According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million adults. Of that number, it is estimated that the majority are women. While the exact reason for this gender disparity is not yet known, there are some theories as to why women may be more susceptible to this common inflammatory disease. Let’s take a closer look at five of those theories.
Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s lifetime, leading to collagen production changes. Collagen is a major component of cartilage, which acts as a cushion between joints. When collagen production decreases, it can lead to joint inflammation and pain.
Collagen is also crucial to dental development. Too much estrogen can lead to inflammation in the gums, which leads to tooth loss. When added on top of arthritis, it can lead to severe tooth loss among women.
Women are more likely than men to have certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus. These diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
One of the main reasons why women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases is hormonal changes. For example, a woman’s immune system is suppressed during pregnancy to prevent the body from rejecting the fetus. This suppression can last up to six months after childbirth, leaving women more vulnerable to autoimmune disease.
Obesity is a risk factor for developing arthritis. Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to be obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Once again, hormonal changes are one of the reasons why women experience obesity. However, that’s not the only reason. Women tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men and store fat differently. Women store fat around their hips and thighs, while men keep it around their waists. This difference in fat distribution can make it harder for women to lose weight, even when they are eating the same amount of food and exercising the same amount as
Age is also a risk factor for arthritis. Women tend to live longer than men, making them more susceptible to age-related health conditions such as arthritis.
Hormones and Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills may also increase a woman’s risk of developing arthritis. This is because HRT replaces estrogen lost during menopause, while birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen that can change collagen production (as we mentioned earlier).
While there is no definitive answer as to why women are more susceptible to arthritis, some theories are worth exploring. If you’re a woman suffering from this condition, know that you are not alone—and that treatments are available to help lessen your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are some of them.
Due to the high estrogen count of women and their susceptibility to arthritis, they are recommended to get dental treatment for tooth loss. These treatments include but are not limited to dental implants and dentures. Additionally, they must visit the dental office more than men. This means visiting the dentist for routine checkups, cleanings, and necessary treatments.
Autoimmune Disease Treatment
If you have an autoimmune disease, such as RA or lupus, treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. Here are some of them:
These drugs are known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. This is because they can slow the progression of RA and help relieve pain and inflammation. They do this by blocking the action of enzymes that break down cartilage.
Biologic drugs are made from living cells and target specific areas of the immune system. They can help relieve pain, inflammation, and stiffness caused by RA.
Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. They can be taken as a pill or injected directly into an inflamed joint to help relieve pain and swelling.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
If you’re obese or overweight, treatments are available to help you lose weight. These include:
Diet and exercise
This is the most important treatment for obesity. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help you lose weight and keep it off.
If diet and exercise haven’t helped you lose weight, you may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery. However, this surgery is usually only recommended for people who are obese and have other health conditions, such as sleep apnea or type 2 diabetes.
Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it can affect anyone, women are more susceptible to arthritis than men. However, by understanding the reasons behind this, women can take steps to reduce their risk.