Factors Increasing Risk of Osteoarthritis

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Factors Increasing Risk of Osteoarthritis

This article helps one differentiate between the impact of OA by various factors. It will deal with various person level and joint level factors that aggravate the symptoms of OA. 

Old woman clutching knee due to joint pain

OA - Know Why?

Osteoarthritis can increase in its occurrence and severity, due to reasons that can be classified as Person-level or Joint-level.

Person-level include factors such as age, gender, weight or obesity, genetics and diet. Joint-level factors may comprise of injury, misalignment of bones, etc.

Person-level factors

The Person-level factors can be explained as below:

Age: As the human body ages, it undergoes damages which are oxidative, cartilages may thin down, muscles weaken; and these will lead to joint damages. Weakness could occur due to disuse which can lead to lack of stability, causing falls.

Gender: OA tends to occur more in women than in men. While the exact reasons are not clearly articulated, the higher rate of occurrence has been attributed to reduced cartilage size, bone loss, and losses or lack of muscle strength. The occurrence of OA is high during the period of menopause amongst women, within their hips and knees.

Weight/ Obesity: Higher weight-to-height ratios lead to OA in the knees. The occurrence of hip OA is lesser compared to in the knee, possibly due to the entire body weight being rested on the knees and its higher usage and movement. Weight loss certainly lessens pain and decreases inflammation.

Genes: Studies indicate that genetics factor for over 60% of hand and hip OA, and 40% of knee OA.

Eating habits/Diet: Diets with low levels of Vitamins D, C and K contribute to increased incidents of OA.

Joint-level factors

The Joint-level factors can be explained as below:

Injury: People often tend to fall and injure themselves, during their childhood and adulthood. The knee is one of the most frequently hurt joints of the human body. Ligament ruptures can lead to early onset of OA. Increased chances of OA are associated with a damaged cartilage, bone or collateral ligaments, when such a rupture takes place.

Abnormal joint use: These can be occupational or lifestyle dependent. People associated with prolonged lifting suffer from Hip OA. Those with jobs that require squatting and kneeling have a higher occurrence of knee OA, and those with manual dexterity suffer hand OA. Highly repetitive, intense and high impact activities seem to confer an increased risk of OA.

Mal-alignment: Abnormal alignment leads to structural degradation and great compressive stress. This leads to higher chances of OA, as well.

An active life, maintaining a healthy weight and other precautions will slow down the progression of this disease, reduce pain and improve joint functions. Read on to learn how to maintain the quality of your life, even after OA.

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