Metabolic or endocrine conditions and osteoarthritis

Metabolism refers to all of the chemical processes that take place in the body, such as the burning of natural sugar substances (such as glucose) in the body for energy. The endocrine system controls the body's hormones, such as estrogen.

It is possible that more rapid breakdown of cartilage in joints is partly due to a metabolic problem. In osteoarthritis, cartilage breakdown occurs more rapidly than cartilage repair.

Examples of metabolic and endocrine conditions that can lead to osteoarthritis are:

  • Hemochromatosis (abnormally high levels of iron in the blood and tissues).
  • Wilson's disease (abnormally high levels of copper in the body).
  • Acromegaly (a disease characterized by long, large bones in the extremities and parts of the head and jawbones due to excessive growth hormone).
  • Hyperparathyroidism (abnormally high levels of parathyroid hormone, the hormone that regulates calcium levels in the bones and blood).

Last Updated: April 17, 2009

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Richa Dhawan, MD - Rheumatology

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