One can never predict who may develop osteoarthritis (OA) and who won’t but there are some risk factors that can make a person prone to getting the disease.
*Age: The largest risk factor for OA, the older you are the more likely you are to get the disease, as roughly half of all people over 65 have evidence of OA on X-rays.
*Gender: One out of three women has OA compared to one out of four men. It’s not clear why, but it’s suspected that there are hormonal influences that increase the risk of OA in women.
*Excess weight: The more you weigh the more stress is placed on the joints of the knees and hips. It’s not exactly clear how weight contributes to OA but research indicates an increase in wear and tear on the joint or hormonal factors.
*Injury: Athletes and others who have injured their joints are at an increased risk.
*Occupation: Jobs that involve manual labor can put extra pressure on a particular joint and can increase wear.
*Family History: If other family members, particularly parents have OA you are more likely to develop it as well.
*Muscle weakness: If your muscles are weak, especially your quadriceps and hamstrings in your legs, you are at an elevated risk for OA.
(Source: Nelson, et. al. Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis. G.P Putnam’s Sons. New York: 2002)