Why More Women Get Arthritis
There are over a hundred different kinds of arthritis.
Some kinds affect men more often, but by far, more women are burdened with one form of arthritis or another (about 25% of females compared to about 20% of males). The most common form -- osteoarthritis -- hits the genders about equally.
But the types that afflict more women hit them at much higher rates than men. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 3 times as many women as men and lupus, an autoimmune condition that affects many organs, including the joints, affects 9 times as many women.
One explanation: Both rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are autoimmune disorders, which result when the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy cells. Autoimmune diseases are more common among women.
And that’s one of the human body’s strange quirks.
In general, women have more robust immune systems than men. Women tend to fight infections better and their immune system kicks into gear faster. And that could be the trouble where some types of arthritis come in. If you’re more resistant to infections, you’re also more at risk for having the immune system become over-aggressive and attack unintended targets.
So it seems that in nature, every strength comes with an accompanying weakness.