Cartilage is a tough rubbery substance that protects end of bones and makes joint movement easier. As cartilage begins to degenerate, the bones smooth surface becomes hard &rough. This causes pain in the joint and can irritate the surrounding tissues in the joint.
Sometimes wearing of cartilage is a natural process due to declining age. But not everyone develops OA. It varies from person to person. There are many risk factors that you can prevent yourself from, while some cannot be avoided.
Controllable risk factors:
Weigh it out: This a common risk factor for osteoarthritis that is modifiable with life-style changes. People that are obese are more prone to develop OA than people in normal weight range. Excess weight adds more stress on knee joints as knee joint is one of the weight-bearing joint. The other joint is hip. Healthy weight can be maintained by physical activities, exercises on daily basis and eating right.
Be cautions of germs: Microbial agents such as bacteria, viruses can potentially infect joints and can lead to development of some type of arthritis.
Joint injury: Joint injury while playing a sport or repetitive bending of knee can lead to stress and damage a joint and contribute to development of OA in the joint,
Stop Smoking: Being a chain smoker over the years can increase the risk of development of arthritis. It causes other co-morbid conditions. Smoking also makes it difficult to stay physically active, as a lot physical exercises are involved as a part of managing OA. Smoking can affect your breathing during physical activities lowering your stamina. So quit smoking.
Non-controllable risk factors:
Age: This increases your risk of OA with declining age. People more than 50 years of age begin to show symptoms of joint pain.
Gender: Females are much exposed at developing OA than men. Although such gender biasness is not yet discovered by the experts.
Inherited genetic traits: People born with specific genes can develop arthritis in their adult years. These genes are called human leukocyte antigen. Being carrier of such gene can worsen your arthritis.