Happy Friday!  This week we have been discussing Osteoporosis.  On Tuesday we tackled what it is, who it affects, and how it is diagnosed and how physiotherapy can help.  Yesterday we learned some general dos and don’ts for an exercise programme for someone diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Today I want to answer some FAQ’s about Osteoporosis:

1) What is the difference between osteoporosis and osteopenia? 

Osteopenia is the forerunner of osteoporosis.  When your bone density is lower than normal but not low enough to be diagnosed with osteoporosis, you may be told you have osteopenia.  Not everyone who has osteopenia will progress to having osteoporosis, so do what you can now to prevent the progression (hint- start exercising!)

2) What is the difference between osteoporosis and osteoarthritis? 

Because the words are similar they are frequently confused.  In fact, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are completely different conditions.  While osteoporosis is the loss of bone tissue, osteoarthritis is the inflammation and degeneration of the cartilage that lines our joints. It is possible to have both conditions at the same time.

3) Is Osteoporosis painful? 

Osteoporosis is known as the “silent thief” because the loss of bone minerals is very gradual and has no symptoms.  However, when osteoporosis progresses it can lead to very fragile bones, and these bones can break (aka fracture) from something as gentle as bending over or coughing.  These fractures can occur in the spine and other bones, and are very painful.

 4) What is the most important thing I can do when I am diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia? 

Follow the advice of your doctor regarding medication and nutrition, and be assessed by a physiotherapist who can prescribe you a personalized exercise programme to help slow the loss of bone mass.  It is never too late to start- the perfect time is NOW!