How long does it take to develop arthritis?

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes joint inflammation and extreme pain. It limits the patient’s mobility and ruins his quality of life. There is no one answer to the question of when arthritis can strike. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis, usually makes an appearance with age. Though arthritis can strike at any age, it usually starts when the patient is between 30 and 50 years of age. Here are some interesting facts that will help you understand how long it takes for arthritis to develop:


Every human uses his joints regularly for a variety of tasks. As he advances in age, the cartilage between his joints wears out. Age makes it difficult for the body to repair the worn out cartilage. The patient’s bones rub against each other and this can lead to osteoarthritis. The patient experiences inflammation in his joints and finds mobility tough. 


Humans need their daily dose of calcium, which helps develop their bones. If children between the age of 9 and 18 do not get their recommended 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily, then the lack of calcium can influence the onset of osteoarthritis at a later stage of their lives. In such cases, arthritis can strike at strike at any age – the “later stage of life” is not a well-defined phrase.


There are cases of teenagers who have been impacted by arthritis even though they were otherwise healthy and consuming their daily calcium dose. It was discovered that arthritis was running in their genes. The genetic markers HLA-B27 and HLA-DR4 are known to be associated with arthritis. Genetic arthritis can impact patients at any age.


Young and overweight adults can also be impacted by osteoarthritis. Being overweight places a burden on the bones, damages cartilage and causes bone marrow lesions. Body fat also produces inflammation-causing chemicals and creates hormonal imbalances, and these factors too can be responsible for arthritis. 


Posttraumatic arthritis can impact a patient after a severe joint injury or a ligament tear or a fracture. It can occur even after the patient is treated. There is no determined age range for any injury to occur -- injuries can occur at any time -- and therefore posttraumatic arthritis can happen anytime.

High-Intensity Sports

All athletes are vulnerable to arthritis. Adolescents who participate in high-intensity sports like football, basketball, baseball, track and field events, etc. end up stressing or deforming their joints and become more vulnerable to arthritis. Arthritis can hit such athletes at an early age in their adult life.

Occupational Hazards

Workers in the construction industry or in the assembly line or in jobs that take a toll of the body are at risk of developing arthritis. There’s no telling when arthritis can hit them.

Final word

Well, as you would have noticed, there is no one answer to how long it takes people to develop arthritis. Typically, arthritis can hit patients when they are between 30 and 50 years of age. But, it may hit much sooner, or later, depending on the factors you read above.

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