Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis might sound alike, but they are two very different syndromes. The prefix “osteo-” means “bone,” and both of these health conditions affect the bones.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is often called simply “arthritis,” because it is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones wears down, causing a bone-on-bone grating in a joint because the protective cushion is worn away. When this occurs, the worn bone tends to become thicker, which can cause stiffness.
Osteoporosis, however, is a gradual loss of bone density. This usually affects men and women later in life, when the production of estrogen and testosterone slows down. The reduction of these hormones causes a weakening of bone composition, leading to fractures.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
The symptoms of arthritis develop gradually and worsen over time. The signs and symptoms might include pain in the affected joints during or after movement and exercise. The joints tend to be noticeably stiff in the mornings after waking up or after sitting for an extended period of time.
When moving joints that are affected by osteoarthritis, they may feel tender or have a grating sensation. This can also occur due to the formation of bone spurs, which can form around an affected joint.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
The main cause of osteoarthritis is age. As we get older, we can overwork our bodies and joints with sports, work (which can cause overuse injuries), accidents, and gaining too much weight.
If someone has been overweight throughout most of their lifetime, the connective tissues of the joints become stretched and pulled out of their normal position, creating pressure and causing arthritis to develop or become worse.
Some people inherit a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis as well. If someone in your immediate family has it, there is a chance you will also develop it at some point in your life.
What Is Osteoporosis?
This is a growing lack of bone density, which can make bones fragile and brittle with age. As we get older, osteoporosis can cause falls that create a broken bone or broken joint, such as the hip. When the bone suddenly breaks due to this condition, it causes the fall – it isn’t the fall itself that causes the broken bone.
Having a bone density scan can be beneficial to catch osteoporosis in its early stages. If your doctor finds that your bones are beginning to develop osteoporosis, you can take certain measures to help strengthen your bones.
Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?
Some steps that can be taken include medication and physical therapy that focuses on preventing falls. Hormone replacement and high-quality calcium supplements can also be used to try to increase bone density.
If you are in your 60s or later, or if you have a family history of osteoporosis, a bone density scan is highly recommended. It is also a good idea to modify your lifestyle to help avoid fractures or increased bone loss, such as stopping smoking or greatly reducing your alcohol consumption.
Bone Specialists in Fort Lauderdale
Both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can be debilitating in their own way, and many people suffer from them. We at Total Orthopaedic Care specialize in treating bone issues and joint problems of all kinds, so we can help lessen the pain and improve your mobility.
We can be reached at (954) 735-3535 or you can request an appointment online. We’re conveniently located in Pembroke Pines and Lauderdale Lakes, and look forward to serving you.