Osteoarthritis Risk Factors
Osteoarthritis risks come from a variety of factors—some inevitable and some preventable.
Aging is the major risk factor for osteoarthritis. The condition is rare in people under age 40, but increases in likelihood as we age, up to age 75.
Some genes may interfere with joint health. For example one rare genetic defect (Stickler syndrome) interferes with the body’s natural ability to produce the cartilage protein collagen XI. Other genes predispose people to slightly improperly designed joints that can wear away faster than usual.
Men are more likely to have osteoarthritis before age 45. After age 45, women are more likely targets for the condition.
The bodies of overweight people bare more stress and strain on their joints. That can cause the natural cartilage cushions at their hips and knees to wear down faster.
Some people are more prone to osteoarthritis symptoms at birth. These include those born with one leg shorter than the other, as well as those born with mismatched joint surfaces.
Those who have suffered joint injury or undergone joint surgery are predisposed to the development of osteoarthritis of those joints. This is often the cause when osteoarthritis occurs in younger people.