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Is There A Difference Between Osteoporosis And Osteoarthritis?

According to experts, both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are two different problems, and hence, they involve different diagnoses and treatment procedures. You may understand the difference between the two based on certain aspects, as we have discussed here.

Difference According To The Overview And Risk Factors

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis refers to the loss of bone mass and it increases the risk related to fractures spontaneously. The problem is painless and if you experience pain, especially in your back, you have osteoporosis combined with osteoarthritis.

However, if you have pain only in your spine, you have a degenerative disk problem and it constitutes a major part associated with arthritis procedure. Osteoporosis mainly affects the quality of your bone.

In this situation, your doctor recommends you for DXA i.e. Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry i.e. a type of bone density testing to determine the health of your bone accurately. Osteoporosis is a painless disease until and unless sustain a bone fracture, while it starts with a lower mass of bone when you reach 50 years age.

If we talk about men, deficiency of testosterone increases the risk related to osteoporosis. In contrast, deficiency of estrogen leads to a higher risk of osteoporosis in women. Hyperthyroidism, diabetes and other related health conditions may disrupt the regular balance of bone metabolism and calcium regulation to increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Other risk factors to trigger osteoporosis are previous fractures, body weight less than 127 pounds, family history related to hip fracture, and long-term glucocorticoid therapy.

Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis refers to the degeneration of articular cartilage, which covers the ends of bones, which are adjacent to one another. Once the degeneration sets up, it gradually leads to cartilage loss between bones, which results in a high level of pain because of bone-on-bone condition. Osteoarthritis remains painless for many years until the loss leads to severe symptoms.

Osteoarthritis is especially prevalent in various joints, which are next to toe or fingernail beds, middle joints of hands, and the base of the thumb. The problem does not cause any harm to the hand’s knuckles. Osteoarthritis may even affect the hips, knees, and spine. It affects your neck and shoulders to some extent.

Osteoarthritis causes the breaking down of cartilage, which leads to bone spurs, grinding as well as wear and tear of joints, which create the movement difficult without any pain. You may likely to suffer from osteoarthritis as you become old. The problem is common among women and with those individuals, who have a family history related to the disease.(1)(2)

Difference According To Prevention/Management

Osteoporosis: You may take different steps to prevent or manage your symptoms by taking the following steps-

  • Avoid the excessive intake of alcohol
  • Avoid smoking of cigarettes
  • Intake suitable vitamin D and calcium supplements post consultation with the doctor
  • Participate in regular weight-related exercise
  • Avoid the excessive usage of contraceptive pills and injections

Osteoarthritis: You have to take the following steps to reduce the risk related to osteoarthritis.

  • Lack of enough exercise shrinks the cartilage and stress on the joints. On the other side, you should make sure to stay active to avoid your condition.
  • You should take different steps to avoid or reduce your risk related to falls and thereby, to avoid any traumatic injury. Trauma may change the way of walking and shifting the weight to make muscles weak during the process.
  • If you are overweight, you should involve in exercises to reduce your weight and overcome the condition of obesity. For instance, overweight people, who have lost 5% weight, have succeeded to reduce 25% of symptoms related to osteoarthritis.(3)


To conclude, we should say that osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are two different types of problems even though they have a close relationship with bones and joints. Accordingly, osteoporosis increases your risk related to bone fracture than osteoarthritis.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 17, 2020

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