Similar Names, Very Different Conditions
Osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans, 68 percent of whom are women. In osteoporosis, there is a loss of bone tissue that leaves bones less dense and prone to fracture. It can result in a loss of height, severe back pain, and deformity. Osteoporosis can impair a person’s ability to walk and can cause prolonged or permanent disability.
Osteoarthritis is a painful, degenerative joint disease that often involves the hips, knees, neck, lower back, or the small joints of the hands. Osteoarthritis usually develops in joints that are injured by repeated overuse in the performance of a particular job or a favorite sport or from carrying around excess body weight. Eventually this injury or repeated impact thins or wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joint so that the bones rub together, causing a grating sensation. Joint flexibility is reduced, bony spurs develop, and the joint swells. Usually, the first symptom a person has with osteoarthritis is pain that worsens following exercise or immobility.