Rheumatoid vs Osteoarthritis: What’s the Difference?

Osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are both forms of inflammation of the joints but they are actually very different types of a broader condition called arthritis. There are many forms of arthritis, including gout, but RA and OA are two of the most common, affecting a combined 32 million people in the United States alone. Despite their similarities, the diseases have different causes and symptoms that can vary quite a bit in spite of some overlap.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

OA is a degenerative joint disease affecting the cartilage. Also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, it’s caused by a breakdown in cartilage of the joints that leads to pain and inflammation as bone rubs against bone without the protective cushion of the cartilage. OA may begin in a single joint and get progressively worse. This disease is most common among older adults with 70% of people over 70 showing some evidence of OA. It’s the most common form of arthritis.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis also affects the joints but it’s considered an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the lining of the joint and sometimes organs as well. As an autoimmune disorder, RA happens when the body believes the soft lining of the joints is a threat and attacks it much like it would a virus. RA usually affects multiple joints in the body and an estimated 75% of people with RA are women. Unlike OA, which usually occurs in older people over 65, rheumatoid arthritis is usually diagnosed between 30 and 60. There is no known cause of RA.

Symptoms of RA vs OA

Both RA and OA cause joint pain although the type, duration, and even location of the pain can vary. As a general rule, osteoarthritis causes pain in an affected joint after repeated activity or use. It usually causes stiffness in the joints in the morning for 30 minutes or less with pain that worsens later in the day. After inactivity, the joints may become stiff or swollen. A hallmark of OA is the development of bone spurs, enlargements called Heberden’s or Bouchard’s nodes, and reduced range of motion.

Rheumatoid arthritis also causes joint swelling, pain, and stiffness. There may be warmth and redness around the joint as well as reduced range of motion. RA also causes morning joint stiffness but it usually lasts for more than 60 minutes. A hallmark of RA is symmetrical joint involvement. While OA may affect one knee, for example, RA would affect both.

Osteoarthritis usually affects weight-bearing joints like the knees, hip, and back along with smaller joints in the fingers. Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects joint pairs, usually smaller joints like the ankles or small joints in the hands and feet.

 

Originally posted at MichaAbelesMD.net

These 3 Shoes May Be Contributing to Your Osteoarthritis

If you find your feet and calves are in pain after a long day at work, you may just shrug it off to spending too many hours standing. However, your feet and calves may be trying to tell you something — because that pain could be a sign of osteoarthritis. If you have the following three shoes in your closet, you may want to visit your doctor to check if you have osteoarthritis, because these shoes have been shown to contribute to the degenerative condition.

High Heels

Formally defined as any shoe higher than two inches, podiatrists and osteoarthritis experts agree that not only are these shoes bad for people with arthritis, but for anyone in general. “They’re hard on the arch and ball of the foot and can wear down joints,” says Bryan West, a podiatric surgeon based in Michigan.

Even more bad news for women who love their high heels, these shoes have actually shown to cause osteoarthritis. A study from a group of Stanford University scientists suggests that the strain of wearing high-heels of at least three-and-a-half inches can prematurely age knee joints and could contribute osteoarthritis.

Moral of the story — it’s best to leave those high heels on the sale rack and find a more comfortable shoe.

To see which other shoes can contribute to your osteoarthritis, check out Micha Abeles’ blog here.

Running is Good for Your Joints

According to a new scientific review from the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, researchers discovered that moderate levels of recreational running may support healthy knee and hip joints, reports an article from Time Magazine.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis that combined data from 17 previous studies about recreational running and its effects on hip or knee arthritis, otherwise known as osteoarthritis (a.k.a., degenerative joint disease, or “wear-and-tear” arthritis). With a total of 114,829 people studied, the researchers found that only 3.5 percent of recreational runners developed osteoarthritis during their period of study. In addition, the researchers found that those who were not recreational runners had a 10.2 percent chance of developing osteoarthritis. This means that people who ran moderately had a lower chance of developing osteoarthritis than people who did not run at all.

In addition, a 2016 study conducted by Matt Seeley, Ph.D, associate professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University, found that running for 30 minutes reduced inflammatory proteins around the knee joint. He states that “running at a recreational level can be safely recommended as a general health exercise, with the evidence suggesting that it has benefits for hip and knee joint health.”

So, what does this mean for people with, or are susceptible to, osteoarthritis? To find out more, check out Micha Abeles’ website here.

About the Decision not to Take Osteoporosis Medications

Multiple factors contribute to the decision not to take osteoporosis medications, with fear of adverse events topping the list, say researchers in a paper published online in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association.

In the study, researchers collected information about 790 participants in the Patient Activation After DXA Result Notification study who had received prescriptions for new or different osteoporosis medications after a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan. Participants were interviewed at baseline and 12 and 52 weeks after their DXA scans, and researchers collected information such as patient demographics, health history, health habits, prior osteoporosis diagnosis or treatment, osteoporosis knowledge using the “Osteoporosis and You” scale, osteoporosis health beliefs, and osteoporosis self-efficacy.

Read the rest of this blog on Micha Abeles’ website here.