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Arthritis (cont.)

What Are Arthritis Causes?

The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis. Causes include injury (leading to degenerative arthritis), abnormal metabolism (such as gout and pseudogout), inheritance (such as in osteoarthritis), infections (such as in the arthritis of Lyme disease), and an overactive immune system (such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus). Treatment programs, when possible, are often directed toward the precise cause of the arthritis.

More than 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis. Approximately 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

What Are Arthritis Risk Factors?

Risk factors for arthritis include the following:

  1. Age: The risk of developing many types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (the most common type), increases with age.
  2. Genetics: Most types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis, have a genetic (inherited) component.
  3. Gender: Most types of arthritis are more common in females. Some types, such as gout and ankylosing spondylitis, are more common in men.
  4. Overweight and obesity: Excess weight predisposes to many types of arthritis due to added wear and tear on the joints.
  5. Injuries: Injured joints are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
  6. Infection: Many infections can attack the joints and cause arthritis.
  7. Occupation: Occupations involving repetitive movements can predispose to the development of osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Rheumatoid Arthritis »

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic systemic inflammatory disease of unknown cause that primarily affects the peripheral joints in a symmetric pattern.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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