Rheumatoid Arthritis VS Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis VS Osteoarthritis

In this article, we will discuss Rheumatoid Arthritis VS Osteoarthritis. Therefore if you want to understand them better then we should start with each one of them one by one. There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis and other related diseases. There are two most well-known types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, osteoarthritis is more common than rheumatoid arthritis.

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis involve inflammation in the joints, but the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis is much greater. Until recently, healthcare professionals believed that inflammation was not present in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis share some symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect multiple joints in a subtype called polyarticular arthritis, and it tends to affect the body symmetrically. The problem of osteoarthritis normally affects some joints and typically this occurs on particularly one side of the body. Osteoarthritis problem leads to develops continuously over many years.

As the joint cartilage fades away, and ultimately, the bones of your joints may grind against each other. In opposition, the stiffness and pain of rheumatoid arthritis problem can develop and even worsen over numerous weeks or some months. In a few cases, the problem of joint pain is not the very first sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

This problem can also start with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, minor joint aches, and weakness. Here we will take a look at the differences and similarities between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, it includes their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a combination of words where Rheumatoid means Musculaskeletral illness, And Arthritis means Joint Inflammation. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder the mostly affects the joints but also involves other open systems like skin and lungs as well.

It is the second most type of arthritis the joint most commonly affected, wrist hand knees ankles, and feet it typically occurs on the same joint on both sides of the body. This problem can also affect some other organs of an individual’s body such as the eyes, heart, skin, lungs, nervous system, kidney, and digestive tract.

Typically a healthy joint has basically two bones, both are covered with Articular cartilage at the end, it is a type of connective tissue, this is a lubricated surface hence the end of bones can slide very smoothly. Basically, the Rheumatoid Arthritis problem is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body can attack itself just by mistake.

In Rheumatoid Arthritis the immune system attacks joints and organ tissues. The WBC of the immune system moves into the joint and they release a chemical called Cytokines Which attacks the cell fo the synovial membrane.

They also cause the synodical membrane to grow new blood vessels and form a thick area called pannus. As pannus grows it invades and destroys areas of cartilages and bones inside the joint.

Inflammation causes fluid build up in the joint making joint swell eventually without treatment the joint space narrows and ankle losses can occur. This result n the loss of ability to move  in the joints

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis includes some terms which mean in itself are ostea simply means ‘Bone’ and Arthur stands for ‘joint’ and itis stands for irritation. As you all know joint includes two bones every, in the end, has Articular cartilage that’s a connective tissue that permits bones to drift on each other without friction.

In Osteoarthritis we mainly concern about one specific type of joint referred to as Synovial joint. The reason for Osteoarthritis is a continuous loss of Articular cartilages which results in that it is no more cartilage or membrane to separating bones anymore. This results in friction between them and it is a reason for infection and creates severe pain within the nerve ending.

The reason of Articular cartilage damage is that in the starting this functional liquid and other create less of proteoglycans and more of Collagen type II but sudden they start creating an exclusive form of collagen called collagen type I and in result Collagen type I does now not interact with proteoglycans in the same way as type II interacts in a result there’s a decrease in elasticity of cartilages matrix.

After which some chemical feature happens due to which membrane and fluid get less and bones to start skriking each other. And then at the edges, bone grows outward and it’s known as Osteophyte. This makes joints appear wider which you can typically see in ankle joints or finger joints.


The symptoms of the Rheumatoid Arthritis problem can arise, and also it can get worse quickly, sometimes within just a few weeks. However, the symptoms of Osteoarthritis appear more slowly, as the protective tissues in the joints gradually break down. However, Osteoarthritis stressors, such as going for a hike, may cause a sudden, severe swelling in the knee.

Both the problems Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis can easily affect any joint in the body. Osteoarthritis is most likely to affect the knees and the small finger and thumb joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis often occurs in the hands, fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and hips, and it usually occurs in the same joints on both sides of the body.

The symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis usually affect the joints on both sides of the body. For example, if Rheumatoid Arthritis affects one hand, it also affects the other hand. Osteoarthritis often only affects one side of the body. Osteoarthritis is localized, as it only affects the joint and its surrounding tissues. For this reason, Osteoarthritis typically only affects one joint, while Rheumatoid Arthritis commonly affects multiple joints.

A key difference between these forms of arthritis is that Rheumatoid Arthritis involves a range of systemic symptoms, which are symptoms that affect the entire body. Osteoarthritis is not associated with systemic symptoms, but people with the condition can develop bone spurs or other bone abnormalities. For example, Osteoarthritis in the hands can often cause small lumps to develop around the ends of the finger joints.

This problem considered a systemic condition, hence rheumatoid arthritis can affect your entire body, and also it can affect both sides of your body at the same time. For example, while osteoarthritis may impact only the right or left knee, rheumatoid arthritis could simultaneously strike both knees. In some difficult cases, the problem of rheumatoid arthritis can also affect an individual’s lungs, eyes, nerves, heart, or blood vessels. RA can raise your risk of heart disease by 50 percent.

Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms:

Some mains symptoms of the Rheumatoid Arthritis are 

  • You may feel Joint pain and Joint swelling which is quite common in Rheumatoid Arthritis
  •  Sometimes redness and warmth occurs in the joint part 
  • You can face stiffness especially when you sit for a long time or mainly wakeup in the morning.
  • You may have chest pain or breathing problem as Rheumatoid Arthritis affects Lungs too
  • In some cases, people face much difficulty in lying down as it is affecting the heart
  •  Some other symptoms you can see are tiredness, poor diet, sometimes you may feel fever, dry eyes and chest pain due to inflammation.

Osteoarthritis symptoms:

  • You can face Stiffness after a couple of times of rest,
  • pain after a little long time of inactivity, 
  • joint pain or soreness, 
  • Bone enlargement, Swelling, and some other. 


Joints contain protective tissues that prevent the bones from scraping against one another. For example, cartilage overlies the bones to allow smooth movement in the joint. Arthritis damages this protective tissue.

Both cause stiff, painful joints. Both are types of arthritis. Other than that, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis share little in common. Their differences begin with what causes them. Osteoarthritis is multifactorial. It more commonly occurs later in life, after years of mechanical wear and tears on the cartilage which lines and cushions your joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis, which can occur at most any age, is an autoimmune disease. That is, your body’s immune system attacks your joints. Here are other important things to know about the key differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The main causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis are:-

  • Age is a Big Factor in the and you can easily see this problem in 40-60 yrs persons
  • Obesity can a big reason for such illness
  • Genes, environment, smoking also adds the causing list of Rheumatoid Arthritis 


Some main reasons for Osteoarthritis are:-

  • Age always creates problems in Bones as the age grows some lack of nutrients in the body creates dysfunctions and it mainly affects bones makes bones weaker as the age grows. 
  • Gender also comes in front when we talk about Osteoarthritis. Especially females get it more frequently as compared to males. And have to especially take care in menopausal years
  • Obesity is a reason for any type of arthritis. Overweight always impacts on the bones and especially joints. And after the age of 50, you should especially take care of your body weight.
  • Lots of physical work especially when you are above 50. As you do the physical tasks your joints work a lot and can lead to dysfunction of the joint.
  • Hypermobility can also impact on joints as it puts more stress on the joints.
  • Genes or genetics also plays a role in Arthritis

Joint Stiffness

With osteoarthritis, mild joint stiffness is common in the morning and after an hour or more of inactivity during the day. As the joints start to be used and move more, even after just a few minutes, the stiffness and pain improves.

In contrast, it can take an hour or longer for the morning stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis to subside. In some cases, prolonged morning joint stiffness is the first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis

Autoimmune disorder vs. degenerative disorder

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means your body attacks itself. If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, your body interprets the soft lining around your joints as a threat, similar to a virus or bacteria, and attacks it. This attack causes fluid to accumulate within your joint. In addition to the swelling, this fluid buildup also causes pain, stiffness, inflammation around your joints.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disorder. People with Osteoarthritis experience a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions their joints. The wearing down of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other. This exposes small nerves, causing pain. Osteoarthritis does not involve an autoimmune process as Rheumatoid Arthritis does, but mild inflammation also occurs.

Risk factors

Both types of arthritis are more common in women than in men. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis are more prevalent in older adults, but Rheumatoid Arthritis can develop at any age. Rheumatoid Arthritis can run in families. You have a higher chance of developing the condition if a parent, child, or sibling has it.

You are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis if you:

  • are overweight
  • have joint deformities
  • have diabetes
  • have gout
  • have experienced traumatic injuries to your joints

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis share at least a couple of risk factors. You may be more likely to get Rheumatoid Arthritis if you have a family member who has it. The same goes for Osteoarthritis. Excess weight also seems to play a role in both diseases.

Other things that raise your risk of Osteoarthritis include Older age, Joint injury, Overuse of a joint. Deformed joints, like knocked knees or legs of different lengths. The things that make RA more likely are not as clear. Evidence suggests that being a woman, smoking, and being around dangerous chemicals like asbestos or silica may increase your risk.


Doctors diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis by performing a physical examination, taking a medical history, and carrying out various diagnostic tests.

Diagnosing these conditions can be challenging. This is because the symptoms often overlap, particularly in the early stages.

Blood tests can help diagnose or rule out Rheumatoid Arthritis, as this condition leaves certain biomarkers in the blood, such as cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody and rheumatoid factor.

They may also check for abnormal levels of the C-reactive protein antibody, which is a marker that indicates inflammation.

Doctors may also perform imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRI, and ultrasound scans, to determine the extent and location of the Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis damage.

Osteoarthritis diagnosis

While examining you to rule out other conditions, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms such as How you describe your pain burning, aching, or sharpness? Do you have morning joint stiffness? If so, how long does the stiffness last? Do your joints swell?

Your doctor will examine you for joint tenderness and swelling, as well as muscle weakness, to help determine whether you have arthritis. Your doctor may also order X-rays to check for joint damage or blood tests to see if other conditions may be causing your pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis

A timely diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is important. Permanent joint damage can start within a year of having the disease. Your doctor will conduct a physical exam to check your joints for signs of swelling or tenderness and will also ask about your symptoms and health history. Your doctor may order blood tests, X-rays, and other tests.


There is currently no cure for them, but various treatments can help a person manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and slow down the progression of the condition.

Treatment may involve using medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation can help alleviate pain and stiffness in the joints and improve their range of motion.

Doctors may also recommend steroid-based medications to reduce inflammation. For example, they may inject steroids directly into the affected joints when it is important to reduce inflammation immediately.

Healthcare professionals advise taking disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), often alongside NSAIDs or steroids and biologics, to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. DMARDs aim to suppress the immune system and reduce its damage to tissues in the joints.

Treatments for both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis will often also involve physical therapy. This helps improve a person’s mobility and keep joints flexible.

Following a healthful anti-inflammatory diet can also help. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent the need to place excess pressure on the joints. Avoid smoking cigarettes, particularly in Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

If we talk about the treatment of RA there are several drugs and Medications. Drugs are mainly used for reducing the pain and inflammation as they are fast which provides you quick relief and these are known as first-line drugs. On the other hand Medications like Biologic drugs and DMARDs helps in RA. But they take time to provide you relief but they can help you to get rid of joint damage and inflammation. 

Some common Drugs:

  • DMARDs, full form Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic drugs. These are mainly hydroxychloroquine, azathioprine, sulfasalazine, methotrexate.
  • Another kind of DMARD as biologic response modifiers. They are mainly adalimumab, abatacept, anakinra, pegol, etanercept, infliximab, golimumab, certolizumab and other
  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories) these are Advil, ketoprofen, celecoxib, naproxen sodium
  • Painkillers
  • Corticosteroids

There are also some exercises which can help you in such situations and these are very good and has relatively low-stress on joints. You can perform Bicycling, swimming, yoga, walking, slow running. But remember one thing as much as physical activity plays an important role your rest also plays an important role so keep balance your rest and exercise.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes, which must continue throughout life. Seeking treatment early can control the condition and prevent it from worsening. Many RA medicines have side effects, so regular doctor checkups are important. If your pain and joint function worsen after trying medicine, exercise, and lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend surgery, such as total joint replacement of the hip or knee.

To improve your life with rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Rest when tired.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Use splints, canes, walkers, and devices like special kitchen gadgets or doorknobs to protect your joints.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

Treatment varies from one person to the next. Osteoarthritis is not reversible, but the symptoms can be managed. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment for you. such as Heat or ice. Heat may help relax the muscles around the affected joint. Ice can relieve pain and swelling after activity or exercise. Your doctor may give you a gel or cream to help your joint pain. Weight loss, if you’re overweight. Weight loss helps reduce stress on your joints. Every pound of body weight lost takes 3-5 pounds of pressure off the lower extremity joints.

Physical Therapy:

We mainly see what people do is that when they feel pain or their body part hurts they start pretending to use them but as a result the muscles of that region get weak.  u must talk yo your physician and ask them to get the exact exercises which help your body part. Exercise makes your muscles stronger and stays flexible. Dancing, Swimming, bicycling, Yoga, slow running and some others are mainly good for OA but you should first confirm with your physician.


Medicines which are helpful in OA are NSAIDs(nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) what these mainly do is, reduce the pain and inflammation. These medicines contain aspirin, ibuprofen, Aleve. Pain reliever also helps in OA but it affects sometime after that pain and inflammation start again. You should take medicine wisely and especially with the prescription of doctors

Supportive Devices/Equipment:

The supportive device mainly reduces joint stress, improve function, mobility, and others. Some devices are Splints, crutches, or walkers. It also helps in improving walking ability.


In some cases, conditions get typical and you may need the only last option which is surgery. And it is performed quite normally and the success rate is normally too high.

Weight Loss May help

In an ideal world, we would all be at our healthiest weight. When you have Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis, reaching that health goal becomes even more important. Think of it as drug-free pain relief, not a way to look better in pants.

When you have Osteoarthritis extra weight puts extra stress on your joints, especially your knees, hips, and low back. Losing weight gives those joints some relief.

When you have Rheumatoid Arthritis. In addition to taking pressure off your joints, weight loss has other benefits. Research shows it can reduce disease activity another way of saying it slows the attack on your joints.

Diet alone may help you shed pounds, but don’t neglect gentle exercise. It can help improve your muscle strength, reduce joint pain, ease stiffness, and thus lower your disease-related disability.

Before you go on a trendy diet or join a gym, ask your doctor for advice on the best ways to approach diet and exercise when you have Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis.

Final Words

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis are chronic conditions that cause pain and stiffness in the joints. Both conditions can become worse over time without appropriate treatment. The effects of Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis on a person’s daily life range from mild to severe.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis can cause similar symptoms, but they have different causes and treatments. In many cases, Osteoarthritis is easier to treat than Rheumatoid Arthritis because it usually affects fewer joints and does not involve systemic symptoms. The progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis is more difficult to predict than that of Osteoarthritis.

With modern research and treatments, the outlook for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis has greatly improved. Doctors can usually prevent or slow down the progression of this disease with effective treatment.

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