What causes osteoarthritis?
While doctors have not yet identified any single known cause of osteoarthritis, factors that might cause it include:
There are several risk factors which increase the likelihood that you will experience osteoarthritis. Knowing and controlling these risk factors can help you minimize your risk or even help prevent osteoarthritis altogether. Keep in mind that having risk factors for osteoarthritis doesn’t necessarily mean you will be diagnosed with the joint disease. In fact, no single risk factor can cause arthritis; it is more likely that a combination of risk factors works together to cause the disease.
Age – The risk for developing osteoarthritis increases as you age. Normal “wear and tear” damages the joint. It follows that the older you are, the most you’ve used the joints.
Bone deformities - People born with malformed joints or defective cartilage experience increased risk of osteoarthritis.
Genetics - Inherited abnormalities of the bones that affect the shape or stability of the joints can lead to osteoarthritis. Increased laxity or double jointed-ness also increases the risk of osteoarthritis. Researchers have also been examining a defect in the gene responsible for manufacturing cartilage increasing risk for osteoarthritis.
Injury - Athletes and people who place increased stress on certain joints can increase damage to the joints. Osteoarthritis also develops in later years in joints where bones have been fractured or surgery has occurred.
Muscle weakness - Weakness of the muscles surrounding the knee can lead to osteoarthritis. Strengthening exercises for thigh muscles are important in reducing the risk.
Obesity - Increased body weight (especially during middle age) is a factor in the development of osteoarthritis, particularly for the knees.
Overuse - People with jobs that require repetitive motion are at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Other medical conditions - People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have a greater chance of developing osteoarthritis. Hemochromotosis (too much iron) can damage cartilage to the point of chronic deterioration. Acromegaly (excess growth hormone) also affects the bones and joints and can lead to osteoarthritis.
While each person is an individual and may be affected differently by osteoarthritis, people diagnosed with osteoarthritis often experience joint pain and reduced motion. What are the general symptoms to identify if you suspect you have arthritis? Do sore and stiff joints mean trouble? Continue reading the next section to learn more about symptoms of osteoarthritis.
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