To effectively tackle the national problem of obesity and encourage more people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, January is celebrated as National Weight Loss Awareness Month. There is a logical link between arthritis and obesity. The more weight you carry on your frame, the more stressed your joints become exacerbating the wear and tear caused by arthritis.
Studies have demonstrated that obese or overweight people are at a higher risk of developing arthritis and that arthritic joint pain and swelling is more intense if you are overweight.
Your knees and hips are usually the joints most affected by the extra weight. According to research studies, 1 pound of extra weight exerts 4 pounds of excess pressure on your knees with each step taken. This means if you are 10 pounds overweight, your knees will be subjected to 40 pounds of excess load. When you think of the number of steps you take in a day (between 5000 to 7000 for the average American), its easy to see how being obese or overweight can accelerate the joint breakdown caused by arthritis.
It’s not just the extra weight that is causing the damage, fat cells release inflammatory chemicals that can cause breakdown of joint tissue.
In addition, the kidneys of overweight people aren’t as efficient in eliminating toxins such as uric acid, leaving them prone to developing gout, which is a form of inflammatory arthritis.
The good news is that losing the extra pounds can slow down the damage caused to your joints by arthritis in the following ways:
- Less weight minimizes the wear and tear of joint cartilage
- Less fatty tissue reduces the production and release of inflammatory chemicals
- Improved elimination of toxins such as uric acid that can cause gouty arthritis
Once you begin to lose weight, you will find that you are able to move and function better, your energy levels are higher, and you are in a better position to achieve the goals you set for yourself in the New Year.
Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Texas, provides patients with immediate access to the services of experts in the major areas of orthopedic care. Call us today for an appointment!