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Be Well Podcast: Arthritis with Laura Grantham, PA-C

Laura Grantham, PA-C

Listen in to the full podcast or read from partial transcript below as Laura Grantham, PA-C, Rheumatology provider at Skagit Regional Health discusses discusses arthritis, possible risk factors, how it's treated and more.

Joey Wahler (Host): It's a common, often very debilitating condition among adults. So, we're discussing arthritis and how it's treated. Our guest, Laura Grantham. She's a physician assistant in Rheumatology at Skagit Regional Health. This is Be Well with Skagit Regional Health. Thanks for listening. I'm Joey Wahler. So first in a nutshell, what does a rheumatologist do exactly? 

Laura Grantham, PA-C: A rheumatologist diagnoses and treats musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions. Rheumatologists treat joint diseases similar to orthopedists but do not perform surgeries. Common conditions treated in rheumatology are rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus and psoriatic arthritis.

Joey Wahler (Host): So we're focusing on arthritis, as mentioned, and there are a few different types. Can you tell us what they are and what's the difference between them?

Laura Grantham, PA-C: It's important to know that arthritis is not a single disease. It's an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are many different types. There is osteoarthritis, which is a more degenerative condition, and then there are a variety of inflammatory arthritis.

Joey Wahler (Host): Let's try and narrow it down, for instance, to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. What's the difference between those?

Laura Grantham, PA-C: Osteoarthritis is localized inflammation, and it is the most common arthritis. It affects most adults over the age of 50, and it is the result of wear and tear over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory arthritis, and it's caused by the immune system.

Joey Wahler (Host): And so what you're saying there is that one basically comes from age and usage over time, and the other one is being caused by other factors. So what about the symptoms? How do those differ between the two?

Laura Grantham, PA-C: So the symptoms of osteoarthritis are usually based on mechanical pain. The more you use the joint, typically the more pain that you will have. Whereas rheumatoid arthritis can also hurt with activity, but one of the hallmarks of this condition is prolonged morning stiffness. And then some people actually feel better the more they use the joint.

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