World Osteoporosis Day 2018: What Is the Difference Between Arthritis and Osteoporosis? Why Are the Two Bone Diseases Confused with Each Other?
Difference betweeen osteoporosis and arthritis. (Photo credit: ANI)

World Osteoporosis Day is celebrated on the 20th of October, every year. With the increasing number of people succumbing to osteoporosis each year, this day helps increase awareness regarding osteoporosis and bone health. One has Osteoporosis usually at an older age. It is when the density of your bone decreases, and there is a reduction in the production of bones like in the younger age. While it affects both the male and the female gender equally, however, women during menopause are slightly more at risk because of the decrease in estrogen in the body. Estrogen helps protect the bones against osteoporosis. Osteoporosis in Women: An Expert Recommends Ways to Keep Your Bones Strong.

This bone-related disease is often associated with pain an fragility of the bone that makes you more prone to have issues in waking or doing difficult tasks. Similar is the case with arthritis in terms of pain in the joints and the bones. This causes many people to confuse osteoporosis with arthritis.

According to Dr Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedics, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi,

'Arthritis and Osteoporosis are two very common types of bone-related problems. Though these two diseases are very different, these are incorrectly used interchangeably.'

What is the difference between osteoporosis and arthritis?

He describes that Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than 100 types of bone or joint pains and that the pain related to arthritis can be mild to severe. It usually accompanies symptoms such as swelling, stiffness and reduced motion range.

However, Osteoporosis, on the other hand, is caused by the decreased density of the bones over time. In a healthy body, the tissues of the bones get rebuilt by the body regularly. You have osteoporosis when this process lessens to the extent that there begins to happen breakdown more than the build-up. This causes the bones to become brittle and prone to fracture.

Symptoms of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis show very mild or negligible symptoms. Major symptoms are:

1. Become more prone to fractures

2. Sometimes developing a stooped posture.

3. May even experience a loss in height.

4. A persistent dull ache in the neck or lower back.

Why do people confuse osteoporosis and arthritis?

There are a few factors which are common to both these diseases, the reason why people usually get confused. Out of the two elements, one is that both are bone problems and tend to occur in people who are in their old age. (However, since arthritis has many types, it is not uncommon to see it develop in people in the younger age bracket.) Secondly, women are more prone to these bone diseases the reason being; women have less bone tissue as compared to men.