Osteoporosis and Arthritis

People often confuse osteoporosis with other forms of arthritis. While these conditions both affect the bone, they have a different pathophysiology and are treated using vastly different medicines and supplements. Hence, it is very important for patients suffering from these conditions to have a good understanding of each condition and how to treat them correctly.

The causes of osteoporosis and the two main types of arthritis (Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis) are very different.

  • Osteoporosis is an age related breakdown of bone tissue leading to a higher risk of bone fracture
  • Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that develops in joints that are injured by repeated overuse or from carrying too much weight
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease affecting the joints where enzymes attack its own healthy tissues

As such, the treatment and management for each condition is also very different.

Osteoporosis Management:

  • Have a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat calcium-rich foods (milk, yoghurt, tofu) and absorb enough vitamin D
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Limit caffeine
  • Do regular weight-bearing and strength-training activities.
  • Medications can help slow down the breakdown of bone tissue and relieve pain.

Osteoarthritis Management:

  • Weight management is important for those who are overweight and have osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints
  • Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM supplementation to help restore the loss of cartilage inside a joint
  • Pain relieving medication can help. Speak to your doctor for suitable options
  • Surgery may be appropriate to replace damaged joints in severe cases of arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Management:

  • Medication can help control symptoms and stop disease progression
  • Relaxation techniques can help manage pain and difficult emotions
  • Exercise helps maintain muscle strength, joint flexibility and assist in managing pain
  • Complementary therapies such as omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis

Evidently, each of these bone related conditions have to be treated with different management measures. Be sure to ask your Pharmacist for further advice to managing these condition and suitable supplements that will be beneficial for you.

Reference: Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis & Osteoarthritis - Better Health Channel (Supported by Arthritis Victoria inc. Osteoporosis Victoria) Reviewed: Oct 2013

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