Many people are particularly at risk of developing arthritis at some point in their lives, and most of them don’t even know it. Even though some risk factors can’t be controlled, each of us has some power over the ones that can be controlled.
Here is what you need to know about the arthritis risk factors that could be present in your situation.
Age is one of the arthritis risk factors that we have no control on. Even though it’s possible to develop some types of arthritis at any age, the risk increases as we age. This means that even though it’s not impossible for a teenager to develop arthritis, it’s more common for older adults.
There are different types of arthritis, and experts don’t really know why some types are more common in women than in men. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia are more common arthritis risk factors in women, while men are the ones that are more at risk of developing gout and ankylosing spondylitis.
3. Genetic predisposition
Our genes can play against us when it comes to the risk of developing different types of arthritis. Some people are simply born with a genetic predisposition to develop ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematous, and their genes can also make the symptoms of their arthritis even worse.
Finally, our hormones are among the arthritis risk factors that we have no control on. Some hormones have been associated with the development and the progression of arthritis, and women who are pregnant or approaching menopausis are more at risk of suffering from some types of arthritis.
People who are obese, or simply overweight, are more at risk of developing knee and hip osteoarthritis than people who have a healthy weight. Excess weight puts more stress on joints, which can worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
If you are overweight, try to make some changes to your diet and to your lifestyle so you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This should help reduce your risk of developing arthritis.
6. Physical inactivity
People who are not physically active are more at risk of developing many types of arthritis, and if they do, their symptoms will probably be a lot more severe than the symptoms of someone who frequently exercises.
Even if you don’t enjoy sports, try to add more exercise to your daily schedule. Simply walking for 30 minutes each day could make a difference. Being more active will reduce your risk of developing arthritis while improving your overall health.
Smoking is bad for health, and it’s another factor that can increase your risk of developing arthritis. People who smoke are more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and their symptoms will probably be more severe than if they had never touched a cigarette.
If you are smoking, you can reduce your risk by simply quitting. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially if you have been smoking for many years, but this is a wonderful gift you can give yourself if you are hoping to be healthier and to live longer.
8. Joint injuries
Injured joints are more likely to suffer from arthritis than healthy joints. Repetitive stress on the knees, for example, can cause some damage that will lead to osteoarthritis.
Of course, you don’t decide to get a joint injury, but if you practice a sport or an activity where joint injuries are frequent, you can at least do what you can to try to prevent them. Different exercises, for example, can help prevent knee injuries. Seeing a chiropractor can also be helpful in reducing the pain of joint injuries.
Many bacteria and viruses can end up infecting our joints, which can potentially lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis or other types of arthritis.
If you notice that some of your joints are red, swollen and painful, they are probably infected. You should see your doctor as soon as possible so they can find the cause of the infection, and help you treat it. Reacting as soon as possible will reduce the risk of developing arthritis.
For some people, what they do for a living can be an important arthritis risk factor. Someone who has to frequently bend their knees or squat, for example, could develop osteoarthritis in their knees or hips.
If your occupation requires repetitive bending and squatting, and if you are feeling pain in your knees or hips, you should try to see if there is a more ergonomic way to perform the tasks you have to perform.