Rheumatoid Arthritis vs Arthrosis (Osteoarthritis): What’s the Difference?

When talking about rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis – which is more commonly called osteoarthritis – it can be confusing to someone who does not understand the difference between these two terms. They both sound similar and are used to describe conditions that cause joint pain and joint stiffness, but there are some key differences between the two.

Arthritis is an umbrella term that is used to describe several different conditions that lead to inflammation in a person’s joints. There are several different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and lupus, that all affect different areas of the body.

Arthrosis is actually another name for osteoarthritis. It is the most common form of arthritis, especially as people get older, and it can affect any joint in the body. Arthrosis is caused when the cartilage between two or more bones starts to break down.

Differences Between Arthrosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The differences between arthrosis and rheumatoid arthritis are considerable. Your risk for developing arthrosis increases as you age and typically occurs when people are in their fifties, whereas rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to affect people of all ages, including children.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around four percent of women and two percent of men. It is usually accompanied by a general sense of fatigue and illness, thanks to the overactive immune response.

While arthrosis is caused by deterioration of cartilage between a person’s bones, rheumatoid arthritis is caused when a person’s immune system mistakes tissue in the joints for a foreign invader and attacks it. This causes inflammation and pain. Unfortunately, physicians and researchers are unsure of what actually causes rheumatoid arthritis.

The differences in symptoms are significant as well. The deterioration of cartilage in arthrosis causes joints to become painful and tender but not swollen. Whereas with rheumatoid arthritis the swelling occurs at the lining of the joints (synovium) which can severely disfigure the joint.

Causes of Arthrosis

Arthrosis occurs as a consequence of the natural aging process, however, it can also be affected by lifestyle choices.

Contributing factors include:

  • Deterioration of cartilage over time
  • Obesity
  • A poor diet, lacking in vital nutrients
  • Injury
  • Genetics
  • A sedentary lifestyle

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body mistakes tissues in your joints for dangerous pathogens. There are several factors that can predispose someone to rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Age: It’s most common between the ages of 40 and 60. However, it isn’t a normal part of the aging process and can affect anyone at any age.
  • Genetics: If you have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis, you are more likely to get it as well.
  • Environment: A toxic chemical or infection in your environment can increase your chances of getting rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Gender: Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men and is more common in women who’ve never been pregnant and those who’ve recently given birth.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight can be a cause of rheumatoid arthritis, especially if you’re under 55.
  • Smoking: If your genes already make you more susceptible to rheumatoid arthritis, smoking can raise your chances of getting the disease. If you have already been diagnosed with it, smoking can make it worse.

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