Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different causes, risk factors, and effects on the body:
· Osteoarthritis pain, stiffness, or inflammation most frequently appears in the hips, knees, and hands.
· Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the hands and wrists but can also affect areas of the body other than the joints.
Even though they have these differences, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis often share common symptoms:
· Joint pain
· Inflammation or swelling
What causes osteoarthritis?
While the exact cause of OA is unknown, joint damage can be due to repetitive movement (also known as "wear and tear"). It can also begin as the result of an injury. Either way, with OA there's erosion of the cartilage, the part of the joint that covers the ends of the bones.
· Cartilage acts as a shock absorber, allowing the joint to move smoothly.
· As cartilage breaks down, the ends of the bones thicken and the joint may lose its normal shape.
· With further cartilage breakdown, the ends of the bones may begin to rub together, causing pain.
· In addition, damaged joint tissue can cause the release of certain substances called prostaglandins, which can also contribute to the pain and swelling characteristic of the disease.
Here are some factors that may increase your risk of developing OA:
Age is the strongest risk factor for OA. Although OA can start in young adulthood, in these cases, it is often due to joint injury.
OA affects both men and women. However, before age 45, OA occurs more frequently in men; after age 45, OA is more common in women.
Joint injury or overuse caused by physical labor or sports
Traumatic injury to a joint increases your risk of developing OA in that joint. Joints that are used repeatedly in certain jobs may be more likely to develop OA because of injury or overuse.
The chances of getting OA generally increase with the amount of weight the body’s joints have to bear. The knee is particularly affected because it is a major weight-bearing joint.
People with joints that don’t move or fit together correctly, like bowlegs, dislocated hips, or double-jointedness, are more likely to develop OA in those joints.
An inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for manufacturing cartilage may be a contributing factor in developing OA.
What is Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks normal joint tissues, causing inflammation of the joint lining.
This inflammation of the joint lining (called the synovium) can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. RA is an ongoing disease, with active periods of pain and inflammation, known as flares, alternating with periods of remission, when pain and inflammation disappear.
RA can affect many different joints. In some people, it can even affect parts of the body other than the joints, including the eyes, blood, the lungs, and the heart.
What causes rheumatoid arthritis?
The exact causes of RA are unknown. But research has shown that several factors may contribute to the development of RA:
· Genetic. Certain genes play a role in the immune system — for some people, genetic factors may be involved in determining whether they will develop RA.
· Environmental. In people who have inherited a genetic tendency for the disease, RA can be triggered by an infection. However, RA is not contagious — you can't "catch it" from anyone.