Risk Factors and Causes
Different forms of arthritis have different root causes, and accordingly have different risk factors. Despite the wide range of potential causes, however, we can associate certain risk factors with an overall increase in the likelihood that one may end up suffering one or more forms of arthritis:
If members of your family experience a form of arthritis — even one with a physical component like osteoarthritis — you are more likely to suffer from it yourself.
Most forms of arthritis become more likely to develop with age. Even those with a genetic component may only reach clinical significance later in life.
Your gender influences your likelihood of developing various forms of arthritis. Although women are more likely to develop some form of arthritis, various forms are much more common in men.
Obesity increases the likelihood of developing arthritis, even in joints which aren’t affected by increased wear and tear with increased weight. Symptoms will be far more pronounced in lower body joints, i.e., each pound of body weight exerts four more pounds of pressure on your knees when walking.
Joints that have been previously injured are significantly more likely to develop symptoms of arthritis or present with more severe symptoms than other joints in your body.
Any inflammatory illness (even those not necessarily associated with your joints) increase the likelihood of developing arthritis. For example, one in three patients with inflammatory bowel disease suffer from arthritis.