Uncovering The Truth: Is Osteoarthritis An Autoimmune Disease?

April 15, 2023

Did you know that more than 58 million people in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis? It is such a common condition that people often wonder if osteoarthritis is an autoimmune disease, given the pain, stiffness, and internal swelling of the joints.

However, that isn’t exactly the case. Despite being a type of arthritis, osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease. It is a chronic condition that arises over time. To learn more about its causes and effects, keep on reading this blog.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints in your body. Be it your hands, feet, back, legs, knees, or even hips, no joints are safe from its degenerative effects. Unfortunately, though, there isn’t an exact reason why it occurs. Although once osteoarthritis does take root, it can weaken the cartilage between your joints and cause irreversible damage to its structure. Even the bone located under the cartilage also suffers from its harmful effects.

Over time, osteoarthritis can worsen, leading to loss of mobility in your joints, pain, swelling, tenderness, as well as muscle stiffness.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

There is still a lot of research that needs to be conducted regarding osteoarthritis, but some of the most common risk factors behind it are:

1. Age
Typically, people who are older in age are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in comparison to young adults.

2. Gender
According to studies, women are more at risk of developing this condition.

3. Physical Injury or Trauma
Damaging your joints or ligaments can also lead to this condition.

4. Weak Muscles
Osteoarthritis commonly affects those who have weak or strained muscles.

5. Weight Gain
Being overweight or obese can put significant strain on your joints which leaves the cartilage in a vulnerable position.

6. Hereditary Factors
Inherited joint defects and other genetic conditions can also be why someone might suddenly develop osteoarthritis.

Is Osteoarthritis an Autoimmune Disease?

No, osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease. It is merely a condition that arises due to wear and tear of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, in contrast, is an autoimmune disease. It results from the immune system attacking your own body, leading to pain and inflammation.

However, osteoarthritis is different from rheumatoid arthritis since it develops from common wear and tear. It strikes the cartilage that helps cushion your joints. Thus, when the cartilage gets injured, the joints start to grind against each other, creating friction within the bones. This ultimately causes the pain and discomfort that is commonly associated with osteoarthritis.

The Bottom Line

All in all, osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease. If anything, it is a chronic condition that can arise as a result of old age, obesity, physical trauma, or even gender.

But despite the looming threat of osteoarthritis, there is a way to manage the symptoms and pain. For more information on the matter, feel free to reach out to Mufaddal Gombera, MD, at (713) 794-3457. You can also drop by our clinic, located inside the Texas Orthopedic Hospital at 7401 Main St, Houston, TX 77030.

Dr Gombera Cover

Dr. Gombera

Dr. Gombera, earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan. Expanding his expertise, he undertook a sports medicine and arthroscopy fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago. Recognized as a Super Doctors Rising Star and honored for patient care excellence at the University of Michigan, he holds multiple certifications and licenses, solidifying his dedication to delivering exceptional medical services.



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