While Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis may seem like the same thing to a layman, they’re actually quite different. The confusion stems from the fact that they share common characteristics, however, if you explore the condition further, there are some stark differences between these two most common types of arthritis. Let’s have a look at the most common differences between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.
One of the biggest differences between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis is the age group of the people that these occur in. Rheumatoid Arthritis can begin at any age while Osteoarthritis happens in the later stages of life.
2. Onset Speed
It’s not just about the age, it is also about how fast these set in. Rheumatoid Arthritis has a relatively rapid onset speed. The average period is anywhere between several weeks to several months. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is much slower. Osteoarthritis takes several years to occur and the onset speed is quite slow.
If there’s a major thing that’s common between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis is that both affect the joints. That being said, the symptoms are completely different from each other. If someone is suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, they’ll experience swollen joints. They’ll also experience stiff and painful joints. When it comes to Osteoarthritis, while patients do suffer from joint ache, it’s not nearly as severe as Rheumatoid Arthritis and there’s either little or no swelling.
4. Pattern Of The Joints
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects both sides of the body. It also affects both small and large joints such as both hands, both wrists or elbows, or the balls of both feet.
The symptoms of Osteoarthritis start showing up in just one side of the body and then eventually spread to the other side. Symptoms begin gradually and are limited to one set of joints, usually the finger joints closest to the fingernails or the thumbs, large weight-bearing joints (hips, knees), or the spine.
5. Morning Stiffness
Morning stiffness is a common symptom between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis, however, the difference lies in the intensity. In Rheumatoid arthritis, morning stiffness lasts longer than one hour while in Osteoarthritis, it lasts less than an hour but tends to come back later in the day or after periods of activity.
6. Whole-Body Symptoms
For people suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, frequent fatigue and a general feeling of being ill are present while there are no whole-body illnesses or symptoms in Osteoarthritis.