Osteoarthritis—the wear-and-tear form of degenerative joint disease—is the most common joint condition, according to the Arthritis Foundation. It affects more wommen than men, and a new study suggests the reasons for this gender-related disparity: differences in the composition of synovial fluid between men and women.
Synovial fluid surrounds the joints and protects cartilage that covers the ends of bones where they meet in the joints. Researchers at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University analyzed the synovial fluid of men and women with and without osteoarthritis. Results of the study were published in Scientific Reports.
They found differences that may be influenced by the female hormone estrogen, which plays an important role in the development of osteoarthritis. Hormone levels typically decrease with age and in postmenopausal woman, lower estrogen levels appear to increase osteoarthritis risk.