Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. OsteoporosisIf you suffer from arthritis you may be wondering whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Both conditions can cause extreme stiffness and pain but understanding what condition you have will allow you to get better treatment and control your condition.
What is Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a body immune disorder which allows your bodys immune system to attach the healthy tissue in your joints, leading to stiffness, pain and swollen joints over time. Osteoarthritis is more common than rheumatoid arthritis and is caused not by your bodys autoimmune system, but rather mechanical wear and tear on joints.
So how you determine which condition you might have? First, osteoarthritis generally begins later in life after your joints begin to deteriorate and can take years to develop. Rheumatoid arthritis can start at any age and progress rapidly over just a few short weeks or months.
Next, osteoarthritis will cause joint aches and pains, but there is generally little swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis, however, generally causes swollen, stiff and painful joints. It will also affect both sides of the body, such as both hands and feet.
Osteoarthritis will also generally dissipate after the individual gets up and moves around, returning at the end of the day when they are tired. Rheumatoid arthritis, however, can last for the duration of the day, and the individual will feel full body fatigue.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, patients can generally take some type of pain reliever to alleviate the pain, combined with other treatments to improve function and strength, including physical therapy. In some more severe cases medical specialists may suggest surgery.
Maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active are two of the most important things you can do to alleviate the weak joints and stiffness. For example, even if you lose just one pound this will take an estimated four pounds of pressure off your joints.
Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you are one of the more than 1.5 million people in the United States who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) you may also be looking for ways to control and treat this disease. Unfortunately, the symptoms may not be the same every day and can vary in severity. For instance, you might be fine for days and then suddenly you have a flare up which can last for days or months causing pain, fatigue and warm, swollen, reddish joints. As with osteoarthritis, there is no cure, but there are medications which you can take which might provide some relief for the symptoms and inflammation.
As mentioned above, the goal for treatment is not a cure but may treatments which allow you to keep your condition in remission where you experience few symptoms. First, you will need to see a rheumatologist who is a specialty doctor who treats people with arthritis. They will be the best person to help you monitor and control your condition.
As with all types of arthritis, physical activity can be critical to keeping your joints flexible. Stay strong, eat right, manage your weight and you will feel better.
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