HEALTH Q&A: Arthritis in women

Q Why is it that certain types of arthritis affect only women?

A This statement is not entirely true. There certainly is a “prevalence” of certain types of arthritis in women. Intuitively, it would seem that sex hormones, e.g., estrogen and testosterone, are responsible for this difference. Yet men and women both produce estrogen and testosterone. Genetics appears to play some part, with familial clustering. Men are more prone to Ankylosing Spondylitis, gout and hip OA. Women have a higher incidence of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis of the hands. Sex hormones play some role, e.g., women with RA frequently improve during pregnancy. Environmental factors play a role. Traditionally men have certain occupations or interests that make them more prone to joint injuries – football, construction and the development of secondary OA.

Send health or fitness questions to healthbriefs@reviewjournal.com

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