Monday, 23 January 2012
Author - Wagner
Confused about Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis and their symptoms? Let us explain the difference between the two.
Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are both chronic (long term) conditions that can cause painful, inflamed joints. The two conditions have very different causes, but many of the symptoms are the same as they develop.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic biomechanical (structural) joint condition. It is caused by wear and tear on the cartilage tissue that provides cushioning between the joints. Osteoarthritis is often related to, but not caused by, aging. Young people do not usually suffer from this: it is most often a condition of the elderly. However, serious trauma due to sport injury or an accident can cause Osteoarthritis in the young.
Osteoarthritis causes a loss of water and proteoglycans (long chains of protein and carbohydrate molecules that give cartilage structure) from joint tissue. This loss can have several effects:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the joints. “Autoimmune” means the condition is caused by an overactive immune system that mistakes parts of the body as an ‘enemy’, and proceeds to attack healthy tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects joints and surrounding tissue, but it can affect organs too. Unlike Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at all ages – for example, children can have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The over active immune response that causes Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause many things to happen:
Rheumatoid arthritis most often affects the hands, wrists, ankles and feet.