There is a Fine Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Both related to bone health, there is a fine line between these symptoms and treatment of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Vani Malik
Written by: Vani MalikUpdated at: Jun 28, 2019 14:48 IST
There is a Fine Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Both of these ailments being a type of arthritis, a lot of people get confused between these two due to a few similar characteristics. However, there is a vast difference between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  To start with, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It happens due to wear and tear of the joints. This joint-related problem usually begins exceptionally slowly. It mostly starts later in life with age. The symptoms of this form begin on one side of the body and are limited to finger joints and large weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees. Osteoarthritis leads to the degradation of joints. This condition leads to stiffness in the muscles and excessive pain. The bone joints become vulnerable due to wearing out of the cartilage-bone, indicating the need for knee replacement surgery.  Overweight individuals are at more risk of osteoarthritis. This problem has become a common phenomenon in people of all age groups, even kids due to lack of exercising, playing and a proper diet.

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Another common form of arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis can happen anytime, at any age, and the symptoms appear faster within a few months of the onset of it. Differentiating from osteoarthritis, RA affects both sides of the body and affects smaller and larger joints in the body. This is an autoimmune disease wherein the patient’s immune system attacks on the joints. 

Table of Differentiation 

For better understanding, let’s understand these two common forms of arthritis in a tabular format: 

  • Treatment: Osteoarthritis is treated with painkillers that can either be over-the-counter or by prescription. However, treatment for RA can be a lengthier procedure as it affects any organ for it being an autoimmune disease. 
  • Affect on Body: In osteoarthritis, only joints are affected. However, in RA, the joints and organs are affected alike. 
  • Age Group: The age group that is often detected with OA is older as it happens due to wear and tear of muscles and joints with age. However, it is not the case with RA. It is said that RA affects women with severe symptoms than men. 
  • Time to Display Symptoms: OA may take years to get detected. But, RA can strike suddenly with even disability-like conditions. 

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Associated Symptoms 

Following are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis, which make it different from the other types of bone-related problems: 

  • Bone deformity and enlargement
  • Constant fever
  • Sudden bouts of depression
  • Locking of bones
  • Restricted movement in day-to-day activities 

Following are the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis for a better understanding of this bone-related problem

  • The feeling of being sick all the time
  • Sudden weight loss in the individual
  • Frequent fevers and episodes of weakness
  • Cardiac issues in cases

Same forms but different effects 

These two might be the most common forms of arthritis but are opposite in terms of their effects. It is best to consult a physician to have a clear idea if any of these symptoms are experienced to move towards the right treatment for that particular form of arthritis. 

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