Is Arthritis Genetic?


Quick Answer

Some types of arthritis are hereditary, according to WebMD. Arthritis is a general medical term that refers to inflammation in a joint. This inflammation can be due to infection, injury, genetic defect or other causes. Symptoms of arthritis include pain, stiffness or swelling in the joints.

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Full Answer

The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, states WebMD. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that results in pain and swelling due to cartilage loss. This typically occurs in weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips and spine. Some people have a genetic predisposition to developing osteoarthritis, particularly people who develop it at a young age.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, explains the Mayo Clinic. The immune system attacks the synovium, or the lining of the membranes surrounding the joints. The synovium thickens due to inflammation, which destroys cartilage and bone in the joint and weakens the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint. While rheumatoid arthritis is not a genetic condition, some genetic factors may make a person susceptible to viruses and bacteria that may trigger the disease.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a hereditary form of arthritis that affects the spine, according to the Mayo Clinic. The inflammatory disease causes the spinal bones to fuse together, resulting in hunched-over posture. People with the gene HLA-B27 are at increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis, and the condition affects men more often than women.

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