This is the second part of the series where we look into the main differences between those 2 types of arthritis. So without further ado lets carry on.
Medications – Osteoarthritis patients are usually treated with 2 types of drugs to lessen the pain – steroid injections straight into the joint and oral drugs like naproxen and ibuprofen.
All the same drugs go with rheumatoid arthritis too but they need also stronger oral steroids what can have side effects as bone thinning or cause infections. Additionally RA sufferers are prescribed DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) which are very effective, are used in chemotherapy for cancer patients.
Triggers – The exact cause of RA or OA in each individual case is often unclear. In case of osteoarthritis it can be a combination of genetics, age, obesity, joint overuse or injury, muscle weakness or hormones. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder which can be triggered by bacterial infections, hormones, genetics or even smoking.
Symptoms in the morning – Main difference between RA and OA pain in the morning is the duration of stiff joints. Patients with OA can have stiff joints in the morning for half an hour or so and then it can go away but patients with RA can feel the stiffness for several hours.
Longevity – Osteoarthritis sufferers are not expected to have any impact on longevity except that they are probably going to be less active due to the illness.
Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand can,but not necessarily will, shorten ones lifespan by about 3 years. It is because of a higher risk of heart disease what can be treated though. Latest treatments target inflammation and the misguided immune response can help. People with the early diagnosis of RA can be treated pretty successfully so the illness is controlled so those patients can carry on with their lives.
We hope these 2 posts have clarified and helped you to differentiate between those 2 very serious illnesses. Even though most people think that OA and RA are the same we have seen that this is not true.