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What Role Does Aging Play in Arthritis?

Feb 15, 2023
What Role Does Aging Play in Arthritis?
Nearly half of the adults over the age of 65 in the United States have some form of arthritis, which might suggest that these conditions are related to aging. The answer is a little more complicated.

When you hear that nearly half of the adults over the age of 65 in the United States have some form of arthritis, you might jump to the conclusion that arthritis is caused by aging. The reality is that the connection between age and arthritis is far more complex and involves both direct and indirect links.

To explain the relationship between aging and arthritis, the Commonwealth Pain and Spine team takes a closer look in this month’s blog post.

Arthritis — not just one disease

One of the most important points we want to make about arthritis is that it isn’t just one disease but a group of more than 100 different conditions that lead to joint pain and inflammation.

Approximately 1 in 4 adults (58.5 million) in the US has doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and this number is expected to jump to nearly 80 million by the year 2040.

Leading the arthritis diagnoses is osteoarthritis, followed by rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, spinal stenosis, and fibromyalgia. 

Arthritis and age

The connection between aging and arthritis is indirect and direct, but, make no mistake, age is a definitive risk factor for joint pain and inflammation. To illustrate this, we’re taking a closer look at a few forms of arthritis and the role that age plays.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Of the nearly 60 million people with arthritis, more than half have OA (32.5 million). OA is known as a degenerative or wear-and-tear disease and occurs as protective cartilage inside your joint breaks down over time. 

While OA certainly isn’t inevitable as you age, if you lead an active lifestyle or you have previous musculoskeletal injuries, your chances for OA increase. On the other side, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and you're overweight, this, too, increases your chances of developing OA.

Psoriatic arthritis

This form of arthritis, which occurs among people who have psoriasis, typically strikes between the ages of 30 and 55. There’s no cure for psoriatic arthritis, and the condition worsens with age.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Approximately 1.3 million people in the US have RA, and it typically develops between the ages of 30 and 60. Like all forms of arthritis, there’s no cure for RA; like OA, the condition worsens with age.

Our point is that arthritis is sometimes directly caused by aging, and wear-and-tear or existing arthritis can worsen with age. Either way, aging certainly plays no small role when it comes to arthritis.

Treating arthritis

Since there’s no cure for arthritis, our job as pain management experts is to help you find meaningful relief from joint pain and inflammation. We offer a wide range of solutions, from joint injections and nerve blocks to medications and hemp oil.

No matter what age arthritis strikes, our team is here to help. For more information, please make an appointment with one of our arthritis specialists at a location near you. We have offices in St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky. Indiana offices are in Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper. We also serve patients in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.