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What Are the Differences Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis?

Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis affect joint health. However, between the two conditions are vast numbers of differences affecting treatment options and pain management techniques. Here are some of those differences, brought to you by the staff at Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care in Summit.


  • Due to the increased use of hands and knees over the course of a lifetime, these joints see higher levels of cartilage decrease than other bone ends. However, osteoarthritis is not limited to only these areas.
  • Osteoarthritis is typically caused by normal wear and tear of the body.
  • Although there is no true cure for the condition, it is possible to maintain joint functions with lifestyle changes. Examples include weight loss and the participation in an active lifestyle.
  • Seniors likely experience one or more symptoms, including stiffness of the joints, pain while or after moving, and a noted loss of range of motion.
  • Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men.
  • Treatments include medicines and, in extreme cases, surgery.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • This autoimmune disease is not just for the elderly. While the majority of diagnoses do not take place until after a person reaches 40, the disease can start much earlier.
  • Pain and swelling of the joints are telltale signs. Advanced cases often result in joint deformities.
  • It attacks other parts of the body, not only joints. It may also affect the skin or lungs.
  • Joint stiffness lasting for prolonged periods of time, consistent tiredness, and fever are just some of the symptoms.
  • Seniors with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk of also developing osteoarthritis.
  • Physical therapy and medications can help slow its progression.

Either type of arthritis can make it difficult for your senior loved one to perform once-simple tasks, but there are still ways he or she can live an independent life. If your loved one needs help managing daily tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Ourpart-time Summit caregivers can help with light housekeeping, laundry, cooking, and much more. All of our senior care services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees, and no need to sign a long-term contract. For more information, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.