We have all come across a frequently used terminology for joint pains called Arthritis. It has been so common these days that more often than not in old age, one gives-in to this condition. Arthritis is swelling-up of one or more joints that cause immense pain which aggravates with age. The causes can be plenty; be it infections, underlying diseases, etc., but what matters is how it can be avoided or at least be curbed to an extent. There are 02 types of Arthritis that cause pain in the joints namely, Osteoarthritis (OA) & Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
How to tell the difference between Osteoarthritis (OA) & Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Although both forms of arthritis affect the joints, OA is a degenerative joint condition, whereas RA is an autoimmune condition. OA happens to be the most common form of arthritis, where the breakdown of cartilage takes place which further exposes small nerves and hence causes pain. In RA, the body attacks itself. It is a condition where the immune system attacks the membrane linings that surround the joints.
Traits of OA & RA
There are many similarities between both the forms, such as painful & stiff joints, limited motion range, a feeling of warmth & tenderness in the area affected. All these signs are a bit swelled up during the morning hours. That said, there are a certain set of symptoms that are exclusive to each condition. In the case of OA, one may go through stiffness in the joints, soreness, and aching pain. The loss of flexibility of the joints is also experienced in it. Under RA, one might witness a low fever in Children, muscle ache, and also excessive fatigue. Many people suffering from RA don’t experience symptoms that involve joint pain at all. This form of arthritis may affect non-joint structures like skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, etc.
What Causes Them To Happen
OA comes into the picture when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in joints deteriorates. Cartilage being a slippery tissue helps in frictionless joint motion, but when it runs down completely, the bone gets rubbed on the bone. On the other hand, in RA the immune system attacks the synovium- the lining of membranes that encapsulates the joints. The inflammation thickens the synovium that in-turn affects the cartilage within the joint.
In OA, Physicians may recommend X-Rays that may show the cartilage loss. In more complex cases, one might opt for MRI’s for a detailed image of bone and the soft tissue. Blood Test & Joint Fluid Test can also be considered in OA. RA is usually difficult to get diagnosed in the early stages. One can mostly check if the joints have some swelling, redness, and warmth.
OA & RA cannot be completely eradicated, but with the help of proper medication, one can reduce the pain. Physical or occupational therapy and even injectable or surgeries can do wonders in both. The kind of medication recommended may depend on the severity and the duration one has been having them.