10 Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

SHARE

Reviewed By Dr. Ezekiel Oburu (M.D, PhD, FACR)

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. The wearing of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other. This can cause pain, stiffness, and other symptoms Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

People suffering from osteoarthritis will experience a short-lived stiffness in the morning but returns after inactivity or later in the day and other symptoms affecting the whole body will not be as noticeable, if at all present. Osteoarthritis occurs most often in older people, although it can occur in adults of any age. Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease, degenerative arthritis, and wear-and-tear arthritis.

Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • pain
  • tenderness (discomfort when pressing on the area with your fingers)
  • stiffness
  • inflammation

What You Need To Know About Osteoarthritis

  • Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage (tissue in your joints that cushions the bones) wears away. The wearing of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other.
  • Osteoarthritis tends to develop gradually over several years, as the joint cartilage wears away.
  • Osteoarthritis attacks the smooth cartilage joint tissue.
  • In osteoarthritis, the symptoms typically start on one side of the body and may or may not spread.
  • It is primarily a degenerative joint condition.
  • Osteoarthritis is more prevalent in older adults.
  • Joint pain or inflammation is commonly the first sign of osteoarthritis.
  • People suffering from osteoarthritis will experience a short-lived stiffness in the morning but returns after inactivity or later in the day and other symptoms affecting the whole body will not be as noticeable, if at all present.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which the immune system attacks the tissues in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) usually affects the hands and feet first, but it can occur in any joint. It usually involves the same joints on both sides of the body. Common symptoms include stiff joints, especially upon getting up in the mornings or after sitting down for a while. Some people often experience fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell. Other than being an autoimmune disease. It is also a systemic disease, which means it affects the whole body.

Common Symptoms associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis include:

  • pain, swelling, and stiffness in more than one joint
  • symmetrical joint involvement
  • joint deformity
  • unsteadiness when walking
  • a general feeling of being unwell
  • fever
  • loss of function and mobility
  • weight loss
  • weakness

What You Need To Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which the immune system attacks the tissues in the joints.
  • The pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis can develop and worsen over several weeks or a few months.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the synovial membrane that encases and protects the joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis often targets several joints at one time. Small and large joints are affected on both sides of the body, for example both hands and both wrists.
  • It is an autoimmune condition.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age.
  • Joint pain isn’t the first sign of rheumatoid arthritis. It may also begin with ‘’flu-like’’ symptoms such as fatigue, fever, weakness and minor joint aches.
  • People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will experience unusual stiffness in the morning that lasts longer than an hour. They will also notice regular feelings of fatigue and general sense of wellness.

Also Read: Difference Between Diarrhea And Dysentery

Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON OSTEOARTHRITIS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Description Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage (tissue in your joints that cushions the bones) wears away. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which the immune system attacks the tissues in the joints.  
Development Osteoarthritis tends to develop gradually over several years, as the joint cartilage wears away.   Rheumatoid arthritis can develop and worsen over several weeks or a few months.  
Tissue Under Attack Osteoarthritis attacks the smooth cartilage joint tissue.   Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the synovial membrane that encases and protects the joints.  
Nature It is primarily a degenerative joint condition.   It is an autoimmune condition.  
Prevalence Osteoarthritis is more prevalent in older adults.   Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age.  
First Noticeable Symptom Joint pain or inflammation is commonly the first sign of osteoarthritis.   It can begin with ‘’flu-like’’ symptoms such as fatigue, fever, weakness and minor joint aches.
Nature Of Symptoms People suffering from osteoarthritis will experience a short-lived stiffness in the morning but returns after inactivity or later in the day. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will experience unusual stiffness in the morning that lasts longer than an hour.
Symptom Progression The symptoms typically start on one side of the body and may or may not spread.   Rheumatoid arthritis often targets several joints at one time.

Similarities

  • Both types of arthritis are more common in women than in men.
  • Both conditions are associated with joint pain.
  • They are both prevalent in older adults, but Rheumatoid arthritis can develop at any age.

References

  1. Arthritis Foundation. Osteoarthritis. arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/ Accessed June 10, 2016.
  2.  American College of Rheumatology. Prevalence statistics. rheumatology.org/Learning-Center/Statistics/Prevalence-Statistics. Accessed June 10, 2016.
  3. Ruffing V, Bingham CO III. Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms. hopkinsarthritis.org/arthritis-info/rheumatoid-arthritis/ra-symptoms/ Updated January 13, 2016. Accessed June 11, 2016.
  4. Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid arthritis. arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/ Accessed June 10, 2016.
  5. Singh JA, Saag KG, Bridges L JR, et al. 2015 American College of Rheumatology guideline for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2016 Jan;68(1):1-25. doi: 10.1002/acr.22783. Epub 2015 Nov 6.
  6. Yu SP, Hunter DJ. Managing osteoarthritis. Aust Prescr. 2015;38(4):115-119. doi:10.18773/austprescr.2015.039.