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Difference Between Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis

Osteoporosis_bookOsteoporosis vs Osteoarthritis

Both Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis are common diseases that occur during the middle to later stages of life. Osteoporosis is a bone-disease where the bones become more fragile due to a reduction in bone mineral density. The bones of an Osteoporosis sufferer have an increased susceptibility to fractures. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is a joint-disease. This is caused by a loss of cartilage (a protein substance which acts as a ‘cushion’ between the bones of the joints) in the joints.

Osteoporosis can also be referred to as ‘porous bones’. In this disease, the bones become weaker, and it most commonly occurs after a certain age, although, thinning of the bones can also lead to this type of disease. Osteoarthritis refers mainly to inflammation of the joints. Although this type of arthritis is also related to aging, it generally results from wear and tear of the bones; where the joints have been injured by repeated overuse during a particular activity or sport. What happens is that the cartilage is slowly reduced, causing a lack of flexibility in the joints and the development of bony spurs. Hence, the swelling of the joints.

Osteoporosis mostly occurs in women who are older than 45 years of age, but it can also occur in men over the age of 65. This is especially true for those men who smoke, or who have excessively consumed caffeine or steroids. Osteoarthritis is most commonly found in people who are overweight or obese, or those who have experienced some kind of trauma or physical damage to the joints.

Common symptoms of Osteoporosis are aches and pains in the bones, loss of height, fractures of the hip, spine, waist and other areas of the body, and a disability that is caused by the lack of bone strength. Osteoarthritis occurs in the joints of the hip, knees, neck, spine, lower back areas and the small hand joints, and is extremely painful. The affected areas are usually enlarged or swollen, and are characterized by stiffness.

Osteoporosis can be prevented by achieving a higher peak bone mass in the childhood and adolescent phases. The is achieved by proper exercise and nutrition, which will delay bone degeneration. Bone density can be increased by jogging, walking and climbing stairs with maximum effort a few times a week, and a healthy diet should include sufficient calcium and Vitamin D. Osteoarthritis can be prevented by maintaining body weight, walking, swimming, and exercising the flexibility of the joints during various activities. Moderate exercise also helps to reduce the pain and improve the functioning of the joints. Constant pressure on a particular joint should be avoided whenever possible.


1.Osteoporosis is a bone-disease, whereas Osteoarthritis is a joint-disease.

2.Osteoporosis is a disease commonly found in women over the age of 45, whereas Osteoarthritis can occur due to obesity, or damage and wear and tear to the joints.

3.Osteoporosis is not noticeable in its early stages, but will gradually progress, and may cause fractures to the bones. Osteoarthritis causes severe pain in the joints, and the joints affected are generally red and swollen.

4.Symptoms of Osteoporosis are thin and weak bones, and a reduced bone-mass density, while Osteoarthritis is indicated by swelling and redness near the joints of the bones.

5.Osteoporosis is prevented by proper exercise and nutrition, which includes sufficient vitamins and calcium. Osteoarthritis can be prevented by avoiding constant pressure on a particular joint, maintaining the flexibility of the joints by participating in various activities, and by weight control. Good nutrition is also essential.

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1 Comment

  1. This explained a lot, thank you so much. I have osteoarthritis so have learned my bone density ok but joints worn and get inflamed now I can work on easing this for my self.

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