Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Mar 28, 2022

Joint pain and movement troubles are issues many people experience as years pass by. And if ones’ conditions depend on some external factors (like weather changes), others have to deal with serious health trouble called arthritis. No worries, it can be taken under control with a doctor’s help, but it is still important to be aware of some peculiarities of this disease. And, first of all, did you know that there are variations of it?

The most common ones are in particular osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In today’s article, we are going to discuss the main differences between these unfortunate health issues, learn all about their symptoms and signals that tell you to go to a specialist, and the best treatment techniques that proved their effectiveness through the years of practice.

Among all available treatment options, injectable fillers proved themselves safe and highly efficient. These preparations are meant for professional use only and should be administered by a well-trained specialist in a clinic. PDcosmetics offers a wide range of gel-like fillers that are able to eliminate joint tenderness and make the life of a person easier and more comfortable. 

Osteoarthritis. General Information and Overview

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis out there; it affects millions of people worldwide and makes it hard for some individuals to complete even the simplest everyday tasks. It occurs when the layer of protective cartilage, which is meant to cushion the ends of the bones, wears down with years. Even though this issue can affect joints in any body part, the most common ones are hands, knees, hips, and spine.

Unfortunately, the joint damage cannot be reversed, but it is possible to manage it with the help of a doctor’s assistance and some healthy habits. Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and receive all needed treatments on time – in this way, it will be possible to slow down the negative influence of the disease, as well as live a full life without discomfort and pain.

Everything You Need to Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (also often referred to as RA) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease. What does it mean? That means rheumatoid arthritis affects healthy cells in the body by mistake. The body’s immune system attacks cells because it gets the wrong signals and, as a result, painful swelling occurs in the damaged body zones (usually, hands, wrists, and knees).

Commonly, many joints are attacked at once, and joint tissue gets seriously hurt because of the inflammations. Consequently, a person may experience durable chronic pain, lack of balance, and even deformity (misshapenness). If the case is severe, not only joint tissue suffers, some internal organs can also be affected. Typically, it happens to the lungs, heart, and eyes; this issue is very dangerous and should be taken under control on time to avoid severe health issues.

Rheumatoid Vs. Osteoarthritis. How Are They Different?

Rheumatoid Vs. Osteoarthritis. How Are They Different?

As we have already discussed the basic characteristics of both diseases, it’s time to have a closer look at them to understand what is the difference when it comes to diagnosis, signs, and symptoms, and, of course, treatment.

However, we would like to remind you that this article is for informational purposes only and cannot be used instead of the actual doctor’s consultation. If you suspect that you may suffer from either of these illnesses or if you experience anything mentioned here, please, get in touch with a specialist for a regular check-out. In this way, many dangerous health conditions can be easily avoided.

General Comparison

The only thing osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have in common are that they are both types of arthritis that affect one’s joints. That’s it, we are done with similarities. However, there are still plenty of things in terms of differences we should talk about.

First of all, the causes of the health issues. Osteoarthritis typically occurs later in life, when cartilage wears off due to its constant exploitation. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, can develop at any age because it is an autoimmune disease. Because of it, one’s healthy body cells are attacked by the organism itself.

Speaking about age, osteoarthritis can develop in people after the age of 50, depending on one’s health and body peculiarities. RA begins between the ages of 30 and 60 in women and 40 and 65 in men. Once again, this factor depends a lot on one’s health condition in general.

Joint stiffness is one more important thing when it comes to basic dissimilarities between RA and osteoarthritis. People may experience morning stiffness with both illnesses; however, with osteoarthritis, joints can be massaged, used more and more, and in the end, inflexibility should be gone in a few minutes maximum. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, sometimes demands more than an hour to get back the usual mobility. This is one of the signs individuals should pay attention to define the disease at the early stage.


Osteoarthritis symptoms

This sickness is typically characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Joint pain. The sensation can be different: sharp, burning, regular ache, etc. Typically, patients can experience it in the area of hands, spine, hips, knees, and feet; however, it is better to ready that unpleasant sensations may travel to the neighbor body zones as well;
  • Morning joints stiffness. It can be solved by some light exercise and regular movement around;
  • Muscle weakness in the affected joint area. Typically, it relates to the knee joint;
  • Deformed joints. It becomes more noticeable when the disease progresses;
  • Difficulty moving around or doing some types of movements. Once again, people may experience that if osteoarthritis progresses;
  • Crepitus (in other words, cracking and creaking). If you hear that sound, you will recognize it without a doubt.

Joint damage and other rheumatoid arthritis signs

When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, there are fewer signs that can signal it. However, it is important to remember that it is a systematic disease, which means it can affect both body sides (when, for example, osteoarthritis can affect only one knee or one wrist, RA can be damaging for both of them).

The main symptoms of RA include:

  • Swollen, stiff, painful joints. The common areas here are hands, wrists, elbows, knees, feet, and ankles;
  • Inflammation. It should be taken under control on time because, otherwise, it can lead to severe joint damage;
  • Bumps and lumps under the skin. Typically, they form over the knuckles and elbows.

In severe cases, such organs as lungs and heart can be affected; nerves and blood vessels can be damaged as well. So, visit a doctor’s office as soon as you notice any suspicious symptoms or changes in your health in general. In this way, you’ll avoid various severe conditions in the future.

Diagnoses for Diseases

In order to define a patient’s health problems, a doctor may ask a series of standard questions, namely:

  • What type of pain do you experience? Sharp, burning, aching?
  • Do you have joint stiffness in the morning? If yes, how long does it typically last?
  • Do your joints swell?

After the discussion, a specialist may also order X-rays and blood tests to check whether there are other conditions that may cause the symptoms you experience.

Treatment Recommendations

As the nature of both diseases is entirely different, treatment recommendations vary too. We would like to remind you that the cure can only be defined by a licensed professional; self-treatment may lead to dangerous consequences and severe health issues.

Osteoarthritis treatment

The osteoarthritis treatment plan for an individual should be based on their personal health issues and body peculiarities; in this way, recommendations may vary from one person to another.

  • Pain medications. Painful sensations can be eliminated with the help of over-the-counter drugs (for example, acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If those are not helpful, a doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers to you;
  • Ice and heat. Heat is beneficial in relaxing muscle tension around the affected joint, while ice is perfect for eliminating painful sensations and swelling after exercising or other tiring activities. Sometimes, special gels are prescribed to patients for these purposes;
  • Exercise. It may sound unbelievable, but muscle strengthening may offload joints and make it easier for a person to perform various types of daily activities;
  • Weight loss (for overweight individuals). By taking off excess weight from joints, it is also possible to reduce the stress that can be caused by it;
  • Surgery. If everything mentioned above is not effective, a doctor may recommend having surgery or a special gel filler injection to relieve the pain caused by the disease.

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is not curable, but the symptoms can still be managed. 

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment

When it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, treatment recommendations here are similar to osteoarthritis – positive lifestyle changes, regular exercising, and treatment during the early stages of the illness. Regular doctor checkups are vital here because RA is an autoimmune disease, so there is a chance one’s condition can worsen suddenly. If it happens, an expert may recommend having surgery to eliminate painful sensations and guarantee comfort and positive changes to an individual.

The Bottom Line

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are dangerous health conditions that can badly affect one’s life quality and well-being in general. If not taken under control on time, it may lead to different severe health conditions and complications, so regular checkups at the doctor’s office are a must!

In general, specialists recommend improving the lifestyle and sticking to a healthy diet, as well as adding regular exercising to one’s routine to make the symptoms of both diseases not so harsh on a person. And our friendly team would also add that self-treatments are very dangerous and may harm you greatly. So take care, stay safe, and be healthy. Thank you for reading!

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