Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects over 32.5 million American adults. It develops when the cartilage cushioning joints gradually breaks down. There is no single cause behind this condition. Certain types of osteoarthritis have a genetic component that increases the chances of developing the disease or making the existing condition worse.
If you have a family member with osteoarthritis (OA), you have a higher chance of developing the disease than the general population. According to a study, the genetic influence of OA ranges from 35-65%.
The probability of inheriting the disease differs based on the body part affected by osteoarthritis. According to research, heritability, or the degree to which a trait can be passed down, is estimated to be 40% for knee OA, 60% for hip OA, 65% for hand OA, and about 70% for spine OA. People with hand OA are also more likely to develop knee OA.
Understanding The Genetic Component Of OA
Although how exactly genetics affects OA remains unknown, doctors agree on genetics’ growing role in disease development and progression. Doctors are currently studying candidate genes or genes whose location may be associated with a particular disease or phenotype.
In particular, COL2A1 is a gene that has been linked to the early onset of osteoarthritis. This gene codes for structural proteins in the extracellular matrix of the cartilage. The cartilage is a connective tissue coating that acts as a shock absorber when bones rub against each other. Studies suggest that any changes to the COL2A1 gene may play a role in joint degeneration.
Similarly, any alterations to the estrogen receptor α gene (ERα) may affect osteoarthritis progression. Studies suggest that decreased estrogen may be accompanied by a higher prevalence of hip and knee OA among women. This may be because estrogen preserves the bones by reducing oxidative stress on the cartilage.
People born with certain genetic traits or diseases may be more vulnerable. For example, a patient with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome suffers from insufficient collagen in their tissues. These defects impair your connective tissues’ ability to support muscles and organs, resulting in unstable and hypermobile joints that can contribute to OA.
Several other genes and proteins may be involved in the osteoarthritic process. Doctors continue to study these genetic factors as part of an effort to refine arthritis treatment and diagnosis.
It’s important to note that your genetic profile alone is insufficient to determine the onset of osteoarthritis. While it’s normal to feel frustrated for something outside of your control, it’s equally important to pay attention to the interaction between your genetic makeup and environmental factors that can influence disease progression.
If you have a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis, you can always make positive lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing the condition.
Start by maintaining an active lifestyle. Experts recommend doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. Staying active can help you keep a healthy weight that reduces the pressure on your joints. Avoid foods high in saturated fat and sugar that can increase the risk of developing diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
It’s also a good idea to visit your primary care physician regularly. They are best placed to detect any changes to your health and design a treatment plan, as needed.
Osteoarthritis Treatment In Tucson, Arizona
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to osteoarthritis. Several factors come into play that might influence the severity of your condition and receptiveness to treatment. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, seeing a doctor is important.
For personalized arthritis management, visit Dr. Robert Lending’s office today. Dr. Lending is a board-certified internal medicine and clinical lipidology specialist who can design a customized treatment plan to help you manage osteoarthritis.
Depending on your condition, Dr. Lending may prescribe medications or recommend lifestyle modifications to reduce your painful symptoms. Dr. Lending makes sure to customize his approach based on your unique needs. Through his concierge medical practice, Dr. Lending offers 24/7 access and total patient care that might is impossible with typical primary care doctors.