February 26

​Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

To discuss osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis we need to consider the major differences between the two diseases, the causes and risk factors, and the appropriate treatments.

Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear of joints and therefore typically associated with ageing and is called a degenerative disease. Unlike RA, OA does not appear to be associated with an autoimmune response. However there are inflammatory processes, which are involved with OA progression [1].

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition which means it affects the whole body. And is defined as an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints.

​The Causes and Risk Factors

In the case of osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints, particularly the knee, hip, hands, and spine, wear away. This causes the bones to lose their cushioning. Consequently, the joint can become painful as bones begin to rub.

Sufferers will experience swelling and inflammation alongside pain, stiffness and a reduced range of motion. This can occur due to wear and tear, or as a result of an injury.

In contrast, rheumatoid arthritis can begin at any age, including young people (called Junvenile Idiopathic Arthritis). It most commonly begins between the ages of 40 and 50 years. It also has a higher incidence in women than men in a ratio of 2:1.

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually treated with medications. These range from NSAID’s and steroids through to disease modifying and biologic drugs.

Many factors can influence the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis such as the immune system, genetics, hormones, environment, gut microbiome, diet, etc. There is a hereditary component, but it’s complicated.

​Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating disease and is associated with a high personal and socioeconomic burden. There is currently no therapy that effectively arrests structural deterioration of bone and cartilage or is able to successfully reverse any of the existing structural defects. 

In terms of drug treatments, NSAIDs, corticosteroids and other ‘slow-acting agents’ are options that may be able to relieve pain-related symptoms. Lifestyle wise, a plant-based diet has been shown to be effective in reducing the self-reported pain scores of people with ostoarthritis. [2]

Weight loss can help with reducing weight on joints in both conditions. Likewise, exercise can be helpful for both conditions.

There is a huge scope for natural and dietary interventions for RA to including a plant-based diet to support the management of the disease [3]. To help the reversal of symptoms, the Paddison Program has a plan to work through your diet and make beneficial changes.

​Conclusion – Osteoarthritis vs Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the case of osteoarthritis vs rheumatoid arthritis, they’re both conditions that affect the joints and both can be debilitating, chronic conditions. Osteoarthritis can be more frequently localised to a specific joint. Whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition affecting multiple joints in the body, often the same joints on each side.

Although treatments for both have variations, they all aim is to manage pain, reduce inflammation and improve quality of life.

The Paddison Program can be used with advice from your doctor for positive lifestyle changes for Rheumatoid Arthritis, so you can start to reduce inflammation and feel better.

[1] Sokolove J, Lepus CM. Role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis: latest findings and interpretationsTher Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2013;5(2):77-94. doi:10.1177/1759720X12467868

[2] Clinton CM, O’Brien S, Law J, Renier CM, Wendt MR. Whole-foods, plant-based diet alleviates the symptoms of osteoarthritisArthritis. 2015;2015:708152. doi:10.1155/2015/708152

[3] Khanna S, Jaiswal KS, Gupta B. Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis with D


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