Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Comparing Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis and
osteoarthritis are different types of arthritis.
They share some similar characteristics, but each has different symptoms
and requires different treatment. So an accurate diagnosis is
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about one-tenth as many people as osteoarthritis.
The main difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is the
cause behind the
joint symptoms. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical
wear and tear on joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an
autoimmune disease in which the body's own
immune system attacks the body's
For more information, see the topics
Rheumatoid Arthritis and
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerNancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Current as ofFebruary 12, 2015
Current as of:
February 12, 2015
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital