The Difference between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Janice CarsonJanice Carson

The most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. We need to know the difference between the two.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

This type of arthritis is more common and it literally affects hundreds of thousands and even millions all over the world. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints all over the human body. The other bad news is that is can eventually spread to the major organs of the human body and can be a more severe and debilitating illness.

The Difference between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Interestingly, medical science still has to find the root cause of rheumatoid arthritis. The leading theory as to its cause is believed to be a gene that causes a person to eventually acquire this condition. Specific events can also trigger this condition in a person.

Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Traditional remedies (medications) are mostly used by sufferers of this type of arthritis. Its symptoms can be treated by medications.

These can be:

  • NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • DMARDs or disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs

These drugs are usually prescription medications and the more popular ones include Celebrax, Arava, Enbrel and Methotrexate among others. They can be helpful in alleviating the symptoms; however, they all have bad side effects that can even worsen the health of a person in more ways than one.

What is Osteoarthritis?

This type of arthritis often strikes older individuals as the “wear and tear” theory of the joints is believed to be the underlying cause of this condition. Osteoarthritis is marked by the increase of the water component of the cartilage and the decrease of its protein component. The overuse of the joints and the non-ending stress caused by joint injury or being overweight can help trigger this problem. Also, health factors like diabetes, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy and joint infections among others can lead to osteoarthritis.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis

  • Localized injections of glucocorticoid and hyaluronan
  • Surgical joint replacement procedures.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

It can be easy to differentiate whether a patient suffers from Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis by knowing the distinct symptoms of these two diseases.

For rheumatoid arthritis patients the symptoms can include:

  • Pain in both sides of the joint
  • Inflammation, swelling or reddening in color in the affected areas
  • Fever
  • Fatigue,
  • Stiffness in the body that can last for 15 minute intervals or more
  • Vasculitis
  • Renal amyloidosis
  • Fibrosis of the lungs

Osteoarthritis does not affect the other major body organs. It developes as a result of old age.
Only by consulting with your doctor will you be able to know for sure what type of arthritis you are suffering from and how to fight its painful symptoms. The doctor can prescribe the right kinds of medications for your specific needs.