Rheumatoid Arthritis Questions
Answered by Michele M. Hooper, MD, University
Hospitals Health Systems
Q. What is the difference between Rheumatoid Arthritis and "regular" arthritis?
I have been told I have Rheumatoid Arthritis in my back and arthritis in my fingers. Thank you
A. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis, which means that the cells lining the joint grow out of control (the synovial cells) and damage the joint.
It is also a systemic disease associated with
non-joint complications like anemia, lung thickening and premature death.
Degenerative arthritis is a wearing away of the cartilage, without inflammation. The cartilage is the shock absorber so it is associated with pain when the joint is used.
Q. Does arthritis spread? In other words, will the arthritis in my hands
wind up in other places?
A. If you have arthritis at one site, you are at increased risk for
developing it in other joints.
The exception would be if it was caused
by an injury to a single joint. Then it would not spread.
Michele M. Hooper, MD, a rheumatologist with University Hospitals Health Systems, is Senior Vice Chair of the Board
of Directors of the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio Chapter.
For more information about arthritis, contact the Arthritis Foundation at 216-831-7000, ext. 114 or, toll-free, at 800-245-2275, ext. 114.
Top of Page
Back to Arthritis and Bones