According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 46 million Americans have some type of arthritis or related condition. Women make up more than 60 percent of all arthritis cases.
Arthritis affects the connective tissues, joints and other surrounding tissues. The symptoms include swelling, tenderness, as well as severe to mild pain.
The Arthritis Foundation states, “the term 'arthritis' encompasses more than 100 diseases.” Two of those arthritis diseases are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
One of the most common forms of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis may also be known as OA or degenerative joint disease. More than 16 million U.S. women suffer from OA. Most OA patients are over the age of 40.
OA causes damage to cartilage and bones, initiating joint pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), OA “is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, which is the connective tissue that cushions the ends of bones within the joint.”
It is important to note that OA is most common in weight-bearing joints and the hands.
Rheumatoid arthritis, which is also known as RA, affects more than 1.3 million people annually between 25-50 years of age. RA strikes women 2.5 times more often than men.
One main difference between OA and RA is that RA is a systemic disease.
Arthritis Today states, RA is “an abnormality in the body's immune system causes it to work improperly, leading to inflammation in the lining of the joints and other internal organs.”
Over time, inflammation can lead to limited movement, pain and deterioration of your joints.
The bottom line is RA can affect the whole body while OA only affects your joints.
In an interview with ABC News, Eric Ruderman, M.D., Associate Professor of Rheumatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, clearly stated one example perfect example of the difference between RA and OA.