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Arthritis Risk Factors

Arthritis Risk

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

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

Non-modifiable risk factors

  • Age: The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
  • Sex: Most types of arthritis are more common in women; nearly 60% of all people with arthritis are women. Ankylosing spondylitis and gout are more common in men.
  • Genetic: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Modifiable risk factors

  1. Overweight and Obesity: Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee and hip osteoarthritis.
  2. Physical inactivity: Is associated with increased severity and progression of many types of arthritis.
  3. Joint Injuries: Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
  4. Smoking: Is linked to the progression and severity of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
  5. Infection: Many microbial agents can infect joints and potentially cause the development of various forms of arthritis.
  6. Occupation: Certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.
  7. 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 the development and management of gout.