How does arthritis affect women?

Arthritis is an umbrella term that encompasses over 100 different diseases that affect the joints and connective tissues. Many forms of arthritis disproportionately affect women, including the most common forms of the disease, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because most forms of arthritis are chronic, women who are diagnosed need ongoing care .

Women and arthritis statistics
Approximately 25.9% of women have arthritis, compared to 18.3% of men. Some forms of arthritis, such as lupus, occur almost exclusively in women. Eight out of 10 adults who are diagnosed with lupus are women. Arthritis can happen to women at any age. Some forms of the disease are most common in seniors, while other can appear during childhood or during the childbearing years.

The reason that arthritis is more common in women is not understood, but there are some clues. Hormones, bone length, and bone shape in women may all play roles, along with genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

Arthritis impacts on women
Arthritis can affect women in many ways. Women with arthritis can experience:

  • Financial insecurity, due to inability to work and the cost of medical care
  • Delayed schooling
  • Withdrawal from social life
  • Poor quality of life
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Increased risk of early death

Many women with arthritis experience long-term absences from work or school, which can significant, long-term impacts on earning potential and access to health insurance.

Arthritis during pregnancy
The way pregnancy impacts arthritis depends on the specific type of the disease a woman has. For example, women with rheumatoid arthritis often experience a remission during pregnancy. However, some medications used to treat arthritis can increase the risk of miscarriage or can be harmful to developing babies. Women with arthritis who become pregnant must work closely with their healthcare team to manage their symptoms safely.

If you’re suffering from joint pain or need help with an arthritis management plan, choose Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Our hospital provides a comprehensive range of medical services and can help you live your healthiest life. To find out more about our services or to get a referral to a physician in San Jose, please call (888) 762-8881.

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