Osteoporosis And Osteoarthritis: Are They The Same Or Different?

Written by Dr. Jatin Bhide on Tue, 01 August 2023 — Fact checked by Dr. Iunis Galina Ivanovna

Key Highlights

  • Less hormones can create bone and joint disorders.
  • Men and women need 1000 mg of calcium per day.
  • Most of the hip fractures are a result of osteoporosis.
  • Both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can be present at the same time.

Planning to go on the much-awaited hiking trip with your friends? But hands and legs not supporting your decision? You may need to get your bone and joint health checked.

Each movement that your body does is due to your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and other parts of the musculoskeletal system of your body.

Don’t disappoint your joints!

The musculoskeletal system in the body consists of bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons, all of which support your body’s weight, provide a posture and help you move around.

This system helps you walk, run, sit and do all different types of movements. The bones provide your body a structure and the joints are the places where two or more bones are connected.

Various factors can contribute to problems in the musculoskeletal system like aging, injuries, birth defects, and diseases.

When you work towards your overall health, your musculoskeletal system also becomes healthy.

What is osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes bone loss. The quality and quantity of the bones reduce and the bones become extremely weak and brittle. People with osteoporosis are more prone to fractures.

Bone is a living tissue that is constantly broken down and replaced with new tissue. However, in osteoporosis the formation of new tissue does not match the rate of loss of old tissue.

Both men and women are affected by osteoporosis. However, the risk of osteoporosis increases with age and is seen to a larger extent in women.

During menopause, lowered estrogen levels in women are one of the most vital risk factors for the development of osteoporosis. In men, reduced testosterone levels can speed up bone loss.

1. Symptoms of osteoporosis

Initially, there may not be any visible symptoms of osteoporosis. In fact, most people with osteoporosis have no symptoms at all.

It is only when your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, that the symptoms may start to appear. Symptoms include:

  • Back pain due to fractured vertebrae
  • A stooped posture due to spine curvature
  • Loss of height over time

2. How can you prevent osteoporosis?

Adequate nutrition and exercise are key factors to keep your bones healthy. Here’s what you should be doing to prevent osteoporosis:

Know The Difference Between Osteoporosis And Osteoarthritis

1. Nutrition

  • Men and women need 1000 milligrams of calcium per day for good bone health.
  • Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and achieve healthy bones. Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  • For calcium, eat low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, and soy products like tofu.
  • For vitamin D, add cod liver oil, salmon, and vitamin D-fortified cereals to your diet.

2. Exercise

  • Exercising helps you build stronger bones and slower your bone loss.
  • Combine different types of exercises like strength-training, weight-bearing and balance exercises.
  • Strength-training exercises strengthen your muscles and bones in the arms and upper part of the spine.
  • Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, jogging and climbing the stairs benefit the bones in your legs, hips and lower part of the spine. Balancing exercises like Tai chi lower your risk of falling.

What is osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In a joint, there is a tissue called cartilage which cushions the joint and prevents the bones from rubbing against each other.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage of a joint breaks down, thereby causing the bones of the joint to rub against each other; this causes pain and difficulty in moving the joint.

Around 240 million adults worldwide have symptomatic osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects the entire joint and many factors may contribute to it. These include old age, obesity, joint injuries, bone deformities, and genetics.

Post-menopausal women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in their knees as compared to men.

Certain medical conditions like diabetes, elevated lipids and cholesterol also increase the incidence of osteoarthritis due to increased oxidative stress in the body.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and may become worse with time resulting in chronic pain and stiffness in the joints.

1. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis

The symptoms of osteoarthritis develop slowly and may worsen with time. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Swelling
  • Crackling of bones

2. How to prevent osteoarthritis from developing

You may not be able to completely prevent osteoarthritis from developing but you can minimize the risks by avoiding injuries and living a healthy lifestyle.

  • Avoid all types of exercises that put a strain on your joints and cause them to bear an excessive load like running, and weight-training. Instead, try swimming and cycling where you can control the strain on your joints.
  • Try doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity like cycling every week.
  • Always try to maintain a good posture and never stay in the same posture for a long time.
  • Lose excess weight to avoid straining your joints.

Know The Difference Between Osteoporosis And Osteoarthritis


Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis may sound similar but they are two different conditions. Apart from the word, ‘osteo’, they have very less in common. Osteoporosis is a bone disorder which makes the bones weak and brittle to an extent where they can literally break. More than 90% of hip and spine fractures are caused by osteoporosis.

Osteoarthritis on the other hand, is a joint and cartilage disorder in which the cartilage which cushions the bones of a joint breaks down and the bones rub against each other producing pain and discomfort.

Approximately 10% of the population in general has problems due to osteoarthritis. A person may have osteoporosis and osteoarthritis at the same time.

Both these conditions differ but eventually affect the bones. Steps should be taken to reduce the risk of these disorders like avoiding certain exercises and eating a healthy diet to keep the bones healthy for a lifetime.


Dr. Jatin Bhide

Dr Jatin Bhide is an Ayurvedic doctor with over 16 years of enriching experience in Marketing and Strategy across OTC/FMHG, herbal medicine and Nutraceuticals (Europe) industries. He did his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Mumbai University, before moving on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Management.

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  1. Sobowale olanrewaju kayode

    Wed, 26 April 2023, 1 year ago

    Thanks so much for this educative information


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    1. Musculoskeletal system, Available at Cleveland Clinic.
    2. Osteoporosis, Available at Harvard Health.
    3. Osteoarthritis, Available at Mayo Clinic.
    4. Avdić D. Journal of Health Sciences. 2012 Dec 15;2(3):165-8.
    5. Osteoarthritis, Available at Cleveland Clinic.

    Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

    Current Version

    Aug, 01 2023

    Written By

    Dr. Jatin Bhide

    Fact checked By

    Dr. Iunis Galina Ivanovna