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Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis


  • Published: 2009-05-31 (Revised/Updated 2010-07-02) : Author: Vijay K Raisinghani
  • Synopsis: Osteoarthritis often accompanies aging and rheumatoid arthritis can occur in any age group and is also found in children and adults.

What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis? What are their special precautions and natural treatments

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have got some similarities as well as differences. Their exact causes are not known. While osteoarthritis often accompanies aging, rheumatoid arthritis can occur in any age group and is also found in children and adults.

Osteoarthritis can be commonly found in people around the age group of 60. The intensity of pain and degree of the problem varies according to their lifestyle. Rheumatoid arthritis might develop at any age, although during remission period, there might be a complete lack of symptoms of pain.

Broadly speaking, these are the major signs of difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:

1) Pain is a common characteristic in both forms of arthritis. It is also one of the major distinguishing factors which doctors use for diagnosis and to identify the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In osteoarthritis, the pain might occur in only one joint, for example in the right knee. On the other hand, in rheumatoid arthritis the pain is generally found occurring on the joints on both sides of the body. For example, there might be pain in both knees.

2) "Wear and tear" of the cartilage cushions is the primary reason for osteoarthritis. The cartilage cushions act as shock absorbers that prevent the bones of the joint from rubbing together. When this cartilage is damaged due to overuse or injury, it causes osteoarthritis and leads to inflammation and swelling in the joints.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the pain and inflammation in the joints take place well before any damage occurs in the cartilage cushions. In fact, frequent occurrence of chronic inflammation causes damage to the cartilage and intense pain.

3) Factors that might lead to the occurrence of osteoarthritis are - obesity, joint injury, overuse of joints and heredity. On the other hand, obesity might aggravate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but it does not play any role in developing of that condition in the first place.

4) One of the major difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is that osteoarthritis affects only the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis can also affect many other parts in the body.

5) What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in terms of treatment? In rheumatoid arthritis, drugs that suppress immune system activity are often prescribed; whereas they are not required in osteoarthritis. However, anti-inflammatory drugs are common mode of treatment in both forms of arthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in the diet by using fish oil supplements is one of the best, most effective and natural ways of treating the symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

They are also free of the potential side effects that most of the description based anti-inflammatory drugs suffer from. On the contrary, they provide a lot of health benefits such as improvement in brain health, cardiovascular health, digestive system, memory and concentration, skin health, joints and much more.

Green lipped mussel found in New Zealand is also another excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It plays an effective role in reducing pain and joint stiffness, increasing grip strength and enhancing mobility in people suffering from osteoarthritis. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and is used in combination with fish oil supplements to provide effective long-term relief in arthritis symptoms.

However, if you are using blood thinner medications such as aspirin on medical prescription, then you should consult your doctor before including omega-3 supplements or fish oil supplements for arthritis relief as they are natural blood thinners. This is to ensure that you do not take too many blood thinners as it could lead to potential side effects.

Reference: Vijay K Raisinghani is a Natural Healthcare Expert and a passionate advocate of Omega 3 Fish oils for a healthy mind and body. His website www.your-omega3-fish-oil-guide.com provides a wealth of information on what works and what doesn't work in Omega 3 fish oils to achieve a young, vibrant and robust health.

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