Patients can suffer from either Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The two conditions are quite different. The first is an auto immune response where the body evokes an inflammatory response in a joint. The synovial membranes within the joint are attacked by the body’s own white cells (antibodies) and they become inflamed, red , swollen. The bone starts to degenerate. Joints tend to be affected bilaterally. That is to say on both left and right. Eg both hands or knees, elbows etc.
Treatment includes drugs to reduce the body’s immune response – steroids are given at the beginning. This can help but as the disease progresses stronger drugs are employed such as methotrexate or cyclosprorin.