Osteoporosis vs Osteoarthritis- What Are the Differences

Osteoporosis vs Osteoarthritis – What Are the Differences?

One common misconception that a lot of people seem to have is that osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are the same issue, whereas they are actually completely different from one another.

The reason why people tend to confuse between the two is because usually someone suffering from the former disease eventually contracts the latter one as well.

While most people have osteoarthritis, not everyone actually contracts osteoporosis. How is that possible? Well, we’ll get to that later on. Right now, let us check out what osteoporosis vs osteoarthritis really is, and how they differ from each other.


Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, is actually a degenerative joint issue that takes place amongst aging individuals. The prolonged wear and tear of joint tissue can catapult a person into developing OA in the long run.

The reason why OA is so painful at times is because of the loss of fluid in between cartilages. This in turn creates a lot of friction, thus resulting in tremendous joint pain and inflammation for the patients.


Osteoarthritis usually develops around the joints and tissues, which tend to be the hands, neck, feet, the hips and lower back.

The reason why OA is so common among people of all ages is because of the fact that it is related with your own body weight. For example, those suffering from obesity are at a higher risk of contracting OA in the later years of their life.

Excess mass in the body can affect the way you function on a day to day basis. As a result, the immense pressure exerted on some parts and limbs of your body can develop OA rather early.

See also: 10 Best Mattress for Osteoarthritis Sufferers

Eventually, osteoarthritis starts to wear and tear away the bone joints and tissues as it fails to cope with the excess pressure being exerted on a daily basis. The bones therefore start to rub against one another, and this causes severe pain and inflammation.


Those with osteoarthritis can also fall into a severe condition where they lose all kinds of mobility and function in the body, as every joint starts to tear and wear out in time.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Similar to many joint issues, OA can also be detected from an earlier period of time. Some common symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
  • Declined flexibility in the joints and muscles
  • Noticeable, sharp pain in the bones and joints
  • Stiff fingers
  • Bone spurs
  • Tenderness in the joints
  • Unfamiliar swelling around the hip, lower back and fingers
  • Inflammation around the elbows and wrists
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

These symptoms are some of the most common ones that tend to develop amongst patients of all ages and genders.


On the other hand, Osteoporosis is the term given to bone issues. Contrary to popular belief, osteoporosis (also known as OP) is actually painless!

Even though the risks of developing fractures are more for those with OP, the issue itself is quite pain-free and does not seem to create any problems for patients until the bone starts to decay eventually.

This happens due to the loss of bone mass in one’s body. The excess fragmentation in bone tissue and mass causes the skeleton to slowly start decaying. However, OP does not affect the entire body at once, as only some limbs might get affected.


The worst thing that osteoporosis can do to you is disable you for life. This seems to the fear of many people with mild osteoporosis, as OP has the tendency to drastically turn really severe without any notice.

Other than that, OP can also hinder a person’s ability to walk and stand straight, while also creating a loss of height and built. As bone mass starts decaying, you will also start growing weaker every day. 

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

On the other hand, the symptoms of osteoporosis are rather hard to notice, since this disease is pretty much a silent killer.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The way OP works is by striking out of random, which in turn can be a really bother to check up on as you probably will not have any clue as to what even happened to begin with.

1. Lowered Bone Density

You will be able to know whether the density of your bone is deteriorating or not if you experience fractures from even the softest of falls. This makes OP really difficult to diagnose, especially if you had no other experience with it before.

Hence, it is a very good idea to make an appointment with your doctor on a monthly basis and have them check up on you so that even if you are unlucky enough to develop osteoporosis, it could still be treated while in its early stages.

2. Decreasing Height

This usually happens due to the bone tissue in your spine being broken down at a faster rate than it is being regenerated. When this happens, your spine will lose its ability to stay erect and you will therefore start stooping more. Hence, this will give off the impression that your height has decreased.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

3. Constant Back Pain

This is similar to the point we just mentioned. In osteoporosis, the tissue which makes up the entirety of a person’s bones are broken down but are not then rebuilt fast enough.

In general, every living tissue in the body goes through the process of breaking and regeneration, but patients with osteoporosis suffer from slowed rate of regrowth.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

If you have osteoporosis, all your bones will suffer in a similar fashion and one of the ways to telling whether you have this condition or not is by seeing if you find bending or leaning difficult.

If you do have osteoporosis, there is a high chance that your vertebra will crack or collapse if you put even the slightest strain on it.

How to Prevent Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis from Developing

Diseases as such are really hard to curb away, but it is not exactly impossible to prevent them from taking place in the first place.

As mentioned before, osteoarthritis develops in the joints and tissues of the bone, which is why the pain is so severe and frequent. However, osteoporosis on the other hand, is completely painless until it strikes and creates a fracture in the skeletal tissues.

To prevent both of these diseases from happening, what you really need to do is maintain a strict diet from the early years of your life.

This means having to drink pure and organic milk on a daily basis, as well as maintaining a strict diet and working out.

Calcium deficiency can in fact trigger or give rise to OP. This is why you need to consume good amounts of food with calcium religiously.

Some foods that are rich in calcium are:

  • Pure, organic milk
  • Soya drinks
  • Green veggies
  • Oily fish
  • Cheese

These food items are rich with calcium, so consuming them in the earlier stages of your life can really help cope with OA and OP after you cross the age of 30.

However, simply changing your diet to healthy will not do much in keeping you safe from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. You also need to lead a healthy life by making sure to work out daily and also keep your entire body engaged in activities.

If you cannot exercise too frequently, simply going for a run early in the morning or before the sun sets in the afternoon can still contribute to keeping your body and mind healthy.

You should also try to incorporate healthy supplements into your diet for every meal if possible.

Thanks to technology and medical advancements, you can now consume healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals through supplements as well. So why not take that to your advantage in staying healthy?

The risks of developing osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are greater if you have diabetes or any other kinds of issues related to the heart. As mentioned before, getting a check-up at least once a month can really help you notice any sort of unfamiliar signs related bone density joint’s wear and tear early.

With early detection, you can still take the necessary measures in counter-attacking the condition.

Who Are More at Risk of Developing Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis?

Generally, people who have a second or third underlying disease seem to be at greater risks of having osteoarthritis and osteoporosis in the later years of life. Moreover, it is thought that White and Asian middle aged women (or women who have already undergone menopause), are more prone to developing osteoporosis.

Mattress for Osteoporosis Sufferers

Anyone with joint conditions such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis will agree that sleeping does not come as easily to them as it does to someone who does not have any of these chronic complications.

In cases like these, you could always opt for an organic latex mattress for osteoporosis sufferers, or even a memory foam mattress that has a soft or moderate density support foam under it. Moreover, you could even go for an adjustable bed since a lot of patients also found that rather helpful.


That was all for our article on osteoporosis vs osteoarthritis. We hope you found this helpful. Thank you for reading this till the end!

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