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Am I at Risk for Osteoarthritis? 4 Common Risk Factors

Am I at Risk for Osteoarthritis? 4 Common Risk Factors

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 30 million adults in the United States. While it’s most common in older adults, it isn’t an inevitable part of aging, and it can strike younger people too.

While you can’t always prevent osteoarthritis, there are steps you can take to lower your risk. One crucial step is to learn about the risk factors. At aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics, Dr. Brian K. Rich takes great care in treating patients with a full range of orthopedic concerns, including osteoarthritis. 

By understanding the risk factors and working with an orthopedic specialist to take preventive actions, you can keep your joints as healthy as possible throughout your life.

Here are four common factors that raise the chances of developing osteoarthritis.

#1: Aging 

Osteoarthritis is often associated with aging. It’s known as a “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis, and the older you are, the more wear and tear your joints accumulate. This is because the cartilage in your joints naturally wears down over time, making your joints more susceptible to damage. 

While you can’t control your age, you can take steps to minimize your risk of developing osteoarthritis as you grow older. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet can all help to keep your joints healthy and reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis.

#2: Genetic predisposition

If you have a family history of osteoarthritis, you may be more likely to develop it yourself. Genes can affect the structure and composition of your joints, making them more susceptible to degradation over time. 

#3: Injury and overuse

A sudden injury to any joint raises the risk of developing osteoarthritis, and so do overuse injuries, which are common in athletes and other active individuals. Certain activities can cause damage to the cartilage in your joints, making it more likely to wear down over time. Examples include repetitive strains on the same joints or simply carrying heavy loads on a regular basis. 

If you’ve had an injury in the past or engage in activities that put significant strain on your joints, it’s important to take steps to minimize your risk of developing osteoarthritis. This may include working with a physical therapist, modifying your activities, or taking breaks to rest and recover.

#4: Obesity

Carrying excess weight puts added stress on your joints, causing the cartilage to wear down more quickly. For example, each additional pound of body weight puts an extra four pounds of pressure on your knees. 

Even modest weight loss can significantly reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis. If you’re currently overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about a weight-loss plan.

It's important to take proactive steps if you have reason to believe you're at risk for osteoarthritis due to any of these factors. That's why we encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible to discuss your concerns and develop a prevention plan. Your joint health is too important to leave to chance, so don't hesitate to take action. 

It’s never too early to protect your joints. Call one of our offices to schedule a visit with Dr. Rich today. We have clinics in Lawton, Oklahoma, and Southlake,Texas.

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