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We frequently talk about the prevalence of two types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

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OA is more common. The condition is brought on by the wear and tear of joints versus RA, which is an autoimmune condition. To that end, there is also a longstanding misconception that RA impacts sufferers more. People are more familiar with OA after all. It’s usually prompted by the natural aging process and is likely easier to understand treat. RA, being auto-immune is viewed as potentially more serious and severe, not to mention more difficult to manage.

A new study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology however says that regardless of what type you have, a diagnosis will have similar level of impact on patients.

The study, which includes 149 patients suffering from OA and 203 patients with RA also revealed that contrary to popular belief, OA was associated with higher burden of disease after treatment. Why? RA treatments showed more improvements in patients as opposed to the efficacy of treatments for OA patients.

Apart from dispelling prevailing arthritis myths, these findings are relevant because of its implications on public health and healthcare for sufferers. To date, OA is considered one of the top three most common health conditions in the US. It’s also at least 20 times more common that RA. These statistics, combined with the study’s findings point to a more urgent need for equal, if not improved, treatment and management strategies for OA.

On a more personal note, it’s important that everyone—whether you suffer from the condition, or you’re a loved one or caregiver of someone who has arthritis—understands that arthritis should not just leave you resigned to a life of disability. With better research and focus on possible treatments, the possibility of better interventions is possible. This study underscores that renewed efforts to achieve this is critical.

Finally, it’s also a reminder that regardless of what kind of arthritis people suffer from, each one will face unique challenges that impact their lives significantly, in different ways. Always be mindful of this fact and try to be supportive of each one’s personal struggle.

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