Friday, February 3, 2023

What Is The Main Difference Between Rheumatoid Arthritis And Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Causes Symptoms And Risk Factors

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?! | Dr Alyssa Kuhn

The bones in the various joints throughout the body are lined with a layer of cartilage, which prevents friction and allows the bones to glide freely to facilitate the motions that allow us to bend the knees, raise our arms above our shoulders, and sit and stand without experiencing pain and stiffness. Over time, the cartilage can wear out, leaving the ends of the bones exposed, which can result in pain and permanent damage to the joint if left untreated.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in Los Angeles. The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the affected joints, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time
  • Limited flexibility and range of motion
  • Grating from friction between the ends of the bones
  • Bone spurs

Anyone can develop and suffer from osteoarthritis, however, there are certain conditions and risk factors that can make the likelihood of developing the condition higher, including:

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 .

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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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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.

Symptoms Of Oa And Ra

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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

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Causes And Risk Factors For Rheumatic Disease

A direct cause for the onset of rheumatoid arthritis is unclear, but genetics are believed to play a role in the development and progression of inflammation that triggers the adverse immune response responsible for RA-related joint degeneration.

Some risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis in Los Angeles:

  • Gender more common in women
  • Age while RA can develop at any age, it is most common in adults between the ages of 40 and 60
  • Lifestyle factors people who smoke tobacco and are overweight can be at a higher risk of developing the condition
  • Environmental and industrial contaminants while the data is still inconclusive, rheumatologists and health experts believe that exposure to certain pollutants and chemicals like asbestos and silica can increase the risk of autoimmune disorders in some people

Learn more about rheumatic diseases at

What Is The Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis.

To date, the goal of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis is to reduce joint inflammation and pain, maximize joint function, and prevent joint destruction and deformity.

  • Early medical intervention has been shown to be important in improving outcomes.
  • Aggressive management can improve function, stop damage to joints as monitored on X-rays, and prevent work disability.
  • Optimal RA treatment involves a combination of medicines, rest, joint-strengthening exercises, joint protection, and patient education.
  • Treatment is customized according to many factors such as disease activity, types of joints involved, general health, age, and patient occupation.
  • RA treatment is most successful when there is close cooperation between the doctor, patient, and family members.
  • RA medications include NSAID and corticosteroids for pain and inflammation symptoms.
  • Drugs that affect the progression of rheumatoid arthritis are called DMARDs
  • These “second-line” or “slow-acting” medicines may take weeks to months to become effective. They are used for long periods, even years, at varying doses. If maximally effective, DMARDs can promote remission, thereby retarding the progression of joint destruction and deformity.


The treatment of arthritis is dependent on the precise type of arthritis present. An accurate diagnosis increases the chances for successful treatment.

Treatments available include

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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.

Joint Pain Isnt The Same

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Whatâs the difference?

Rheumatoid arthritis usually shows symmetrical joint inflammation and is persistent for a long time. But, this might not be the case in the early stages of RA. However, Osteoarthritis usually shows up asymmetrically, meaning only 1 side of the body may be affected at times. A common OA symptom is morning stiffness in joints within minutes of waking up. Osteoarthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage joint surface wears out. Osteoarthritis usually begins in an isolated joint. But, 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.

Again, RA is an autoimmune disorder, which means your body attacks itself. If you have RA, your body interprets the soft lining around your joints as a threat, similar to a virus or bacteria, and attacks it. But, OA, the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disorder. People with OA experience a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions their joints. The wearing down of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other. This exposes small nerves, causing pain. No matter which type of arthritis it is, the pain is a common result. It is necessary to treat them within a specific time period. Capitol Pain Institute is a prominent organization with expertise in treating such pains.

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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.

Understand The Underlying Cause Of Joint Pain

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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Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis

The first step in finding relief from joint pain, swelling, and stiffness is working with your doctor to determine if you could be having symptoms of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis . The sooner you know, the sooner you can begin treatment and find relief from your symptoms.

Weve put together a quick guide to help you understand the differences between RA and OA. While RA and OA can both lead to joint pain and stiffness, there are important differences that can help you have a conversation with your doctor to assist in identifying which type of arthritis you might haveand ultimatelyhow to treat it. Use the chart below to learn more about RA and OA.

Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

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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

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis: Treatment

Treatment for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis should begin early in order to prevent future complications. The objectives of rheumatoid arthritis treatment include reducing inflammation, relieving symptoms, preventing joint and organ damage, improving physical function and well-being, and reducing long-term complications.

Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with medications to ease symptoms like pain and stiffness. This may involve anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Other medications can be prescribed to slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, including corticosteroids, biologics, and JAK inhibitors. Surgery may be required if damage is severe, and the joint must be replaced in order to improve function.

The objectives of osteoarthritis treatment include managing the symptoms, improving joint mobility and flexibility, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting adequate exercise. Physical activity has been shown to be quite beneficial to osteoarthritis patients, as it strengthens and builds muscles thus easing the burden on the joints. Weight management is also important because excess weight adds unnecessary stress to already painful joints.

Your doctor will help you decide on what type of treatment will offer you the greatest success in living with either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

How Do I Know If I Have Osteoarthritis Or Rheumatoid Arthritis

The best way to know whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis is to consult your doctor. However, some symptoms like symmetry, fever and excessive fatigue can help you tell that you have rheumatoid arthritis versus osteoarthritis. Let’s explore these symptoms a bit more.

One symptom of RA that’s not always the case with OA is that your joints are likely to feel painful on both sides. So, if your arthritis is symmetrical, you may have RA.

The reason for this symmetry is because RA has nothing to do with wear and tear. It’s an autoimmune disease where the cells of your joints are essentially attacking themselves. So, if multiple joints are in pain or both shoulders, both knees or both hips have painful joints, this could be a sign of RA.

On the other hand, OA usually presents itself in an isolated joint. You might feel pain in one hip or in your left knee. Athletes and the ageing population often experience OA due to the fact of overuse, whereas RA can affect people at any age.

Fevers, especially in children are another symptom of RA that you won’t find if you have OA.

And additionally, excessive fatigue is also usually present in those with RA that doesn’t necessarily occur in those who suffer from OA.

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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.

How Can You Test For Arthritis At Home

Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

To diagnose arthritis, your doctor will consider your symptoms, perform a physical exam to check for swollen joints or loss of motion, and use blood tests and X-rays to confirm the diagnosis. X-rays and blood tests also help distinguish the type of arthritis you have.

Beside this, how do I know what kind of arthritis I have?

Symptoms include stiffness in the morning or after long rests, aching pain, pain when walking, bending or gripping objects, swelling and a joint that is warm to the touch. Because symptoms worsen slowly, you may notice the pain come and go. Another common type of arthritis is gout.

Furthermore, where does arthritis usually start? Symptoms can come on gradually or start suddenly. They’re often more severe than with osteoarthritis. The most common include: Pain, stiffness, and swelling in your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, jaw, and neck.

Then, can an xray show the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?

X-rays of affected joints can show joint damage associated with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Arthrocentesis, joint fluid removal, and joint fluid analysis are possible procedures that can assess osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The results differentiate which type of arthritis is involved.

Is arthritis a disability?

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Main Difference Osteoarthritis Vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is a general term used to describe inflammation of the joints.Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are two disease types which are known to affect the musculoskeletal system in several ways. Their prevalence in the modern society is quite high, but with timely interventions, the negative impact on the quality of life can be eliminated. The main difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that osteoarthritis is a degenerative, wear and tear type disorder whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition.

This article explains,

Definition, Cause, Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

2. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis Definition, Cause, Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

3. What is the difference between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Most Common Joints Affected

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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