Arthritis and osteoarthritis are often confused by many people, since both diseases affect the joints, causing pain and reducing the quality of life of those who suffer from it.
However, they are different pathologies, with important differences in both their cause and their evolution, among others. Next, we will explain in more detail the similarities and differences between them.
Similarities between arthritis and osteoarthritis
As already mentioned, both arthritis and osteoarthritis are pathologies related to the joints, and are quite common, especially at advanced ages.
Its consequences are also very similar:
- Decreased range of movement of the joints
- Rigidity (especially early in the morning, at the beginning of the illness)
In addition, excess weight is, in both cases, a factor that increases the risk and possibility of suffering from both diseases.
In both cases, in order to mitigate its effects, regular physical exercise is very important, always according to the personal needs of each patient and guided by a professional. In this way you can:
- Delay the aging of the cartilage, and the appearance of pain
- Increase muscle strength and bone density
- Improve joint mobility
- Decrease depression and improve mood
Another common point between arthritis and osteoarthritis is that both affect women more frequently (3 times more frequent in women than in men), although both can affect both sexes.
Differences between arthritis and osteoarthritis
In the case of arthritis, it consists of inflammation of the synovial membrane that covers the joints. Therefore, the cause of pain in this case is inflammation in the joints, so that even at rest and without moving the joint, the pain persists and does not disappear.
In addition to pain, arthritis can also cause other symptoms: fever, discomfort, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.
The possible causes of arthritis are varied: infections, traumatisms or autoimmune disorders, so there are a large number of different pathologies that can cause its appearance.
Treatment depends on the cause, although in most cases corticosteroids, anti-inflammatories and pain suppressants are usually used. The treatment focuses on curing the disease that causes arthritis and, if it is due to an infection, the arthritis can disappear and be cured when the infection that causes it is eliminated, although not always in all cases.
Another important difference is its evolution time: arthritis has a faster evolution than osteoarthritis, so if it is not treated properly it can destroy the joint in a short time (in a matter of months or a few years).
And as for who can suffer from arthritis, it tends to affect younger people than osteoarthritis: it is usually contracted between 20 and 40 years, although it can be contracted at any age, and as it has been said before, it is more frequent in women.
Finally, although it is a common pathology, it is far less frequent than osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is not caused by other diseases, but is degenerative and is related to the wear and aging of the joints.
In this case, it is the cartilage itself that is between the joints of the bones, whose function is to cushion the movements and avoid the contact of the bones with each other, which is damaged or worn out simply by the passage of time, so that the bones rub against each other as they move, producing pain and stiffness.
In osteoarthritis, the pain is not caused by any inflammation, so when leaving the affected joint at rest the pain usually disappears, and it reappears and worsens when performing movements.
Arthrosis is degenerative and chronic, there is no cure once it appears, only treatment to reduce pain, usually with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medication. Physiotherapy and exercises are performed to alleviate it, as well as eating a balanced and healthy diet to avoid overweight and not overloading the joint.
In comparison with arthritis, the evolution of osteoarthritis has a slower process, since joint wear occurs slowly and progressively, many years from its onset to its maximum degeneration. However, as its cause is wear and aging, osteoarthritis is much more frequent than arthritis.
Osteoarthritis appears from the age of 40 onwards, and especially after the age of 65. However, it is more frequent and usually appears earlier in women than in men.
Diagnosis and treatment at Vithas Xanit International Hospital
Finally, remember that in case you need assistance in traumatology, be it these pathologies or any other, at Vithas Xanit International Hospital we are at your disposal to help you. Contact us if you want more information or make an appointment.