Arthritis comes in many forms. In fact, this term can apply to a number of conditions, including psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and osteoarthritis. Two of these conditions–rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA)–are often confused among patients.
OA is a degenerative condition that develops because of excessive wear to the cartilage between the joints. RA is an autoimmune disease, meaning it is caused by a person’s own immune system attacking his or her otherwise healthy body. RA can strike any joint, regardless of how much or how little the joint has been used.