Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease with varying symptoms and complications that differ for each patient. Often times, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are confused with osteoarthritis symptoms. This confusion happens commonly during the first signs of arthritic symptoms.

Despite the fact that both are types of arthritis cause joint pain, the two disease have different diagnoses. Interestingly, though the two are chronic and non-curable disease, they are completely separate conditions with different causes, symptoms, prognoses, and treatments.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Disease

The primary difference between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis is the nature of the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that produces inflammatory joint symptoms throughout the body. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that is the result of increased wear and tear on joints. Osteoarthritis may produce inflammatory symptoms as well but primarily destroys joint cartilage over time.

Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 27 million Americans while only 1.3 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis. Both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are more prevalent in women than in men. Rheumatoid arthritis can develop in patients anytime between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. Osteoarthritis generally develops later in life.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Causes

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are caused by different issues with different risk factors. This is what makes the two types of arthritis diseases primarily different.

Osteoarthritis Causes

Osteoarthritis is caused by continued wear and tear on specific joints in the patient’s body. It is a chronic condition that can get worse with age. Certain jobs or sports that involve repetitive motions can also lead to developing osteoarthritis. These activities place additional pressure on joints which may continue to wear down the cartilage. Old injuries or ones that didn’t heal properly can also increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

There is also a potential genetic risk factor associated with osteoarthritis whereby it’s possible to inherit cartilage deterioration.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Causes

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown at this time. Doctors do know that rheumatoid arthritis is triggered by an autoimmune disorder whereby harmful antibodies are produced that attack the healthy joint tissue in patients. What causes the autoimmune disorder to develop in certain patients is unknown.

The primary risk factors for triggering rheumatoid arthritis are thought to be genetic, environmental, hormonal, and even certain lifestyle factors like smoking and obesity. Rheumatoid arthritis affects patients from a variety of backgrounds and so it is difficult to determine one specific cause.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms have a rather rapid onset where the condition can worsen in a matter of weeks. Osteoarthritis symptoms slowly develop and gradually worsen over a long period of time.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms affect joints all the over the body including hands, fingers, elbows, knees, and hips. Osteoarthritis frequently affects the small finger joints and thumb, as well as the knees. Rheumatoid arthritis always affects multiple joints, whereas osteoarthritis may only affect one particular joint or area of the body.

At the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, symptoms like fatigue, fever, weight loss, and loss of appetite are indicative of the disease’s development. Osteoarthritis doesn’t produce these types of additional symptoms.

One common characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis is that it produces symmetrical symptoms, meaning both sides of the body are affected similarly. Osteoarthritis doesn’t necessarily produce the same symptoms. It’s based entirely on wear and tear levels in individual joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms also include prolonged morning stiffness lasting greater than 30 minutes. Osteoarthritis patients may feel morning stiffness, but it generally subsides within the first 30 minutes.

Here is a comparison between rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis symptoms:

Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Joint pain, stiffness, swelling affecting multiple joints
  • Symmetrical symptoms affecting both sides of the body
  • Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Additional symptoms like fatigue, fever, and malaise

Osteoarthritis Symptoms:

  • Joint pain and stiffness usually affecting hands, fingers or knees
  • Joints on one side affected worse than on the other side
  • Morning stiffness lasting fewer than 30 minutes
  • Possible spine and hip pain as well

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Diagnosis

Though both diseases are forms of arthritis, they have two separate clinical diagnoses. Sometimes it can be difficult to reach a proper diagnosis because the two have such similar physical symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed by performing a physical examination of symptoms as well as taking into account family medical history. Doctors also perform blood tests to look for the presence of antibodies that are known triggers of rheumatoid arthritis. Imaging tests are also performed to look for signs of joint damage and inflammation.

Osteoarthritis is also diagnosed with imaging tests. X-rays and MRIs show the progressive damage and deterioration happening the joints. Osteoarthritis can’t be diagnosed with a specific blood test. However, blood tests can help rule out rheumatoid arthritis or other diseases that cause joint pain and inflammation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Prognosis

Both diseases are chronic meaning they are long-term. Neither diseases have any known cures. Osteoarthritis is degenerative, meaning it will continue to worsen with time. With appropriate treatment, osteoarthritis can generally have a positive prognosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is much more unpredictable. Numerous complications can arise as a result of the autoimmune disorder. In some cases, other conditions like respiratory and cardiovascular diseases can develop. Rheumatoid arthritis patients are also at risk of diseases like lymphoma and lupus. Because rheumatoid arthritis can progress differently in each patient, there is no general prognosis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. Osteoarthritis: Treatment

Neither form of arthritis has any known cure. The objective of treatment for both types of arthritis is to reduce pain, manage symptoms, and prevent further destruction to the joints. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen are used to treat both types of arthritis symptoms by reducing swelling and pain.

Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, specific drugs are prescribed to stop the immune system attacks and prevent further damage.

Physical and occupational therapy are both used to help patients improve mobility and adjust their daily routines. Exercise, weight management, and overall healthy living habits are essential in treating and manage both diseases.

Source: RheumatoidArthritis.org


Read also at National Institutes of Health:

Osteoporosis and Arthritis: Two Common but Different Conditions . . . . .

Studies Link Healthy Brain Aging to Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids in the Blood

Two new studies link patterns of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood to the integrity of brain structures and cognitive abilities that are known to decline early in aging.

The studies add to the evidence that dietary intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can promote healthy aging, the researchers said. Further research is needed to test this hypothesis, they said.

The brain is a collection of interconnected parts, each of which ages at its own pace. Some brain structures, and the abilities they promote, start to deteriorate before others, said University of Illinois M.D./Ph.D student Marta Zamroziewicz, who led the new research with psychology professor Aron Barbey.

“We studied a primary network of the brain — the frontoparietal network – that plays an important role in fluid intelligence and also declines early, even in healthy aging,” Zamroziewicz said. Fluid intelligence describes the ability to solve problems one has never encountered before.

“In a separate study, we examined the white matter structure of the fornix, a group of nerve fibers at the center of the brain that is important for memory,” she said.

Previous research has shown that the fornix is one of the first brain regions to be compromised in Alzheimer’s disease.

In both studies, the researchers looked for patterns of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood of adults ages 65 to 75. They analyzed the relationship between these nutrient patterns and subjects’ brain structure and performance on cognitive tests. This research differs from other such studies, which tend to focus on only one or two polyunsaturated fatty acids, Zamroziewicz said.

“Most of the research that looks at these fats in health and healthy aging focuses on the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, but those come from fish and fish oil, and most people in the Western Hemisphere don’t eat enough of those to really see the benefits,” she said. Other fatty acids, like alpha-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid, are precursors of EPA and DHA in the body. Those fats can be derived from land-based foods such as nuts, seeds and oils.

“A central goal of research in nutritional cognitive neuroscience is to understand how these nutrients affect brain health,” Zamroziewicz said. “Some of these nutrients are thought to be more beneficial than others.”

In a study reported in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, the researchers looked for relationships between several omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, the relative size of structures in the frontal and parietal cortices of the brain, and performance on tests of fluid intelligence in healthy elderly adults.

The team found correlations between blood levels of three omega-3 fatty acids — ALA, stearidonic acid and ecosatrienoic acid — and fluid intelligence in these adults. Further analyses revealed that the size of the left frontoparietal cortex played a mediating role in this relationship. People with higher blood levels of these three nutrients tended to have larger left frontoparietal cortices, and the size of the frontoparietal cortex predicted the subjects’ performance on tests of fluid intelligence.

“A lot of research tells us that people need to be eating fish and fish oil to get neuroprotective effects from these particular fats, but this new finding suggests that even the fats that we get from nuts, seeds and oils can also make a difference in the brain,” Zamroziewicz said.

In the second study, the team found that the size of the fornix was associated with a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood, and that a more robust fornix coincided with memory preservation in older adults. Again, the researchers saw that brain structure played a mediating role between the abundance and balance of nutrients in the blood and cognition (in this case, memory). The findings are reported in the journal Aging & Disease.

“These findings have important implications for the Western diet, which tends to be misbalanced with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids,” Zamroziewicz said.

“These two studies highlight the importance of investigating the effects of groups of nutrients together, rather than focusing on one at a time,” Barbey said. “They suggest that different patterns of polyunsaturated fats promote specific aspects of cognition by strengthening the underlying neural circuits that are vulnerable to disease and age-related decline.”

Source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Today’s Comic

Nutritional Properties of Mushrooms are Better Preserved When They are Grilled or Microwaved

Mushrooms are considered valuable health foods, since they have a significant amount of dietary fiber and are poor in calories and fat. Moreover, they have a good protein content (20–30% of dry matter) which includes most of the essential amino acids; also provide a nutritionally significant content of vitamins (B1, B2, B12, C, D and E) and trace minerals such as zinc or selenium. Mushrooms are also an important source of biologically active compounds with potential medicinal value such as betaglucans.

The most mushrooms are commonly cooked before being consumed. Scientists from Mushroom Technological Research Center of La Rioja (CTICH) aimed to evaluate the influence of different cooking methods (boiling, microwaving, grilling and frying) on proximate composition, betaglucans content and antioxidant activity of four cultivated mushrooms species.

The study was conducted on the most widely consumed mushrooms worldwide: Agaricus bisporus (white button mushroom), Lentinula edodes (shiitake), Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushroom) and Pleurotus eryngii (king oyster mushroom). They were harvested from the cultivation rooms at CTICH facilities. After the cooking process, raw and cooked mushrooms were then freeze-dried, and the proximate composition and the antioxidant activity were analyzed.

The results of this study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, revealed that frying induced more severe losses in protein, ash, and carbohydrates content but increased the fat and energy. Boiling improved the total glucans content by enhancing the betaglucans fraction. A significant decrease was detected in the antioxidant activity especially after boiling and frying, while grilled and microwaved mushrooms reached higher values of antioxidant activity.

“Frying and boiling treatments produced more severe losses in proteins and antioxidants compounds, probably due to the leaching of soluble substances in the water or in the oil, which may significantly influence the nutritional value of the final product” says Irene Roncero, one of the authors of the paper.

The advantages of grilling or microwave cooking

“When mushrooms were cooked by microwave or grill, the content of polyphenol and antioxidant activity increased significantly, and there are no significant losses in nutritional value of the cooked mushrooms” says Roncero.

The researcher clarifies that adding a little oil portion while grilling mushrooms is not a problem. “This minimal amount will not cause nutrient loses by leaching; in fact, the antioxidant capacity can be even improved. Moreover, if olive oil is used, the fatty acid profile of the final preparation is enhanced with barely increase in the calorie content.”

Roncero underlines that the cooking technique clearly influences the nutritional value and the antioxidant activity of mushrooms so that “the adequate selection of the culinary method is a key factor to preserve the nutritional profile of this highly consumed food.”

In this study the CTICH collaborated with the Estacion Experimental del Zaidın (CSIC, Granada) to analyze the antioxidant activity of the raw and cooked mushrooms.

Source: SINC

The DASH Diet May Guard Against Gout

Leslie Beck wrote . . . . . .

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains and low in salt, sugary drinks and red and processed meats, is associated with a lower risk of gout. A typical ‘Western’ diet, on the other hand, is associated with a higher risk of gout.

Gout is a joint disease which causes extreme pain and swelling. It is most common in men aged 40 and older and is caused by excess uric acid in the blood which leads to uric acid crystals collecting around the joints.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet reduces blood pressure and is recommended to prevent heart disease. It has also been found to lower uric acid levels in the blood and may, then, protect against gout.

To investigate, a team of US and Canada based researchers examined the relationship between the DASH diet and Western dietary patterns and the risk of gout.

They analyzed data on over 44,000 men aged 40 to 75 years with no history of gout who completed detailed food questionnaires in 1986 that was updated every four years through to 2012.

Each participant was assigned a DASH score (reflecting high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, such as peas, beans and lentils, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, and low intake of salt, sweetened beverages, and red and processed meats) and a Western pattern score (reflecting higher intake of red and processed meats, French fries, refined grains, sweets and desserts).

During 26 years of follow-up, a higher DASH score was associated with a lower risk for gout, while a higher Western pattern was associated with an increased risk for gout.

These associations were independent of known risk factors for gout, such as age, body mass index, high blood pressure and alcohol and coffee intake.

The authors point out that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.

Nevertheless, they say the DASH diet may provide a preventive dietary approach for the risk of gout as it also treats high blood pressure, which affects the vast majority of gout patients.

Source: Leslie Beck


Today’s Comic

Cloud Eggs: The Latest Food Fad Is Actually Centuries Old

Maria Godoy wrote . . . . . .

They’re seemingly unavoidable on Instagram these days: photos of bright yellow egg yolks nestled in a fluffy bed of egg whites, like the sun framed by billowy clouds. They’re called cloud eggs, and they’re pretty enough to look like a taste of heaven … which is probably why people are obsessively whipping them up and sharing their pictures on social media.

Yet the latest food fad du jour is actually a modern spin on a nearly 400-year-old recipe.

“They are basically a very, very old dish. It’s essentially something called Eggs in Snow, which the French have been making for centuries. And it’s suddenly taking off on Instagram,” says Daniel Gritzer, the culinary director at Serious Eats.

He points to a recipe for Oeufs à la Neige (eggs in snow), in Le Cuisinier François, a seminal cookbook published in 1651, just as France was beginning a revolution in cookery that would make it the culinary leader of the world for centuries.

Modern cloud eggs are simple to make, but look sophisticated. Recipes vary, but basically, you take an egg, separate the whites and yolk, beat the whites into a stiff foam and season to taste. Then you scoop the foam into a cloud-like form on a baking sheet covered with parchment, leaving a hollow in the middle for the yolk, and pop it into the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In some versions, the yolk goes into the oven at the same time as the whites; in others, the whites bake first for a few minutes, then the yolk is added and the whole thing is baked for a couple of minutes longer. Baking times vary, but recipes generally call for around 5 to 6 minutes total.

The 17th century version was cooked a bit differently: Instead of hand-mixers or whisks, chefs used bundles of finely split sticks. The egg foam and yolk were placed on a buttered dish and baked atop of coals instead of in an oven. The whole thing was heated from above with a cooking tool called a salamander – basically, a hot fire shovel held over the dish. (Think of it as a 1600s version of a butane kitchen torch or a form of controlled broiling.) It was served with a sprinkle of sugar. These days, the name “eggs in snow” (or “snow eggs”) denotes a different dish: a dessert made of meringue poached in sweetened milk and served with a custard. (It’s a French classic, and was a favorite of famed food writer Craig Claiborne.) But the snow eggs described in that 1651 recipe were essentially the same thing as cloud eggs, agrees Paula Marcoux, a food historian who specializes in re-creating recipes using period cooking techniques.

Like today’s cloud eggs, Marcoux says, the 17th century recipe was likely a novelty dish meant to impress. “It’s just one of those things rich people did for amusement … kind of like today.”

And chefs of the era were also beginning to unravel the mysteries of cooking science. “Seventeenth century people are figuring out how proteins work – it’s the very earliest phases of what becomes fine French cooking,” says Marcoux.

Nowadays, chefs know that when you beat an egg white, you’re actually participating in a cool bit of biochemistry. Egg whites are mostly liquid, but they’re full of proteins. When beaten, those proteins unfold and bind with each other, creating a structure.

“They start to arrange themselves into a network, like a net, as they bond to each other and stretch out,” explains Gritzer. That structure traps the air introduced through beating, and also holds the water in egg whites in place. The result is foam.

It’s a touch of kitchen magic that has fascinated cooks for centuries.

“Even in 19th-century America, people were excited,” says Marcoux. And later, “in the 1950s, people were crazy about making meringue pies. It’s almost something home cooks tap into as a show-offy kind of thing. We see that happening in generation after generation of home cooks.”

In my home kitchen, I gave cloud eggs a whirl. On their own, they’re pretty but bland. But a dash of salt and pepper, a dusting of Sunny Paris spice blend (purple shallots, chives, dill weed, basil and peppercorn, among other things) and a generous sprinkling of grated sharp cheddar, all folded into the foam before baking, fixed things nicely.

As for cloud eggs’ 17th century counterpart? That was surprisingly scrumptious, says Marcoux. My queries had piqued her curiosity, so she tackled the 1651 recipe using historically accurate tools — hot fire shovel and all. She’d been skeptical beforehand, but “it was as delicious as it was silly!” she reported back.

So if you should encounter cloud eggs in the wilds of the Internet, instead of asking yourself, as The Washington Post did recently, “Uh, why is this a thing?” just know the answer is: Because we are human and there is little new under the sun — not even cloud eggs.

Source: npr