6 unconnected characteristics of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
1. Osteoarthritis is more common
A publication in the US Library of Medicine UU He explains that osteoarthritis is "the most common common disorder in the United States." How common? Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs in 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women aged 60 or older, according to the source. This number is expected to increase as the population ages and obesity increases, he adds.
Meanwhile, other sources point out that rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1 percent of the US population. UU., But unlike osteoarthritis, people of any age can get it. While osteoarthritis is a little more common in women, the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis is up to 3 times higher among women compared to men, according to WebMD.
2. The cause is different
Osteoarthritis usually begins later in life because it is the result of joint wear and tear, according to WebMD. Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body's own defenses attack the joints and cause problems.
To diagnose osteoarthritis, a doctor will collect your medical history and inspect the location of the pain. Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis may be more difficult to diagnose in the early stages, since there is "no blood test or physical finding to confirm the diagnosis," notes the Mayo Clinic. However, although blood tests are generally not useful for detecting osteoarthritis, a patient with rheumatoid arthritis may have specific markers in the blood that point to inflammation in the body, he adds.
3. Osteoarthritis gets on you
You may not even notice that your joints wear out from wear until you actually feel pain – that's why it can be years before osteoarthritis sets in, or at least triggering a diagnosis.
Meanwhile, rheumatoid arthritis tends to move more quickly (from weeks to months) according to WebMD. However, as noted above, it may take some time to identify the disease and is sometimes confused with diseases that have similar early symptoms.
4. Osteoarthritis is more localized
People with osteoarthritis are more likely to experience pain in a specific part of the body, for example, a left knee with chronic pain. Meanwhile, people with rheumatoid arthritis may have symptoms throughout the body, as it is a systemic disease, says Healthline.com.
That said, rheumatoid arthritis will have symmetrical symptoms, for example, both hands will be sore. It can also present other symptoms outside of joint pain that include low fever, muscle aches and excessive fatigue, the source adds.
5. Rheumatoid arthritis may carry more health risks
Arthritis Research UK notes that a study of a "large group" of people with rheumatoid arthritis determined that 5 percent "will develop a serious disease with extensive disability."
Apart from that, the source explains that people with this type of arthritis are at a slightly higher risk of stroke or heart attack. People with rheumatoid arthritis can spend long periods of time between "outbreaks", although damage can still occur during these times, according to the source.
6. The treatment approach is different
Because the underlying causes are different for both diseases, doctors must treat the treatment differently. While some of the same medications, such as corticosteroids, can help reduce pain in both types, medications that suppress the immune system are usually prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis and thus prevent further damage.
A recent article in MedicineNet explains that the sooner the rheumatoid version is treated, the better the patient will go with time. "Patients who were treated within six months of developing the first signs of autoimmune disease improved in the long term and were less likely to die prematurely," he explains.
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