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Osteoporosis And Osteoarthritis Sound Alike But Are Quite Different Diseases

Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are often confused because they share the prefix "osteo" which means bone.

Although they are two different conditions, they are often found together.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that affects the joints and surrounding tissue including the bone under the joint cartilage.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms of arthritis.

More About Osteoarthritis

This degenerative joint disease involves thinning or destruction of the smooth cartilage that covers the ends of bones, as well as changes to the bone underlying the joint cartilage.

Unlike osteoporosis, which is called the "silent killer" it causes pain, stiffness and reduced movement of the affected joints.

Factors contributing to the development of the disease include family history, physical inactivity, excess weight and overuse or injury of joints.

Arthritis may affect the hips and spine as well as the knees, fingers (base of the thumb, tips and middle joints of the fingers) and feet. Pain can be particularly severe when there is overuse of a joint, prolonged immobility, or a bony growth in the finger joints.

It is diagnosed both through physical examination and x-rays of the affected joints.

The disease can be managed by protecting the joints to decrease the amount of work they have to do; exercising; taking non-prescription pain medication; applying heat and cold treatments; and controlling one's weight.

Severe arthritis may be treated by replacing damaged joints with an artificial implant with knee and hip joint replacements the most common operations performed.

Recent research suggests that strontium may help to slow the progress of osteoarthritis in the knees.

More About Osteoporosis

The word "osteoporosis" means porous bones and refers to both poor bone quantity and quality. While a family history of osteoporosis is a major risk factor, lifestyle and the prolonged use of certain medications also increase risk.

Without a bone scan to provide a warning, a fractured or broken bone is often the first symptom of osteoporosis. By the time a fracture occurs, the bones are already severely weakened and even simple movements can cause additional fractures.

Bone density scans are used to measure bone loss in the spine, hip and neck of the hip.

Vitamins and minerals are an important part of an osteoporosis treatment program even when medication has been prescribed.

Exercise Is Important

Regular weight-bearing exercise is excellent for building bone density but may be difficult in the presence of significant hip or knee arthritis. Gentle exercises such as walking, dancing and tai chi may be preferred by those with significant pain in their joints.