The risk factors of being overweight or obese are well-documented and range from obesity and joint pain to obesity and potentially fatal illness.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
- Obesity promotes type 2 diabetes and increases the risk for amputation and blindness.
- Obesity promotes coronary heart disease and increases the risk for heart attack and sudden cardiac death.
- Obesity promotes high blood pressure and high cholesterol and increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Obesity also increases the risk for several different type of cancer.
Most obesity-related diseases are serious, and any one of them can be fatal. But people are hard to convince, and the obesity rate in the United States continues to grow. Obesity can also cause nagging discomfort and persistent joint pain.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a cluster of over 100 medical conditions that affects almost 46 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States alone. The link between these 100 plus conditions is that they all affect the musculoskeletal system, especially the joints.
Ten pounds of additional weight translates into thirty pounds of extra weight felt by the knees.
Joint health problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to cartilage. This damage can cause joint instability and visible deformities that interfere with walking, climbing stairs, and other daily activities. Hip and knee pain are very common.
Obesity and Joint Pain
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that obese adults who have arthritis are 44% more likely to be physically inactive than obese people who do not have the disease. The discomfort caused by arthritis interferes with physical activity.
A loss of only eleven pounds will decrease the risk of developing arthritis in the knees by 50%.
The Centers for Disease Control further noted:
- women were more likely than men to have obesity and joint pain
- older age was a risk factor for both obesity and joint pain
- non-Hispanic blacks were more likely to have both arthritis and obesity than other ethnic groups.
Link Between Obesity and Joint Pain
Our joints carry our body weight. The more a person weighs the more difficult it becomes for joints to work properly. Even moderate changes in body weight have a big effect because the joint forces in both the hips and knees increase three-fold that weight with average walking. Ten pounds of additional weight translates into thirty pounds of extra weight felt by the knees.
There is a strong association between body weight and arthritis. People with a high body mass index who are overweight or obese often get arthritis at a younger age.
The solution to resolving this is to simply lose weight. Even modest weight loss can make a big difference. A loss of only eleven pounds will decrease the risk of developing arthritis in the knees by 50%.
If joint replacement is needed due to obesity-related arthritis, obesity can complicate surgery and increase the possibility for infection, blood clots, and dislocation after knee or hip replacement.
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