As we age, joints start to ache. Knees hurt getting out of a car or knuckles swell until it’s difficult to open a jar. Joint pain and swelling like this can be signs of arthritis and by 2040, it’s estimated 78 million Americans 18 years or older will have a form of the condition.
One of the most common forms is osteoarthritis, where the smooth cartilage joint surface wears out in an isolated joint. It’s a “wear and tear” arthritis, meaning it can be caused by overuse over time, like knee bending. Another common type of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common autoimmune disease in the United States, according to Aaron Stubbs, M.D., a rheumatology fellow at Michigan Medicine. In fact, 1.3 million Americans have the condition.
“Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where cells that deal with infections start attacking the body and joints,” Stubbs says. He adds that although both types of arthritis damage joints, there are a few differences that discern the two.
Excerpted from Michigan Health