(Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon)

What Factors Increase the Risk of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in your joints breaks down, leading to a breakdown of the smooth surface that normally allows bones to glide. With less cartilage, bones begin to rub together when you move, creating more friction and pain. Osteoarthritis can cause mild to severe symptoms in your hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, and knees.

Osteoarthritis typically begins in middle age, but it can strike at any age. While anyone can get osteoarthritis (OA), there are certain factors that increase a person’s risk. Let’s take a look at some of these risk factors and learn how they impact a person’s chance of developing osteoarthritis.

Age: Aging plays a big role in osteoarthritis because it increases the wear and tears on joints. The more you use your joints, the more wear and tear they get. Moreover, as you age, your joints lose their shock-absorbing ability. This causes stress on your joints from weight-bearing activities such as walking or standing.

Obesity: Excess weight causes stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. For every pound gained, there is a four-pound increase in the load across your knee joint when you walk or exercise. Losing some extra pounds can help reduce pain and improve function in people with knee OA.

Old injuries: Previous joint injury may trigger osteoarthritis later in life because damaged cartilage may not heal completely. Injuries that may place you at higher risk include broken bones around a joint or injuries that affect ligaments, such as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Genetics: Osteoarthritis sometimes runs in families. Experts think that several genes are involved in the development of OA, but they don’t know which ones. They also don’t know how many genes it takes to cause the disease. This type of genetic involvement is called polygenic inheritance.

(Note that even if you have a family history of osteoarthritis, but you take good care of your body, you may be able to prevent or slow down its progression. You can do this through exercise, weight loss, and other lifestyle changes.)

Gender: Osteoarthritis affects men and women equally. Women, however, are at greater risk for developing knee osteoarthritis. The higher risk for women may be related to changes in the hormone estrogen during menopause, which can lead to bone thinning. Hormone changes also may affect the cartilage in joints.

Final words

Osteoarthritis can be a painful and debilitating condition to suffer through, but there are a few measures individuals can take to prevent and manage it.

Several osteoarthritis treatment options are available, but the use of certain treatments may vary among patients depending on their risk factors. As you learn about all your treatment options, focusing on preventing osteoarthritis is as important as managing the condition.

If you need to consult a specialist, get in touch with the best osteoarthritis doctor in Kolkata.

If you’re dealing with other orthopedic conditions, contact the right specialist. For instance, if you’re dealing with knee pain, get in touch with a ligament specialist doctor in Kolkata.

Recommended Reads:

Everything You Should Know About Osteoarthritis

What Are The Four Stages of Osteoarthritis?