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Osteoarthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis

Published On: Apr 10 2013 11:14:18 AM CDT   Updated On: May 06 2013 08:56:51 AM CDT
Elderly hands

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration of cartilage and the bone in a joint. These tissues break down and eventually can lead to joint pain and stiffness. This is the most common form of arthritis.

The CDC says the joints typically affected by osteoarthritis are in the knees, hips, hands and spine.

Osteoarthritis usually begins slowly and typically starts the age of 40. However, the Mayo Clinic says a person may experience a sudden onset of osteoarthritis following an injury.

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, medications, physical therapy, weight control and education can help relieve some of its symptoms, the CDC states.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that attacks the joints. If the disease progresses, it can eventually destroy cartilage and bone in a joint, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to the CDC, while rheumatoid arthritis mainly attacks the joints it can also attack other organs.

Rheumatoid arthritis can begin at any age. According to the CDC, it is believed rheumatoid arthritis is the result of an error in a person’s immune response.

Some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include fatigue and stiffness after rest, according to the CDC.

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but medications, surgery, weight management and exercise can help ease the symptoms.

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