Differentiating Osteoporosis Vs. Osteoarthritis

141 Views
April 30, 2024

Painful joints and achy bones are things that are like an unwelcome guest who plans to stay. More often than not, it is due to two bone troubles, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Many use both terms interchangeably; however, they have different meanings and approaches to deal with. Let’s break them down.

Osteoporosis

It is a bone disease that marks when your body loses too much bone, does not properly regenerate bone, or both. This malfunction leads to weak and brittle bones that are prone to breaking.

Osteoporosis is called a silent disease since the loss occurs without presenting any symptoms, and the first sign is often a broken bone. This condition affects more than 53 million people in the U.S. and is more common in older adults, especially women.

Osteoarthritis

In this condition, the cartilage, which is supposed to cushion the joints, breaks down, which leads to bones rubbing against each other. Osteoarthritis affects the joints and is the most common form of the lot, affecting more than 32.5 million adults in the U.S. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it most commonly affects the hands, hips, knees, lower back, and neck.

The symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Swelling.

Osteoporosis vs. Osteoarthritis

Both conditions are 2 distinct medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. Here’s a brief breakdown of the two:

  • Definition and Characteristics
    Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the amount and quality of the bone is reduced. This change is the reason why they are so prone to fractures (broken bones) and need to be extremely careful while moving around. It produces no pain or other symptoms and usually the diagnosis occurs when the person has well-progressed in the disease.
    Osteoarthritis degenerates joints and involves thinning or destruction of the smooth cartilage that covers the ends of bones. Unlike osteoporosis, osteoarthritis shows up with a variety of symptoms like pain, stiffness, and reduced movement of joints.
  • Primary Affected Areas
    As mentioned earlier, Osteoporosis affects the bones, decreasing their density as time passes, especially in the spine, hip, and wrist bones. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, shows up in the joints, particularly those that bear weight.
  • Symptoms
    Osteoporosis symptoms usually take a back seat until fracture occurs; however, issues associated with decreased bone density show up. You may expect back pain, loss of height, decreased strength, etc. While osteoarthritis presents itself with swelling, stiffness, pain, or even crepitus (a grating or crackling sensation) in the affected joints.
  • Diagnostic Methods
    The diagnosis of osteoporosis includes clinical assessment, bone mineral density testing, evaluation of fracture risk factors, and blood tests. Meanwhile, osteoarthritis needs clinical evaluation, imaging studies, and sometimes joint fluid analysis.

Overlapping Factors and Comorbidities

There are certain conditions that coexist with both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, complicating the diagnostic process and creating trouble for healthcare providers in treating the root problems.

For instance, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that affects joints, and brings about negative changes like inflammation, pain, and joint damage similar to osteoarthritis. However, RA primarily targets the synovium, whereas OA involves degenerative changes in cartilage and bone.

Connect with Your Primary Care Doctor

Closing Note

In a nutshell, osteoporosis affects the bone vs. osteoarthritis wears down the joints. Still, if you are confused about the two conditions, or want to learn better about this, contact our expert, Dr. Rajesh Maheshwari, MD, at Lathrop Urgent Care Clinic. Our competent team is waiting to serve you. Call (209)-983-9000 to connect with us.

Our testimonials

Dr. Rajesh is very Excellent and great humanitarian. I have not yet met any other Doctor like him who takes so much personal care of the patients. He is always go through the patient chart very carefully and listen his patient very well. I really appreciate his help and recommend Dr Rajesh.

Testimonial Item

~ Ramandeep Kaur

Dr. Rajesh is very Excellent and great humanitarian. I have not yet met any other Doctor like him who takes so much personal care of the patients. He is always go through the patient chart very carefully and listen his patient very well. I really appreciate his help and recommend Dr Rajesh.

Testimonial Item

~ Ramandeep Kaur

Dr. Rajesh is very Excellent and great humanitarian. I have not yet met any other Doctor like him who takes so much personal care of the patients. He is always go through the patient chart very carefully and listen his patient very well. I really appreciate his help and recommend Dr Rajesh.

Testimonial Item

~ Ramandeep Kaur

Skip to content