When you think of joint pain, you don’t usually picture a young adult. For the most part, younger adults are more energetic, and musculoskeletal conditions of the joint such as arthritis aren’t commonly associated with them. However, today’s adults are less healthy than those of any previous generation, with an increasing prevalence of hypertension, heart disease, and other ailments caused by a bad diet and/or a sedentary lifestyle. With these poor health habits, joint pain is also on the rise for younger adults.
Arthritis is one of the most common joint ailments. It refers to a group of diseases that result in chronic joint pain and inflammation. Let’s take a look at how this condition impacts young adults.
Arthritis Prevalence in Younger Populations
Nearly one in four Americans is impacted by arthritis, which has several types and forms. While the condition typically affects middle-aged and elderly individuals, its prevalence among the younger population has increased over time. Today, young people are more likely than in the past to have some form of arthritis due to the potential damage caused to their joints.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1% of young adults ages 18–44 had some type of arthritis, according to a study conducted from 2013 to 2015. This is a significant figure considering that the condition is mostly associated with getting older.
Young adults who have arthritis may develop the condition during their childhood, usually before the age of 16. This is known as juvenile arthritis, and the symptoms may persist and become even more prominent during early adulthood. This is an autoimmune condition and it is more likely to affect children who have allergies. The condition affects joints and ligaments, including those in the ankles, knees, and elbows.
Most young people who have juvenile arthritis take medication to manage their symptoms. While arthritis doesn’t have a cure, symptoms of juvenile arthritis may disappear during adulthood.
Risk Factors for Arthritis in Young People
There are a few factors that increase the chances of a young person developing arthritis either during childhood or during early adulthood. These include:
People who regularly smoke, participate in athletic activities, or engage in tasks that involve repetitive motions are also more likely to develop arthritis at a young age.
At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we provide comprehensive joint pain treatments for various joint-related ailments, including arthritis, through our Orthopedic Center of Excellence. If you suffer from joint pain, have a thorough examination by a physician specialist. You can find one on our website who’s right for you.
We also provide general surgery, physical therapy, and spine solutions.