Risk factors to arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint and a condition that many people assume is an inevitability as a person ages. In some ways, the assumption is right given that the degeneration of bone and joints is a natural part of the aging process. Think of your risk factors to arthritis in the same way as your skin.

Sun damage in your youth, for example, can lead to the development of cancer 30 or 40 years later. The same applies to joints. While we tend to think of arthritis as one thing, there are actually over 100 different forms of the disorder, each with their own set of causes and risk factors. Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult since multiple, overlapping factors typically contribute to its development.

What we do know is that a family history can suggest an increased risk depending on the type of arthritis involved. Other forms of arthritis seem less influenced by genetics. The development of osteoarthritis is typically seen to begin between the ages of 40 and 50, although it can start earlier in other forms of the disorder. This is especially true for the joint of the hips and knees, where excessive weight can impact the joint directly and cause inflammation that gradually eats away joint tissues. As such, protective measures are often put in place to minimize damage caused by heavy lifting and activities that demand the constant flexure and retraction of a joint.

Even minor repetitive movements like pulling a lever or pushing a cart can cause deterioration of bone and joint cartilage over a period of years. We’re not just talking about contact sports but ones, such as long-distance running, that place persistent impact stress on a joint. On the flip side, moderate, routine exercise can minimize the symptoms or development of arthritis by bolstering the muscular structure around a joint, giving it support. Is There Anything You Can Do to Prevent Arthritis? What Are the Risk Factors for Lung Cancer? Who Is Most Likely to Develop Arthritis? Do You Have Any of the Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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