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The Difference Between Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis

Q: What's the difference between osteoporosis and osteoarthritis?

Dr. Donnica:
One reason that osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are often confused is that they both begin with "osteo" meaning "bone". The other reason is that both conditions are so prevalent in women over age 60 that many women have both conditions simultaneously.

The word "osteoporosis" simply means "porous bones". It is an age-related disease associated with a gradual thinning and weakening of the bones. This can lead to an increase in fractures, usually in the spine, hip or wrist. It basically has two root causes- not building enough bone in the first place and loss of bone later in life, generally from the decreased estrogen of menopause.

The term "arthritis" refers to an inflammation of the joints. There are now known to be more than 100 types of arthritis. Five of those account for nine out of ten cases: osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia, lupus, and gout. Two of the most common types of arthritis, both of which are very common in women, are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is generally a result of wear and tear, aging or injury to the joints. It is very commonly associated with aging.

For more information on osteoporosis, click here.
For more information on osteoarthritis, click here.

Created: 10/4/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

 Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis are very common in women. 

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