We commonly encounter questions from our blog readers if there is any difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis? Technically yes – Arthritis is a broader term that refers to inflammation of the on or more joints (see below). Osteoarthritis is a form of Arthritis is also called degenerative arthritis, that is joint pain and inflammation specifically due to degenerative processes. See more details below
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. A joint is an area of the body where two different bones meet. A joint functions to move the body parts connected by its bones.
Arthritis mostly affects people under 65 years of age. Nearly 40 million people in the United States are affected by arthritis. Nearly 60% of Americans with arthritis are women.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. Symptoms can include:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Reduced ability to move the joint
- Redness of the skin around a joint
- Warmth around a joint
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It develops from wearing away of the cartilage of the joint, particularly the knee joint (osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common type). In the early stage, it develops slowly and is difficult to detect because it affects only a minimum number of joints i.e. hands, hips, knees and spine.
It most often affects middle-aged and older people. More than 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Loss of flexibility
Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is the parent disorder referring to all types of joint pain and inflammation. As mentioned earlier, Osteoarthritis is a type of Arthritis.Hence the signs and symptoms are almost same, like pain in joints, joint stiffness and difficulties in mobilization.
- Inflammation around the joint leads to arthritis whereas loss of cartilage in joints leads to osteoarthritis.
- There is no permanent treatment for both, but in both cases medicines are used to control symptoms. Joint replacement is more often used in late stage osteoarthritis.
The causes of Arthritis and Osteoarthritis may differ but their symptoms and treatment methods are same. Weight loss, physical exercise and healthy eating habits are essential to avoid the risk of both.
Listed below are some clinical trials investigating new treatments for Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.