The Differences Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Charlotte Miller

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When it comes to arthritis, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter whether you put the label rheumatoid arthritis on it or osteoarthritis on it. Either way, this affliction hurts, and you want to get relief. Well, the good news for you is that there are plenty of treatments out there that will help whatever type of arthritis you might be afflicted with. One such example would be joint and knee pain. Solid first line treatment for osteoarthritis would have to be the Joint Clinic. They are top-notch experts that can fully assist you in your knee and joint pain.

However, before you settle on an arthritis treatment provider, it would behoove you to get to know not only the differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but also the four stages of osteoarthritis as well. Consider these factors:


Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder.

First of all, RA is known as an autoimmune disorder, and this means that your body will attack itself. When you have RA, your body will mistakenly interpret the soft lining as a threat like bacteria or a virus. Thus, it will attack your joints and it will make them develop fluid in your joints. You will get such things as pain, stiffness, and joint inflammation.

On the other hand, osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent kind of arthritis. OA occurs when an individual experiences a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions and protects their joints. When the cartilage diminishes, the bones will rub against each other, exposing the nerves and causing inflammation. Mild inflammation will still occur in this form of arthritis as well.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that will often affect the entire body.

Unlike osteoarthritis, people with RA can be afflicted over their whole entire body. Their lungs, heart, and eyes can all be affected. Early symptoms of RA can include such things as excessive fatigue, low-grade fevers, and muscle aches. If you have an advanced stage of RA, there will often be hard lumps near the joints under the skin. These lumps are called rheumatoid nodules, and they often can be very tender to the touch.

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The Four Stages of Osteoarthritis

Now that osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have been fully compared, let us focus on the most common type of arthritis, which is osteoarthritis. There are four stages that you should be aware of:

Stage 0

The first stage is one where all of your joints and other areas of concern will show no damage whatsoever. Indeed, they won’t even show up on an X-ray.

Stage 1

This stage is where you will experience some small narrowing of your joint spaces with some possible bone spurs. However, at this stage, these bone spurs will often be very minor.

Stage 2

With this stage, you are unfortunately going to experience more defined bone spurs with fully reduced joint spaces.

Stage 3

In this stage, you will definitely experience some narrowing of your joint spaces (possibly as high as 50%). You will have multiple joint spurs along with some possible deformities in the contours of your bones.

Stage 4

This is the most severe stage of osteoarthritis, and you will often experience tremendous bone spurs as well as a large reduction in your joint spaces and severe deformities of your bone contours.

If you are concerned about either of these types of arthritis, then talk to a joint specialist today!