New research has found that poor thigh muscle strength may put women at higher risks of developing osteoarthritis.

In a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, researchers also highlighted that men might not be subject to the same risks as women despite having similar deficits. According to Adam Culvenor and colleagues, this may have to do with how men are physically different.

When both men and women have high BMI, the former will have more contractile tissues while the latter will have more non-contractile or fatty tissues. Contractile tissue offers strength, so men still enjoy greater muscle strength than women, giving them better outcomes.

"[T]he mechanism by which BMI increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis is sex-specific and may require distinct treatment approaches," said Culvenor, the study's lead author.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Because of the "wear and tear" that occurs on joints as a result of the condition, osteoarthritis is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. It is the most common of chronic joint conditions and is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage between joints, which leads to pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis is not caused by a specific reason but several factors do lead to its development. These factors include genes, age, injury, overuse, and excess weight. Symptoms will also vary depending on which joints are affected and the severity by which they are being affected. Pain and stiffness are the most common of osteoarthritis symptoms however, and particularly appear after resting or first thing in the morning.

There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis but a range of treatment options are available to manage the condition, such as physical therapy, medications, supportive devices (canes or crutches), and surgery. Typically, doctors will prescribe a combination of treatments depending on what's suitable for the patient in an effort to increase flexibility, manage pain, and minimize joint damage.

Arthritis In The United States

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 78 million (26 percent) of American adults aged 18 years old and above will be diagnosed with arthritis by 2040. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

Along with other rheumatic conditions, arthritis is the primary cause of disability in U.S. adults.Prevalence of arthritis-related work limitations will vary from state to state but overall figures point to one in every 25 adults of working age (between 18 and 64 years old) facing said limitations.

Additionally, arthritis brings other health complications. Based on CDC figures, adults with the condition are about 2.5 times likelier to fall, leading to at least two falls more than those without arthritis. Those with arthritis are also likelier to have experienced a fall injury within the last 12 months. When they do fall, arthritic individuals have a 20 percent greater risk of getting a fracture.

The Arthritis Foundation also pointed out that pain in the knee or hip may push an individual to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle, which promotes weight gain and potentially obesity. Excess weight can cause the development of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

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