Osteoarthritis: Gender and the Relationship with Osteoporosis

Published by Steve Hedberg on January 12, 2012 Under arthritis

Osteoarthritis is an extremely common type of arthritis, especially among those over the age of forty-five. In the United States, approximately 10%, or close to 30 Million Americans have osteoarthritis and the risk for this kind of arthritis increases with age.

Ultimately, like most types of arthritis, the exact causes of osteoarthritis are not completely understood. Relationships between use of the joint, injury, and obesity have been found, as it is a type of degenerative arthritis and these risk factors put more stress on the joints. However, there are still many unknowns when it comes to osteoarthritis research.

There is currently no cure for this rheumatoid disorder either, but, like other types of arthritis, there are many treatments that can help prevent the disease from getting worse. There is also a good deal of promising research that involves providing the body with a mechanism to help regrow cartilage around the joints, as osteoarthritis results in damage to this built in shock-absorber. However, these studies are still very much in their infancy and far from being qualified for public use.

Osteoarthritis and Woman

While both men and women develop osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative arthritis, sometimes called wear and tear arthritis, it is most common among females. This is true of other types of arthritis as well, such as rheumatoid arthritis, with women being at a much higher risk for developing arthritis.

The exact reason behind this increased risk of developing arthritis in women is not known, but aside from a few types of, relatively, rare arthritis, like seronegative spondyloarthropathies, women are much more likely to contract these types of diseases.

In regards to osteoarthritis, women are much more likely to get osteoarthritis in their hands and the small joints of their fingers. There has also been a protein related to embryo development, called FRZB , which when experiences a defect, increases the risk for osteoarthritis in the hip in women.

Osteoarthritis versus Osteoporosis

Many of those who have osteoarthritis, also have osteoporosis, but a more direct link has not been identified yet.

Like osteoarthritis, women face a much higher risk of contracting osteoporosis, which is a disease that affects bone density. In someone with osteoporosis, calcium loss in the bones results in a reduction of bone strength, making a bone fracture much easier.

Often, the relationship between these two medical conditions, is more of a predatory one. For example, since people with osteoporosis can break their bones much easier, it is not uncommon for an arthritis related fall to result in a broken hip or bone.

In some instances, osteoarthritis can also make it harder to diagnose osteoporosis, as the arthritis results in bone growths that can mask the loss of bone density.

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