Bone Health

Arthritis

Many people start to feel pain and stiffness in their bodies over time. Hands, knees or shoulders get sore, hard to move and may become swollen. Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. Joints are places where two bones meet.

There is more than one type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down.

The main goal of osteoarthritis treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis or a related condition and what to do about it. It’s true that arthritis can be painful, but your doctor will guide you in feeling better.

For more information: www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.php

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones to the point that they become fragile and break easily. Throughout our lives, the body breaks down old bone and replaces it with new bone. But as people age, more bone is broken down than is replaced. Although osteoporosis can strike at any age, it is most common among older people, especially older women. The inside of a bone normally looks like a honeycomb, but when a person has osteoporosis, the spaces inside this honeycomb become larger, reflecting the loss of bone density and strength. The word "osteoporosis" means "porous bone."

Women and men with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist, but any bone can be affected. Broken hips are very serious and greatly increase the risk of death, especially during the year after they break. Weak bones in the spine can cause fractures, as well as gradual loss of height and a hunched over posture.

The good news is that osteoporosis can often be prevented and treated. If you are 65 or older, ask your doctor about a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test, which may reveal if you have fragile bones. A proper diet, exercise, and medications if needed can help prevent further bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.

For more information: www.nof.org/patients/what-is-osteoporosis/