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What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and inflammation in a joint.

It is an incredibly common condition that affects more than 10 million people in the UK. The two most common types of arthritis are:

  1. Osteoarthritis;
  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What is the difference between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the thinning and degeneration of the cartilage in a joint over time, often referred to as “wear and tear”. Rheumatoid arthritis is the body’s immune system targeting the affected joint.

An Osteoarthritic joint can feel particularly stiff and sore first thing in the morning or after long periods of rest and will ease with movement. Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause joint pain to increase throughout the day.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects the smooth cartilage lining the joint causing it to roughen and thin out causing pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in people who are in their mid-40’s or older but can occur at any age. Early-onset is normally brought on as a result of an injury, other medical conditions or other joint-related conditions.

If Osteoarthrosis is not managed the continual wearing of the cartilage in the joint can lead to bone rubbing on bone. When this occurs, the joint becomes very stiff and painful, as well as being warm to the touch. It is not uncommon, at this stage, for the joint to be altered in shape as the bones move out of their normal position.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a combination of genetics and environmental factors that cause the body’s immune system to start attacking specific joints in the body.

It starts by targeting the outer covering of the joint (the synovium). After this, it can spread across the whole joint and may cause the cartilage and bone to break down which leads to further pain, swelling and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis often starts in people between 40 and 50 years old with women being 3x more likely to be affected than men.

How to manage arthritis.

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