Arthritis is a painful and debilitating disease which causes inflammation in the joints and makes movement difficult. There are a number of risk factors for developing arthritis. Some of these risk factors are genetic in nature, while others are due to environmental and lifestyle factors.

Family History

If you have siblings or parents who have arthritis, you are much more likely to develop arthritis yourself. A genetic vulnerability for developing the disease will make you more susceptible to environmental triggers that may catalyze the development of arthritis. Some of the types of arthritis that are genetically based are ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Microbial organisms can also infect joints and cause the development of arthritis in susceptible individuals.

Age and Gender

In addition to family history, age also plays a large role in the development of arthritic conditions. In general, the incidence of arthritis increases as a person grows older. An individual’s sex is also a potential risk for the development of arthritis. Most types of arthritis are also more common in women than men. Approximately 60% of individuals with arthritis are women.

Excess Weight and Obesity

Carrying around excess weight puts an undue burden on joints throughout the body, including vulnerable knee and hip joints. These joints are particularly prone to injury, especially as an individual ages. Carrying around even an excess twenty pounds may unduly burden joints that are prone to chronic inflammation and arthritic conditions.

These are some of the major risk factors for the development of arthritis. In order to lower your risk of arthritis, it is important to minimize your modifiable risk factors, such as losing excess weight and avoiding environmental toxins and triggers. Additionally, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids will help to keep inflammation levels in check throughout your body, which will lower your overall likelihood of developing arthritis in the future. Understanding these risk factors and implementing dietary and lifestyle changes that will help to prevent the development of arthritis in the future will help to keep you active for many more years to come.