If you suffer from aching joints, then you may have your current or previous occupation to blame.
A recent study examined common occupations to determine which ones would increase your risk of joint pain and arthritis. Some of the research’s findings included that electricians have double the risk of developing arthritis while bricklayers have three times the risk.
Other findings included that some occupations may increase the risk specifically for rheumatoid arthritis as a result of being exposed to certain chemicals.
Additionally, individuals who work in manufacturing jobs are at a higher risk for arthritis than those who have office jobs.
Occupational hazards and exposure increase the risk of arthritis
The study looked closely at exposure to chemicals and hazards and how this contributes to a higher risk of arthritis. The researchers suggest that exposure to such chemicals and hazards triggers an autoimmune response, which can contribute to rheumatoid arthritis—an autoimmune version of arthritis.
The researchers examined information from 3,522 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 5,580 controls from the Swedish population. They collected data from environmental, genetic, and immunological factors taken from blood work.
The study found that male manufacturing workers were at a higher risk for rheumatoid arthritis compared to those individuals in the professional, administrative, and technical sectors.
Male electricians and electronic workers had double the risk of rheumatoid arthritis while bricklayers had a three-fold higher risk.
Among women, assistant nurses and attendants had a slightly higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis. On the other hand, women in the manufacturing field did not have a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, unlike their male counterparts.
The researchers even considered other factors that can contribute to a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Study leader Anna Ilar explained, “Previous studies have not considered these lifestyle-related risk factors to the same extent. Our findings therefore indicate that work-related factors, such as airborne harmful exposures, may contribute to disease development.”
“It is important that findings on preventable risk factors are spread to employees, employers, and decision-makers to prevent disease by reducing or eliminating known risk factors,” she continued.
However, additional research is required to pinpoint which chemical and hazard exposures could contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Some suspected chemicals include silica, asbestos, organic solvents, and motor exhaust fumes.
It’s always important that you follow workplace safety tips, including wearing appropriate safety gear like masks and goggles to reduce your risk of exposure to such workplace hazards. Furthermore, proper techniques should also be used such as lifting properly or not overusing certain joints. Regular exercise is also important, as it keeps your body limber and strong to take on physical tasks.
Related: How to deal with arthritis pain on a daily basis