Close

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Is there is a link between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis?

Q) Is there a link between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis? If you have one of these conditions is there more chance that you may get the other? My mother had both. I had an early hysterectomy at the age of 47 in 2001, and was on HRT for five years. I recently had a DEXA scan and found that I have a condition called osteopenia.
Angela Advani, Swindon, Wiltshire (Spring 2008)

A) For a long time rheumatologists have believed that there's an inverse relationship between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis – that is people are unlikely to have both conditions at the same time. In fact it was thought that having osteoporosis is protective against developing osteoarthritis. Now, the facts don’t quite fit with this theory, although some of the evidence is still compelling. Against it are cases we see in everyday practice who present with a new hip joint (replaced because of osteoarthritis) and now with a fracture in another bone and osteoporosis, just like your mother. Osteopenia is used to describe bones that have lost calcium but not severely enough to call it osteoporosis. Usually both these conditions are diagnosed after a DEXA (bone density) scan, which gives a more precise estimate of the amount of calcium in the bones.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.