Our genetic structure plays an important role in determining our risk for many diseases. Genetics tests now can tell you how many of hundreds of diseases you may be at higher risk of contracting, all with a swab from your mouth. In addition, doctors are just beginning to use genetic tests to see if certain medications may help or hurt. In cancer care, genetic tests on tumors are big news. Arthritis is one area where the existing medical research hadn’t shown genetic causes behind common problems such as degenerative disease of the knee.

A study published December 4, 2014, in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases shows that that soon may change. Doctors in the study tracked the children of 219 knee-replacement patients. They then followed 104 control patients and 115 of their children for as long as 10 years. At two years, the offspring of knee-replacement patients were similar to control patients without an ancestor who had the surgery. Over eight years, the children of knee-replacement patients had about a 50 percent increase in risk for developing knee pain. After adjusting the statistics to compare apples to apples, sons and daughters of knee-replacement patients where more than twice as likely to have knee pain.

We have yet to identify the genes responsible for a higher risk of a patient developing arthritis of the knee, but the study points to future changes in how arthritis of the knee is diagnosed and treated. Perhaps 20 years from now, there will be ways your doctor can medically determine whether you’re at genetic risk for cartilage breakdown. Early detection will allow for early aggressive treatment.

So the next time your knee swells after a workout, or your doctor tells you have knee arthritis, it may be legitimate to blame that problem on your parents .

You Can Blame Your Parents for Your Knee Arthritis Genes… first appeared as a post on the Regenexx blog.