Know the Difference: Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoarthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Knee with rheumatoid arthritis has erosion in bone and swollen membrane around it.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a result of the immune system attacking the tissues that line the body’s joints. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints and the pain is often symmetrical. It is more common in women and in those who are middle aged, but it can happen to anyone.


Knee with ostentotrists shows loss of cartilage in lining, which causes bone ends to rub together.

Osteoarthritis happens over time. It is the most common form of arthritis, and it usually occurs in older people. The protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wear down as you age, making it difficult to move. It usually affects one side of the body. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, though it most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine.

Images: iStock

Summer 2018 Issue: Volume 14 Number 2 Page 17