Are You at Risk for Getting Arthritis?

About 54 million American adults have arthritis. It’s a degenerative joint condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling — and it has the power to limit your life.

There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. Around 33 million Americans have osteoarthritis, which is the most common type. Anyone can develop arthritis, but there are certain factors that could increase your risk of this chronic condition.

At Bryn Medical, we take a comprehensive approach to pain relief and arthritis management. Whether you’re starting to notice the early signs of joint pain or you have more advanced joint damage, we’re here to help you understand arthritis.

Understanding your risk factors for arthritis
Osteoarthritis is nicknamed wear-and-tear arthritis, because it develops as your joints break down with age. Everyone is at risk for arthritis, but some factors could make an arthritis diagnosis more likely for you.

Slick cartilage cushions the bones in your joints and helps them move smoothly, but years of use break down cartilage, then bones begin to grind against each other. Your joints age with you, and getting older increases your risk of osteoarthritis. Arthritis gets more common in your 50s, 60s, and beyond.

Body weight
Your joints — especially your hips, knees, and ankles — support your body weight as you move. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of osteoarthritis, because carrying extra weight increases strain on your joints. 

Obesity can make joints break down prematurely, which could put you at risk for arthritis at an earlier age.

Women are three and a half times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men, so if you’re a woman, you could be at risk for arthritis. This increased risk is linked to differences in female musculoskeletal structure, biomechanics, and hormone levels.

Previous injury or overuse
If you’ve suffered a joint injury, it could increase your risk for arthritis. Even if your injury healed long ago, damage to tendons and ligaments in the joint could lead to faster deterioration and arthritis over time.

Overuse over the years could make certain joints more susceptible to arthritis too. If your occupation involves repetitive motion, you may be more likely to develop arthritis.

Underlying health conditions
Your overall health and medical history play a role in your arthritis risk. For example, diabetes is a common metabolic disease that increases your risk of being overweight or obese, and it could also increase your risk of arthritis.

Genetics affect your joints, too. People with a family history of osteoarthritis or other types of arthritis may be more likely to develop a joint condition themselves.

Treating your arthritis symptoms
If you have risk factors for arthritis, don’t wait to see a doctor. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, which means it gets worse over time. But early intervention can slow or stop joint damage.

Our team works with arthritis patients of all ages to improve their symptoms and help them stay active. Your arthritis treatment plan may include a combination of therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, injections, and at-home exercises.

We monitor your health and adjust your treatment to ensure you’re getting the most from arthritis management at Bryn Medical. Most people find that conservative treatment and an active lifestyle help them keep arthritis symptoms at bay, but surgery can be an option in more severe cases.

Don’t let joint pain sneak up on you. Learn more about your risk of arthritis and how to keep your body strong with a free consultation at Bryn Medical. Contact us online or call our Chattanooga, Tennessee, office.

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