Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Understanding the Differences

Osteoarthritis

and Health

Are you aware of the differences between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis? These two conditions are both painful diseases, but they differ in their causes, symptoms and treatments. Understanding the differences can be critical for managing each condition and leading a healthy life.

Differentiating Between Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which occurs when the cartilage protecting the ends of the bones breaks down, leading to pain and stiffness. It is caused by wear and tear over time and is much more common among older adults.

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Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. It can affect people of any age and is more common among women.

Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Though both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, there are differences in the signs and symptoms. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the hands, hips, and knees, and causes gradual onset of symptoms, with pain worsening over time. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, typically affects the feet and hands and can cause swelling, redness and warmth in the joints as well.

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Diagnosing Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis can be tricky because their symptoms may be similar. Your doctor may conduct physical examinations to check for tenderness and swelling in the joints and may order X-Rays or lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Once your doctor has diagnosed your condition, they can come up with the best treatment plan for you. Treatment for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis can include medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications. Your doctor might also suggest surgical treatments for more severe cases.

Living With Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Living with any type of chronic health condition can be difficult and can negatively affect your mental health. However, there are several things you can do to manage your condition and improve your overall health.

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For Osteoarthritis, taking pain relief medications and eating a healthful diet can help reduce symptoms. You should also try to engage in low-impact exercises like swimming that won’t worsen your condition.

For Rheumatoid Arthritis, taking disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and pain. It’s also important to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and to find ways to manage stress.

The Takeaway

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are both painful, chronic diseases, but they differ in their causes, symptoms, and treatments. Understanding the differences between the two conditions can be important for managing each condition and leading a healthy life.