There are several different forms of arthritis. You have probably heard of both osteoarthritis(OA) and rheumatoid arthritis(RA) at some point. While they are both chronic diseases with similar names, they differ greatly when it comes to symptoms, causes, and diagnoses. So, how do we distinguish between the two?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease commonly known as the ‘wear-and-tear arthritis.’ The cartilage that acts as cushions between joints is worn away over time leading to pain and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joints. RA can occur at any time, while OA typically shows up later in life.
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness typically on weight-bearing joints like hips and knees. Most people will notice symptoms in one side of the body before the other side. Pain is typically worse in the morning or after periods of strenuous activity. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include fever, loss of energy, and extreme fatigue. Swelling in smaller joints like those in the fingers, hands, and feet are common. Both sides of the body are typically affected similarly, for example both hands or both feet.
Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 27 million people in the United States, while 1.3 million suffer from RA. Both conditions currently have no cure, but research studies may help to ease symptoms and improve quality of life. If you or someone you love is looking for new treatment options when it comes to managing symptoms associated with OA or RA, studies are enrolling now. Qualified participants have access to potential new medications, and receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff. Those that qualify may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, learn more about these exciting research opportunities by clicking HERE.