8 Causes of Arthritis You Might Not Know About

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There are many risk factors for developing osteoarthritis, but it can be hard to know the facts from the myths. Adapted from "Taking Care of Arthritis" published by The Reader's Digest Association Inc.

Women and girls have a higher risk of developing arthritis

Nearly two thirds of all Americans with some form of arthritis are female. Women represent 74 percent of all cases of osteoarthritis alone.

Osteoarthritis may run in families

A certain gene mutation may cause joints to produce defective collagen, a protein in cartilage, which may weaken cartilage and cause it to break down in the joints.

Osteoarthritis is more common in older people than younger people

This is true, however, old age DOES NOT cause osteoarthritis, nor is osteoarthritis an inevitable result of aging. Studies show that osteoarthritis can be prevented.

Being overweight increases risk for osteoarthritis

Every extra pound of weight you put on adds 4 to 8 more pounds of stress to your knees and hips, the body's load-bearing joints

"Double-jointed" people

When the bones of a joint are not tightly bound, they may bang together and damage cartilage, which often causes pain and early morning stiffness.

Your job may increase your risk of osteoarthritis

Constantly bending your knees - the way miners, dockworkers or some construction workers may do - is more likely to cause osteoarthritis to develop.

Exercise can help protect joints from osteoarthritis

Inactivity increases the risk of osteoarthritis by leading to weight gain, muscle atrophy and failure to produce new, healthy cartilage.

Sports-related injuries and other joint injuries can lead to osteoarthritis

Anyone who suffers injury to any part of their joints may develop osteoarthritis later on, even young adults and teens.