Osteoporosis & Arthritis

difference between osteoporosis and arthritis

Many people often mistake the different conditions of osteoporosis and arthritis, though they can be easily confused. Below we explain the main differences between the two.


where osteoporosis occursOsteoporosis is a condition which has an effect on the bones, making them become less dense and increases the chances of a fracture. In the United Kingdom, more than 3 million people have osteoporosis with around 300,000 people needing treatment each year due to fractures caused by osteoporosis. Usually no warnings signs are raised until you've developed osteoporosis and it's often only diagnosed when a bone is fractured after minor falls. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease as it can go undetected for a long time with it only being diagnosed when a fracture occurs.

Factors that have an effect on osteoporosis:

  • Age – Risk goes up with age after mid 30’s
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Having a small bone structure
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive intake of alcohol
  • Eating disorders


The difference between osteoporosis and arthritisArthritis is a term for conditions affecting the joints and surrounding tissues. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In the UK alone, more than 10 million people live with arthritis with the majority having osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful, degenerative joint disease that often has an impact on the hips, knees, neck, lower back, or small joints of the hands. Overusing joints that are injured by performing a particular task for example like playing sport or carrying around excess body weight. This repeated act wears away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the joint. The result is that the bones rub together, which causes a grating sensation which inflicts pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease involving various joints in the fingers, thumbs, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, feet, and ankles. People with RA also may have systemic symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, weight loss, eye inflammation, anaemia, bumps under the skin, or a lung inflammation.

Due to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis sounding similar, their names can cause great confusion. They may sound the same but there is a big difference in the symptoms; diagnosis and treatments of both conditions. People with OA generally do not often have osteoporosis but on the other hand, caused by some medicines used in the treatment RA, bone loss can occur resulting in those with RA to get osteoporosis.