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Who is at Risk for Developing Arthritis?

Each type of arthritis carries its own risk factors. Gout is an obvious risk for gouty arthritis, and some injuries where the skin is pierced are a risk for infectious arthritis. Here are more risks for the two most common types or arthritis:

Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)

  • Age: It is estimated that 80 percent of people over 70 years of age have the degenerative type of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis.
  • Weight: The risk for osteoarthritis increases with the amount of weight that a person carries. This makes sense, as more weight adds more stress to the joints of the body, especially the hips, knees and ankles.
  • Repetitive motion: Working in a job that requires repetitive motions tends to increase risk for osteoarthritis, as do any job-related injuries.
  • Exercise: Exercise is also thought to cause certain types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease), but it is complicated to determine the risk. Some exercise may be protective, like swimming, cycling and walking. Other exercise, like running very long distances, may be harmful; but this is not necessarily true, as not all long distance runners have osteoarthritis. To add to the confusion, there seems to be a genetic component to osteoarthritis, with around 30 to 50 percent of twins having the same amount of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Sex: Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune).
  • Age: It generally strikes people between the ages of 40 and 60 years, but there is also a juvenile version that affects youngsters.
  • Family: There is a strong genetic component to rheumatoid arthritis, as it tends to run in families.

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