Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. What is the Difference?

By: wendyann
The term arthritis actually describes over 100 related conditions, but among these the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

There is a huge difference between these two diseases so we'll go into the main ones here.

Osteoarthritis is mainly confined to people over the age of fifty. Exceptions to this are people who have put a large strain on their joints for a prolonged period of time, for example athletes, or those whose jobs demand a lot of repetitive physical movements, for example carpenters and even computer keyboard users.

Osteoarthritis then is a disease of wear and tear. The cartilage that supports the joints becomes broken down by excessive use, causing the joints to become stiff and sore. Osteoarthritis can be painful but it is not life threatening and there are many natural ways that we can help keep pain under control.

Those suffering with osteoarthritis are usually prescribed anti inflammatory pain killers, the disadvantage is that these can sometimes have a negative effect on our general health and at best only help the symptoms while doing nothing to arrest the progress of the disease.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a different disease altogether. It can attack any age group, even manifesting in children where it is commonly known as Juvenile Arthritis or JRA. Rheumatoid Arthritis is caused by an immune disorder, in which the immune system attacks parts of the body including joint tissue. Typical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are pain, inflammation, swelling and heat. Rheumatoid arthritis can go into remission and then flare up again which can be very frustrating!

Why this happens is not clear, however rheumatoid arthritis can occur after a viral disease or after a period of intense stress. A person suffering with RA will have the 'Tumor Necrosis Factor' in their system which can be found using a simple testing

Mainstream medicine claims there is no known cure for either disease, however significant progress has been made in alternative medicine with sometimes amazing results.

Exercise has multiple benefits for arthritis sufferers. It prevents stiffening of the joints while strengthening the muscles. Exercise also releases endorphins (nature's natural pain killers) into the system. Swimming is great as it puts no strain on sore joints. However a weight bearing exercise, such as walking helps to keep our bones strong.

A positive attitude is always a good idea. It takes practice but with patience we can train our thoughts to support us. This benefits our health as well as other areas of our lives.

And finally the modern enemy, stress, can exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis. A high level of stress can negatively affect out health in so many ways. Yoga can be very calming and also helps to stretch the muscles. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation will help a lot too.

In conclusion, no matter what form of arthritis is causing the problem, natural remedies go a long way to make us feel better. Light exercise, a good diet, a positive attitude and natural medication will make our lives easier. Give it a try!
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