Differentiating Common Types of Arthritis

Published Online: Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Osteoarthritis (OA)?The most common form of arthritis. Affects 80% of men and women >75 years of age. Degenerative disease that targets cartilage and impairs the function of weight-bearing joints. Can result from excessive or repetitive joint movements such as work-related activity, or from trauma, inflammation, and joint pressure over time caused by chronic obesity.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?The second most prevalent form of the disease. Occurs in 2% of adults, affecting more women than men. Peak incidence between the ages of 20 and 50. A destructive, debilitating systemic condition caused by the body?s own immune system attacking healthy joint tissue, causing inflammation and joint damage.

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