Osteoporosis and arthritis are two diseases that affect the skeletal system, and as such are often mixed up with each other, particularly osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The diagnosis and symptoms are very different for the two diseases, though neither have a cure. Of the two main types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the name osteoarthritis is mostly likely to be confused with osteoporosis, but in fact it is those who develop rheumatoid arthritis that are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a state where the risk of breaking a bone becomes more likely, as they become less dense. This condition affects approximately 44 million people in the United States. As almost 70% of these are women, the disease is often considered to be a woman’s health issue, but it does affect men around 30% of the time. The bone density loss can cause back pain, posture changes and even a loss of height. Factors that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis include small bone structure, early onset menopause, amenhorrhea, lack of calcium in the diet, smoking, and a family history of osteoporosis.
One particular danger of osteoporosis is that it develops over a long period of time without discovery by bone density testing. Generally, the first symptom to cause testing is a breakage in the bone. There is no cure, but there are medications that can help. To aid in prevention of developing osteoporosis, it is recommended to have a healthy lifestyle including exercise and food with a lot of calcium and vitamin D.
Arthritis is a word for several diseases, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Both types of arthritis affect the joints and joint tissues. With osteoarthritis, the focus is generally at the hips, knees, neck and hands. These joints can be overused by certain repetitive activities or excess weight. These conditions essentially erodes the cartilage that provides a pillow between the bones.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints in the extremities first. This form of arthritis is autoimmune and involves the body attacking the cartilage and lining at the joints. Neither form of arthritis has a cure, though both have symptoms such as pain and swelling which can be somewhat managed through medication.