CHENNAI: Four out of every five women suffer from arthritis and more than 70 per cent of women over 65 years of age show radiological changes of arthritis. A woman’s body has special functions to perform and so it is structured in a special way. All of this put together probably makes women more prone to arthritis. Let’s take a look at the factors that have been associated with increasing the risk of women for arthritis
Compared to men, women have wider hips. This causes an increase in the angulation from the spine to the hips, thus changing the weight bearing mechanics in women, which then translates into arthritis later in life.
The joints in a woman tend to be more flexible and hypermobile, this puts them at risk for developing arthritis. Also, the bones around the weight bearing area that is the lower spine and hips undergo tremendous physiological changes and expansion during childbirth further increasing the risk at later age.
Oestrogen and testosterone that have been associated with arthritis. Studies have shown that arthritis tends to develop more in postmenopausal women with low levels of oestrogen. But, the exact relationship
is yet to be established. Similarly, studies suggest that women who have not had a child are at more risk for rheumatoid arthritis.There is indirect evidence that testosterone helps men have stronger muscles, providing more support to the joints, thus increasing the risk of women for arthritis.
Most women in our country do not tend to lose the post-pregnancy weight gain and continue
to live with it. Obesity itself is a risk factor for developing osteoarthritis and hence women tend to develop osteoarthritis more than men. Anatomically and physiologically women are more prone to developing arthritis. That’s all the more reason why women need to prioritise their health and actively involve in
taking care of your body. The writer heads the Neurosurgery department at Cooper Hospital, Mumbai