Rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the immune system begins attacking the body itself, causing pain and inflammation in the joints.

It is one of the most serious and disabling types of arthritis, is most common among women and often begins when people are in their 30s and 40s.

By contrast, osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, producing pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

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