Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis

Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are totally different entities. Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease in the joints of the body causing severe pain. Osteoporosis is thinning of the bone, usually in females after menopause. Both diseases affect human in the later part of the life.

What is Osteoarthritis?

In osteoarthritis, usually the damage of the cartilage, which cover the articulating part of the joints, will trigger the disease. The patient will complain of pain, crepitus sound on movement and joint deformity in the latter stage. Overweight, infection to the joint (septic arthritis), damage to the joint surfaces (during accidents), and some genetic diseases are the risk factors for developing osteoarthritis. The joints that bear the weight are usually affected by osteoarthritis. Knee joints and hip joints are bearing the body weight and are more prone to develop osteoarthritis. Damage to the joint may increase the bone formation, and this bone formation affects the smoothness of the joint surface and causes pain and difficulty in movement. Usual medical management is giving simple painkillers such as paracetamol with the advice of weight reduction, if they are obese. Vertebral joints and hands and other joints also are affected by osteoarthritis. In advanced cases, with severe joint deformity, the joint replacement will be adopted as treatment. Knee replacement is a good example of joint replacement.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease condition usually affects females after the menopause. In this condition, the mineral (calcium) density is reduced; therefore, the bones can be broken with small stress or accidental fall. The oestrogen, a hormone actively secreted in female during the reproductive period, will reduce the bone demineralization and prevent osteoporosis. After menopause, the oestrogen is not secreted by the ovaries, so the de mineralization may be accelerated. Earlier, hormone replacement therapy was used to reduce the incidence of the osteoporosis. However, now it is abundant due to other side effects. Ageing also causes osteoporosis in both male and female. This is also common in female than male.


What is the difference between Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis?

• Osteoarthritis is the disease of the joints. Osteoporosis is a disease in the bone.

• Osteoarthritis shows symptoms, specially, pain from the onset of disease. Osteoporosis may be asymptomatic till bone fracture occurs in the late stage.

• Osteoarthritis is common in males, and osteoporosis is common in females.

• Pain killers will be used in osteoarthritis, and drugs that reduce bone destruction will be used in osteoporosis.

• Joint x ray will help to diagnose osteoarthritis, and bone density scan will help to diagnose osteoporosis.