Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) are the two common types of arthritis; the latter is the more common one. They cause joint pain and stiffness due to damage to joints. That said, they are caused by different reasons, and hence their treatments differ. Joint inflammation is a symptom common to these conditions, but in RA it is more severe. Also, you must know that until recently, healthcare professionals assumed that there was no inflammation in OA. In this article, we will explore in detail the difference between rheumatology arthritisand osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Osteoarthritis
The main difference between RA and OA are their causes and the extent to which they affect your body. For example, a subtype of rheumatology arthritisc alled polyarticular arthritis affects multiple joints; typically, it affects the body symmetrically. On the contrary, OA tends to affect only a side of the body and that too fewer joints.
The Causes Of RA And OA
The joint damage in RA and OA is due to the degeneration of cartilage, which is the soft protective tissue that prevents the rubbing together of bones in joints.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
This type of arthritis is caused due to autoimmunity. The person’s immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues in the joints. This happens when it fails to distinguish between self and non-self, and as a result, it produces the antinuclear antibodies (ANA). Moreover, RA along with other rheumatology diseases are caused due to both genetic and environmental factors.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage in the joints due to wear and tear. This usually happens from the repetitive movements that put pressure on the joints like in sports. As a result of this, the bones begin to rub against each other, damaging them.
Symptoms Common To RA And OA
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Limited mobility of affected joints
- Swelling, which is more pronounced in RA
- The symptoms are more pronounced in the morning
The symptoms of RA develop and worsen quickly over a short period because of its autoimmune nature whereas OA symptoms appear slowly as the cartilage in the joints disintegrates gradually.
Any joint in the body can be affected by RA, and it usually affects fingers, hands, elbows, hips, knees, and feet. In the initial stages, smaller joints are affected by it. OA typically affects the small fingers, thumbs, and knees because these are the joints that are used more repetitively.