Improve your joint pain with weight loss
Problems in your joints can dramatically affect the quality of your life. When you suffer with pain in your ankles, knees and hips, you may notice a significant decrease in your mobility over time. If you can’t resolve the problem, total disability may eventually result. While many different issues can contribute to joint pain, carrying too much weight is one of the most serious risk factors for the development of this condition.
Enlightening Arthritis Statistics
Arthritis is the most common joint disorder affecting Americans today. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five adults in the United States has been diagnosed with some type of arthritis. Furthermore, studies have shown that up to 50 percent of people may develop arthritis in the knee by the time they reach the age of 85. For many of these people, extra weight is a contributing factor. In fact, the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center reports that women who are overweight are four times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than women who are not overweight. Likewise, men who are overweight are five times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men with normal body mass index (BMI) measurements.
Understanding the Connection
Your joints are responsible for bearing all of your body weight when you stand. Furthermore, the amount of force exerted on your joints when you walk is even greater than your actual weight. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, your knee must support up to three to six times your current body weight each time you take a step. As a result, even a small increase in weight can have a serious effect on the total amount of weight your joints must carry. The more weight your joints must carry, the more damage they will sustain over time.
In addition to the obvious effects of placing extra weight on your joints, studies published by the National Institutes of Health have shown that fat itself can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. These studies found that overweight individuals also experience more arthritis in their hands, thus indicating that some of the problems caused by obesity are systemic.
Preventing Joint Problems through Weight Management
Although managing your weight does not guarantee that you will never suffer from joint pain, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk. In addition, if you are already suffering from joint pain, losing weight after weight loss surgery may reduce the severity of your condition. In fact, according to USA Today, even a 10 percent reduction in body weight can significantly reduce knee pain.
If you have already developed arthritis, you may benefit from anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy and/or pain medication. In severe cases, joint replacement surgeries may be necessary.