Most common type or arthritis is osteoarthritis which usually comes with age. In this article we are talking also about rheumatoid arthritis because these 2 get mixed up very often.
As said osteoarthritis comes mainly with age and is caused mainly by wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis is something what pretty much anyone can have, even children, and is a serious autoimmune disease. It is extremely rare that a young person would have osteoarthritis, that’s unless they have had some serious sports injury or a car accident. Osteoarthritis is mainly over 60-s illness, but RA’s average onset is between 30 and 50 years.
In the US around 50m people have arthritis, of which half are over 65 years old. From that 27 million people have osteoarthritis and “only” 1.3 million have rheumatoid arthritis.
So what are the main differences between these 2 types of arthritis?
Joint pain – both those illnesses affect ones joints, but in a very different manner. RA usually attacks smaller joints first starting from toes and wrists, and on both sides if your body affecting even as many as 30 different joints. Osteoarthritis on the other hand affects larger weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips first and might not necessarily affect both sides of the body.
Joint deformities – These are more common if you have RA and can end up with joint erosion and displacement. It is not unusual that hands can become severely deformed, especially fingers as they can appear as pulled out on the side. OA patients are more likely to get painful spurs or bony lumps in their fingers, ankles, hips, elbows, knees or shoulders. Patients with either illness may need a joint replacement surgery.
Gender – Only 25% of RA sufferers are men, the rest are women. And unfortunately for women they are more likely to experience more pain and more severe problems due to the illness. OA is split pretty evenly though between male and female patients, although men are more likely to develop OA earlier than women.