Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, which affects 26.9 million people and accounts for more disabilities than any other chronic condition, including heart disease, diabetes, and back or spinal problems.
In this article, we will consider osteoarthritis, and how osteoarthritis differs from rheumatoid arthritis.

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis differs from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in several important ways:

  • The difference in symptoms. The most noticeable symptoms of RA are inflammation and swelling of the joints. However, with osteoarthritis, inflammation and swelling occur less frequently.
  • The difference in age of onset. RA usually begins in people between the ages of 25 and 50, but can also affect children. In contrast, osteoarthritis usually begins after age 40 and almost never affects children.
  • The difference in the affected joints. Rheumatoid arthritis affects mostly joints, especially knees, elbows, shoulders, wrists, and fingers. Osteoarthritis usually affects the supporting joints, such as the hips, knees, ankles, and spine.

Who is at risk for developing osteoarthritis

An osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that occurs with age or due to trauma or joint injury. When osteoarthritis occurs without visible articular trauma or without another explanation, it is called primary osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis associated with trauma is called secondary osteoarthritis. Many professional athletes who have injuries during their careers usually develop secondary osteoarthritis.

There are some risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. These include age older than 45 years, a history of joint trauma or repeated joint stress, female gender (women often develop osteoarthritis), having a parent or parents with osteoarthritis, and being overweight.

Osteoarthritis Risk Factors

  • Age over 45 years. As you age, the structures of cartilage and joints tend to deteriorate.
  • Degradation is not inevitable with increasing age.
  • Female. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, 3 times more often than men.
  • This may be related to hormonal differences or the size of joints and related structures.
  • A history of joint trauma or re-stress. Accidental joint damage due to sports or from falling may increase the risk of osteoarthritis
  • Repeated stress on your joints, for example, what the baseball player is going through, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Parent story. If your parent or parents had osteoarthritis, you may have the same genetic susceptibility to the disease.
  • One study found that genes account for about half the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hip joint.
  • Overweight. Being overweight can increase pressure on your joints and related structures and increase your risk of osteoarthritis.

What is the cause of osteoarthritis

Like rheumatoid arthritis, the exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. However, there is some consensus that osteoarthritis occurs due to wear of joints and associated structures that occur over time so that the body could not repair this damage. What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? Unlike RA, where inflammation caused by an autoimmune response is the main engine of the disease, with osteoarthritis, inflammation appears to be secondary to the irritation that occurs when the joint degenerates.

As the body ages, articular cartilage can lose fluid and become brittle. This leads to cracking and cartilage deterioration. Cartilage serves as a kind of shock absorber inside the joints, preventing the tips of the bones from rubbing against each other while absorbing the effects of movement. When cartilage worsens, bone and joint damage can occur, leading to symptoms of osteoarthritis, including pain, stiffness, and loss of movement.

To understand osteoarthritis, it helps to understand the composition of cartilage and how it works. Healthy cartilage is truly an amazing substance that is smooth and tough. This is important for proper and painless joint work and movement. Cartilage consists mainly of water (up to 80% water).

The water in the cartilage allows it to absorb and soften the ends of the bones and lubricate the joints. Cartilage also consists of collagen, a kind of protein that makes up our connective tissues. Collagen has a mesh structure. It has elasticity, which helps it absorb shock and shock while moving. At the microscopic level, the mesh structure of collagen is occupied by proteoglycans, a kind of protein that can absorb and release water in response to pressure changes. Proteoglycans inside the cartilage allow it to form into the space inside the joint and respond to pressure changes that occur when the joints and bones move. Finally, cartilage contains cells called chondrocytes, which are responsible for repairing and maintaining cartilage.

It is not clear exactly why cartilage worsens with primary osteoarthritis, which may be due to a loss of balance between the disorder and the replacement of collagen and proteoglycans. For some reason, chondrocytes can produce too many chemicals that destroy collagen and proteoglycans. And there are not enough chemicals that replace these proteins or reverse chondrocytes can overproduce chemicals that replace collagen and proteoglycans, which leads to “flooding” of the joint with fluid and a net loss of chondrocytes.

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis usually affects the neck, lower back, hips, knees, fingertips, and the base of the thumbs. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint pain, tenderness, and swelling.
  • Joint stiffness resulting in loss of motion.
  • Heat around the joint.
  • Cracks, popping or crisp sound in joints.
  • Bone cones or growths on the fingers.

How is osteoarthritis treated

Treatment for osteoarthritis includes both prescription and over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain and inflammation. These include acetaminophen for pain relief (these drugs do not provide swelling relief). And non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Management of osteoarthritis should also include exercises to increase flexibility, endurance, and strength. Exercise is an important part of maintaining healthy joint function, so even if you have significant pain in osteoarthritis, you should exercise a specific exercise program. Before starting your workout, consult your doctor to find out which exercises are right for you. What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, see above.

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