Arthritis is a fairly common condition – it is estimated that at least 50 millions of Americans are currently suffering from a particular form of arthritis. What exactly is arthritis? In a nutshell, it is a term that is often used to refer to a number of medical conditions which affect the joints, causing pain, inflammation, and discomfort. The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, but various forms of arthritis can also cause redness, warmness, and swelling in the affected area, which naturally limits the range of motion.
Clearly, having arthritis decreases the overall quality of life for the patient and possibly for their family as well. Thus, you might want to put some effort into making sure that you’re actively minimizing the impact of arthritis risk factors on your life and general health. To help you with that, we have created a list of less obvious arthritis risk factors so that you can take them into account, too.
So What Are Some Unexpected Risk Factors for Arthritis?
While some arthritis risk factors are quite obvious and out of your control (like your gender and current age), others depend on your lifestyle and so can be adjusted for better, healthier life choices. Being overweight or obese is not an unexpected arthritis risk factor, but the risk factors described in this article are not necessarily known to everyone. So, let’s take a closer look at what could be increasing your chances of developing arthritis later in life.
Tea and coffee consumption
According to recent research findings, drinking decaffeinated coffee clearly increases the probability of suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Several other studies focused on the link between tea consumption and arthritis, and it seems like there’s a connection here as well – study participants who drank a lot of tea were clearly more likely to develop arthritis later in life as compared to those who preferred other beverages. It is still unknown whether it is a particular chemical found in tea and coffee, or something else creating optimal conditions for arthritis in the human body, but the connection is obvious – so you’d better limit your daily consumption of tea and coffee.
Wearing high heels
Numerous studies have shown that wearing high heels can (and will) lead to suffering from arthritis later. Osteoarthritis (a common form of an arthritis which is associated with ageing in a lot of people) will progress significantly faster in women who frequently wore high heels as compared to those who didn’t. It doesn’t matter if your high heels aren’t even that high – scientists have found that wearing moderate 1.5 inch heels still increases your chances of developing arthritis and it progressing faster than it normally would. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that high heels increase pressure on the knee joints. In addition, lots of fashionable shoes worn by women have not only high heels, but also narrow toe boxes, which adds to the chances of having some form of foot arthritis. Researchers and medical practitioners agree that wearing high heel shoes less frequently in your thirties and on can be extremely beneficial for your joints and results in lower likelihood of arthritis in your fifties and sixties.
Texting on your phone
Have you ever experienced your thumbs being painful and kind of sore after a long texting conversation? If so, then you might be on the way to developing texting thumb – a condition which could ultimately lead to hand arthritis. Text messages are a fairly recent addition to our lifestyles, so there currently isn’t enough data to prove that there is a distinct connection between texting and arthritis, but you still might want to lay off texting so much even if that unlimited data plan is making it so attractive.
Breaking a bone and having it heal might lead to suffering from joint pain in the affected area. This happens because a healed bone does not distribute the load on the surrounding joints in the same way as it did before it was broken. If the break affects the joint, the chances of developing arthritis are even higher. At the same time, not all broken bones necessarily cause arthritis, but it is still a good idea to be on the safe side and do everything prescribed by your healthcare provider to help your broken bones heal properly and safely.
Knees are a very important joint in our bodies, and most people probably don’t even realize how much work their knees are doing on a daily basis until they experience knee pain. Knees are particularly vulnerable to injuries because they don’t have a lot of soft tissue to surround them and protect them from external impact. Consequently, suffering even the simplest injuries to your knees (like having a torn ligament) could be a major contributor to arthrosis in the long run. Thus, take good care of your knees and make sure you give them plenty of time to heal should they get damaged in any way.
In case you haven’t heard of the 2D:4D ratio before, it’s a concept that reflects the ratio of your index finger length to your ring finger length. Scientists have found that people whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers were exposed to more testosterone than estrogen when they were developing in their mothers’ wombs. This means that the 2D:4D ratio can potentially affect a number of aspects of your health, including your likelihood to develop arthritis. Researchers have linked higher probability of arthritis to a lower index to ring finger ratio, so if that is the case for you, you might want to focus on leading a healthy lifestyle to counteract the natural effects of this non-modifiable arthritis risk factor.
Also read this article: 10 Super Foods to Fight Osteoarthritis