Arthritis Risk Factors

Each form of arthritis has its own particular risk factors, some of which we cannot change i.e., non-modifiable risk factors and others that we can control i.e., modifiable risk factors.

Some of the most common risk factors for the development of arthritis include:

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors

Age: Arthritis can develop at any age. The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.

Sex: Most types of arthritis are more common in women; an estimated 64% of all people with arthritis are women. Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and gout are more common in men.

Hormones: There is a possible hormonal link for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with evidence of disease changes occurring around menopause and pregnancy (particularly in RA). Hormones have also been found to be associated with disease progression.

Genetic-predisposition: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as RA, SLE, and AS.  Specific genes influence the severity of RA.

Modifiable Risk Factors

Physical inactivity: is associated with increased severity and progression of many types of arthritis.

Diet: plays an important role in healthy weight maintenance, which is a key factor in the prevention/reduction of disease progression. It is also an identified risk factor for gout development and management.

Overweight and Obesity: Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee, hip and hand osteoarthritis (OA). It is also associated with severity/progression of several types of arthritis.

Joint Injuries: Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of OA in that joint.

Smoking: is linked to the progression and severity of RA and SLE.

Occupation: Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with OA of the knee and hip.

Infection: is a possible initiator for inflammatory types of arthritis, particularly RA

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