Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in your joints wears away. The type of pain tends to be gradual and develops over time. This is the most common type of arthritis affecting 27 million Americans. Many people believe it’s a crippling and inevitable part of growing old, but it is getting better.
According to Harvard Health, people with osteoarthritis often have it in more than one joint. It is most common in the knee, hip, lower back, neck and certain finger joints.
When osteoarthritis affects the knee, the result is pain, swelling and stiffness of that joint. What starts as out as some discomfort after a period of disuse can progress to difficulty walking, climbing, bathing, and getting in and out of bed.
Osteoarthritis of the hand often starts with stiffness and soreness in the fingers and in the base of the thumb, particularly in the morning. You may find that it becomes harder to pinch, and your joints crackle when moved. People with osteoarthritis may have difficulty doing routine movements, like opening a jar, turning a key or typing.
When osteoarthritis affects the hip, pain may be felt in the groin, down the inside thigh or the knee. Osteoarthritis of the cervical spine (in the neck) can cause pain in the shoulders and arms. When it affects the lower spine, pain can spread to the buttocks or legs.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a completely different disease.
It is an autoimmune disease in which a body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints. This affects the entire body not just the joints. Low grad fevers, muscle aches and fatigue can also develop.
The fingers and wrist are affected. Generally pain begins in the joints closest to the tips of the fingers as well as wrist. Fingers can become severely deformed and undergo a pulling out to one side. About 20 to 30 percent of RA patients will develop firm nodules under the skin in the fingers or hands.
Toes can be sore and inflamed also and in many cases, shoulders and ankles are also inflamed. Rheumatoid affects women more than men, according to studies. It can flare up abruptly without a specific pattern, especially in the early stages.
Life insurance underwriting can be complicated when it comes to arthritis. The battle with rheumatoid is usually fought with steroids and medication, which can have serious side effects. Rheumatoid is rapid and osteoarthritis develops over time, which also makes a large difference. It will depend on the level of severity and a good agent who is knowledgeable in this area will help you find the best rates.
Want to learn more about life insurance? Read our article The Most Frequently Asked Life Insurance Questions.