What is Osteoporosis?
Throughout the life, old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is added (formation) to the skeleton. During childhood and teenage years, new bone is added faster than old bone is removed. As a result, bones become larger, heavier and denser.
Bone formation continues at a pace faster than resorption until the maximum bone density is reached at around the age of 25 years. After that age, bone resorption slowly begins to exceed bone formation.
Osteoporosis develops when bone resorption occurs too quickly or if replacement occurs too slowly. This can be considered as ageing process; it is more common in women as after menopause due to lack of oestrogen bone loss is faster.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is inflammation of the joint. There can be several types of osteoarthritis like Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout but commonest one is called degenerative arthritis which again is an ageing process. The main symptom of osteoarthritis is joint pain.
Can I have both together?
Yes, they can and they do in most of the cases. But Osteoporosis does not lead to Osteoarthritis. In long-standing severe Osteoarthritis, as the joint and muscle are not used properly, the surrounding bones can become weaker and develop osteoporosis of the bones around the joint.
What are the differences in symptoms?
Osteoporosis is a silent disease. People may not know that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump or a simple fall causes a fracture. Collapsed vertebral fracture may present with severe back pain and loss of height.
On the other hand osteoarthritis always will have pain; people will come to see Doctor for the pain. The movement of the joint affected will become restricted. Some of them may require joint replacement.
How do we treat them?
Osteoporosis is treated medically, it is a medical condition. A mainstay of treatment is active physiotherapy and a good intake of Calcium and Vitamin D. There are medicines available called Bisphosphonates.
Osteoarthritis if it is degenerative, initially we treat with physiotherapy, Calcium Vitamin D along with pain killers. Later we may require surgery such as joint replacement. Osteoarthritis is due to a specific disease like Rheumatoid arthritis, there is certain specific treatment available.