Learning about Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Pain is a frustrating thing to deal with, especially if you don’t know why it’s happening. Arthritis is a common type of pain that afflicts humans of all ages. The most common type of arthritis is Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis but there are actually over 100 different types of arthritis. Almost 300,000 babies and children have arthritis or a rheumatic condition and about 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 31 million Americans.

arthritis pain can be treated by orthopedic doctor
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are painful to live with and can alter your quality of life dramatically.

What’s the difference you may ask? There are quite a few differences in symptoms and treatment plans for Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We’ll be explaining these basic  differences in symptoms in this blog post.


Who Gets Arthritis?

Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is more common in women (26 percent) than in men (18 percent). In some types, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, women far outnumber men. However, Arthritis is much more common among people who have other chronic conditions:

  • 49 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.
  • 47 percent of adults with diabetes have arthritis.
  • 31 percent of adults who are obese have arthritis

Why Do I Have Pain?

RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder. It occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. OA is caused from old age or over-use.

Osteoarthritis affects construction workers, those of old-age, and many sports players.
Those who do hard labor often see symptoms of Osteoarthritis at a younger age due to the weight, pressure, and constant wear-and-tear their bodies go-through on a daily-basis.

Those with RA typically feel more pain in the morning. The onset can be random compared to OA, which typically worsens over a lifetime. Those with OA usually feel more pain at night. It’s important to discuss with your doctor when your pain started to occur and when it is at it’s worst.

Where Does It Hurt?

Those who have RA typically experience symmetrical pain on their body. This means that if you feel pain in your right shoulder, you will also be experiencing pain in your left shoulder. With OA, it is described as asymmetrical pain. This means that when one shoulder experiences pain, the other shoulder does not. Many athletes or workers who perform the same task over and over may experience pain in one side of their body more than the other. Often, arthritis can show up in multiple joint locations such as your knees, shoulders, and hands.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the symptoms, we recommend watching this video. However, this video does not provide medical advice and is for informational purposes only. The videos are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any Khan Academy video.

It’s important to formally diagnose your pain and learn about the treatment options right for you and your lifestyle. To make an appointment with us here at Northwest Broward Orthopedics, call 1-954-979-3255.

Dr. Bruce Fletcher, Dr. Elliott Hinkes, and our staff look forward to meeting you!



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