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21 Sep 2013

Arthritis – Risk Factors

If you start to experience the first signs and symptoms of arthritis like trouble walking or joint pain, it is so important to talk to your health care professional at once particularly if you are at high risk of developing arthritis.

The risk factors for developing arthritis include age; genetics and gender; lifestyle; work, injury and infection; and body weight. These exacerbate the chances of a person in developing arthritis at certain periods in their life.

Age – Just because arthritis is typically found in seniors and adults, it does not mean that younger people are immune to developing this condition. Actually, statistics reveal that around 8% of people between 18 to 44 years of age are diagnosed with arthritis. For people 65 years and older, the case for arthritis rises to almost 50%. Hence, while individuals including teens and even children can develop arthritis, it is most often seen in people 65 years and above.

Genetics and gender – Statistics reveal that women are more predisposed to developing arthritis – around 60% of people diagnosed with arthritis are female. However, with over a hundred different forms of arthritis, some of these types are seem more in males than females – some types, on the other hand are more found in females than males.

In terms of genetics, medical researchers have discovered a gene that enhances the risk of arthritis in some individuals. These genes can be passed on to their offspring and so people who have relatives and parents with arthritis can acquire this condition via their genetic make up.

Tobacco use and smoking (Lifestyle) – Besides making the body prone to a myriad of illnesses, tobacco smoking or chewing has been shown to heighten the risk of getting specific forms of arthritis. One specific type of arthritis chain smokers most will likely develop is rheumatoid arthritis.

Work injury and infection – Work that entail repetitive tasks such as constant keyboard encoding may help develop arthritis. Specific types of work like online writing, encoding and medical transcription are some of the high risk jobs for developing arthritis. Joint infection due to injury can end up with the person developing arthritis. Traumatic accidents such as an auto accident can cause joint injury among others which can develop into arthritis.

Body Weight – Individuals who are way above their normal weight are highly at risk in getting arthritis. The reason for their arthritis is the wear and tear and the excessive pressure their weight bears on their joints.

Ethnicity – This is not as key as the other risk factors, although it is still a risk factor albeit a minor one. Scientists and researchers have found correlations between the predisposition of arthritis and ethnicity.

 

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