Arthritis is a very painful condition that affects millions and millions of Americans every year. There are many different types of arthritis including psoriatic arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, scleroderma, osteoarthritis, gonococcal arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis of all types is a condition that affects the body's joints. A joint is defined as the location where two bones in the body come together. People suffering from arthritis experience joint inflammation that may occur in one bodily joint or many joints.
Two types of arthritis that are commonly discussed include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. You may be wondering what some of the major differences are between these two conditions. Here are seven major differences between osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
- Osteoarthritis is more common than Rheumatoid Arthritis. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), OA affects around 27 million American adults 25 years and older. The Arthritis Foundation reports that RA affects about 1.5 million people in the United States.
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition caused by the wearing of bodily joints over time. RA is an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person's immune system attacks the body's joints.
- Typically people experience OA when they get older. RA can strike a person at any point in life. When it occurs in children, it is sometimes called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
- RA can occur quite quickly whereas OA tends to have a more gradual progression over the course of many years.
- RA tends to strike in a more symmetrical manner where a person might experience inflammation and pain in both hands or both feet. In contrast, OA can easily affect only one joint in the body.
- Both types of arthritis cause a sense of stiffness in the morning. While the morning stiffness may lessen as the day goes on for those with OA, people with RA are more likely to experience this stiffness for a longer period of time during and throughout the day.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is often accompanied with other symptoms which include overall tiredness and malaise, whereas the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis is specific to the joint that is affected.
Arthritis of any type is painful and challenging. Treatment most typically aims to help reduce discomfort, aid physical functioning and if possible, to prevent additional damage to bodily joints.
A thorough physical examination by a trained health care professional like a board certified orthopedic physician is advisable if you think you might be suffering from any type of arthritis including osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.