Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis both cause joint pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion, but the two diseases are distinct in their root cause and treatment.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where a person’s own immune system attacks their joints, causing inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects many joints simultaneously, especially in the hands, wrists, and feet, and is treated with medications to suppress the immune response.

Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease, and although the exact causes are not known, multiple risk factors have been identified. In a healthy joint, cartilage provides cushioning and a smooth joint surface for motion. In an osteoarthritic joint, as cartilage is irreversibly destroyed and bone abnormalities develop, movement becomes painful and more difficult.

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