When discussing Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis, they are two very different types of diseases. Osteoarthritis primarily affects the cartilage that is between the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease that causes the soft tissues around the joint to become inflamed. Osteoarthritis will usually involve the fingers, knees, and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis will almost always involve the wrists and feet.
The reason we have joints in our body is to make the ability to move around as easy and comfortable as possible. If you imagine your elbow, it’s where both of your arm bones come together right? Both bones just don’t sit there inside your muscles, they are connected by a joint (kind of like a hinge) to allow movement and rotation. These joints are cushioned by a cushion called cartilage and there is a fluid in there called they synovial fluid. Depending on whether you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA) will determine how the joints are affected or damaged.
Osteoarthritis is sometimes referred to as the “wear and tear” arthritis. The constant and repeated motions and injuries to the joints will wear down and destroy the cartilage. When this cushioning is gone, moving or rotating the joints are extremely painful. Sometimes, OA can even effect the ankles, wrists, and knees and is often a disease that is common in older people. But, if you have had any kind of injuries to your joints from sports or anything else, it’s possible to develop OA at an earlier age.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (what is Rheumatoid Arthritis) is quite different from OA because it’s a disease of the immune system. The body attacks the joints and this causes pain and suffering and sometimes disability. You can also see the physical results of RA because the joints can sometimes be disfigured.
Diagnosis – Osteoarthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis?
When it comes to determining whether you have OA or RA, the type of discomfort and the pattern that the pain is presenting are the valuable indicators.
If you wake up in the morning with stiffness and soreness but after walking around the house some or a warm shower you start to feel better, this is a sign of RA. You can also have the stiffness after sitting down for a period of time and you’ll feel the pain in BOTH sides of the body (both wrists, ankles, etc.)
One of the easiest ways for the doctor to check you for RA is to do a blood test that will check to see if you have any levels of Rheumatoid factor. Sometimes an x-ray can help in showing if you have any symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis doesn’t have anything else to do with the organs of the body. The most common symptom you will get from OA is pain when you have been repeatedly using the affected area over and over. This kind of pain can often get worse close to the end of the day and sometimes you can have some swelling, warmth in that area, or when you move that joint it can make a creaking noise. Now on the opposite end of things, you can get the same pain and stiffness after long periods of not doing anything (inactivity). When your OA is severe enough, it means the the cartilage cushion is completely gone and causes the bones to rub (friction) and severe pain even where the motion is limited or at complete rest. This is only scratching the surface of how Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis can be different but almost the same. Stay tuned for more topics on this.