Arthritis Risk Factors and Causes

The exact cause of arthritis is unknown. However, there are a number of risk factors associated with various arthritic conditions. A risk factor increases the chances that a person will develop a disease or condition.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis (OA) include heredity and the "wear and tear" of aging. Although these risk factors cannot be controlled, controlling additional risk factors can reduce the likelihood of developing OA. Factors that can be controlled include obesity (or being severely overweight), muscle weakness (such as from injury or inactivity), and overuse of joints (such as from repetitive movements).

Risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) include heredity, hormones, and infection. Unfortunately, these risk factors usually cannot be controlled.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jun 2006

Last Modified: 17 May 2011