50 years old
  • Overweight or obesity

If you have osteoarthritis in one part of your body, you have an increased risk of developing it in other parts of the body.

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Main Differences Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis occurs at an elderly age. Rheumatoid arthritis pitches in at any age possible.
  • Osteoarthritis is because of damage caused by wear and tear. Rheumatoid arthritis is because of damage incurred by the metabolic and immunological defects.
  • Osteoarthritis patients will complain only of pain and restriction of movements. Rheumatoid arthritis patient will complain of pain, restriction of movement, fever, loss of appetite, swelling in joints, generalized weakness.
  • The stiffness of joints is most common at the end of the day in osteoarthritis. Stiffness is more common in the morning in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The management of osteoarthritis includes medical, lifestyle changes, physiotherapy, and also surgical approach. Rheumatoid arthritis management revolves around only the medical approach most of the time.
  • Osteoarthritis does not follow the symmetrical involvement of joints, whereas rheumatoid arthritis will.
  • What Is The Prognosis For Rheumatoid And Osteoarthritis

    Understanding the Differences Between Rheumatoid Arthritis 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.


    Some findings suggest that the following are true:

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    Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis: Differences Between The Symptoms

    Although both arthritic conditions cause pain and stiffness in the joints, there are important differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. For example, the joints in rheumatoid arthritis will be swollen, but in osteoarthritis there is usually little to no swelling. The following are other differences in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis symptoms.

    • Time of Symptom Outbreak: Rheumatoid arthritis patients will often wake up with stiff joints in the morning, with symptoms lasting an hour or longer. Osteoarthritis patients will also wake up with stiffness, and it often goes away within a half hour, but will likely return after some type of physical activity.
    • Location of Symptoms: Rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical, meaning that the same joints are affected on both sides of the body. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is not. The degenerative condition tends to affect weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and spine, but it can also affect the hands.
    • Non-Joint Symptoms: Osteoarthritis will typically only affect the joints, but patients with rheumatoid arthritis will experience non-joint symptoms such as aching muscles, excessive fatigue, nerve damage, weight loss, depression, and dryness of the mouth and eyes. Children with rheumatoid arthritis may also develop a low-grade fever.

    Autoimmune Vs Degenerative Disease

    As mentioned, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, in which the bodys white blood cells attack the cartilage in the joints, destroying the collagen structures, bones, and ligaments. As a result, fluid will accumulate in the joints, and lead to stiffness, pain, and swelling around them. Other autoimmune diseases also affect connective tissue, including lupus, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease, polymyalgia rheumatica, and ankylosing spondylitis.

    Osteoarthritis deteriorates the cartilage that protects the joints, causing bones to rub together and expose nerves, which leads to pain. Other examples of degenerative diseases include osteoporosis, macular degeneration, and multiple sclerosis.

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    Getting Prompt Treatment For Ra And Oa

    If you have experienced signs of RA or OA, you will want to see your doctor as soon as possible. If RA diagnosis and treatment are delayed, severe joint damage can occur. Delays in an OA diagnosis and treatment could mean increased pain and stiffness and a loss of mobility.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options for both RA and OA, and some, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and prescription pain relievers, can treat both. Immunosuppressive therapies, including methotrexate and biologics, can slow down the effects of the immune system and reduce inflammation. RA and OA are also managed by following a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, weight loss, proper nutrition, and stress management.

    Most Common Joints Affected

    Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

    OA can affect any joint, but it tends to happen in joints youâve injured or use over and over. Think knees, hips, back, neck, thumbs, and big toes.

    RA can also cause joint problems throughout your body. The disease is especially common in the small joints of your hands and feet. It also strikes shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. Unlike OA, RA tends to leave your back alone.

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    Possible Additional Arthritis Symptoms

    RA Fever, fatigue, hot rash, or joint swelling may occur. With RA, there is systemic inflammation. The eyes, lungs, and heart or circulatory system can also be affected by this inflammation, as well as the mouth and the skin with rheumatoid nodules. Patients with RA generally have a team of physicians to oversee their treatment of all this different systemic involvement.

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    OA The symptoms are focused on the specific joint that are involved. Pain can be achy or sharp in nature and there may be radiating pain. OA symptoms can vary greatly among patients.

    OA can make movement and exercise difficult at times. However, those are the exact things that are needed to assist with OA. If one does not exercise, that can contribute to obesity, which in turn contributes to load, systemic factors, and pain at various levels. The association between obesity and pain is well established, including its bidirectional nature, according to a study published in the April 1, 2021, issue of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. According to the Arthritis Foundation, losing 1 pound of weight resulted in 4 pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. In other words, losing just 10 pounds would relieve 40 pounds of pressure from your knees.

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