What causes osteoarthritis? Top 5 causes of osteoarthritis
Ever wondered what causes osteoarthritis? You must, because more than 27 million Americans suffer from the disease (The Arthritis Foundation). Here is the skinny on the top causes of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is also known as wear and tear arthritis. This is because this form of arthritis is mostly seen in aged cartilage which is chemically different from normal cartilage. As cartilage gets old and damaged, the body tries to repair it. In some cases, repair becomes impossible.
In others, the repair mechanism leads to the development of spurs, which in turn, changes the normal functioning of joints. This causes osteoarthritis. However, it must be noted that osteoarthritis does not affect a good majority of aging people.
According to several studies, inheritance plays a vital role in developing osteoarthritis in 25-30% of patients. Scientists have unearthed an abnormality in a gene that produces collagen, which in turn causes degeneration of cartilage.
This could explain why approximately 50% of hand, hip and knee OA are seen in families that have a history of the disease.
In a study conducted by Strumer, Gunther and Brenner, a strong association was found between bilateral osteoarthritis and obesity. The study also showed that the risk of developing osteoarthritis is the knee is particularly high in obese people. So, chances of developing OA in the knees and hips are higher in overweight people.
OA may develop in joints that have been damaged in a previous injury like fractures, repeated trauma or infections. Improper healing or improper movement following injury could lead to OA. That is why OA is common in football players and people who are involved in jobs that put excessive strain on joints.
Sometimes, existing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis could lead to OA. OA that is caused in this way is known as secondary OA, and symptoms of secondary OA start surfacing long after the injury.
This might come as a surprise, but lack of activity leads to weakening of joints and bones. In the absence of variegated movements, muscles that support bones and joints become weak. As a result, these weakened joints lose their flexibility and become dysfunctional.
What causes osteoarthritis? - Risk factors