Just like added weight can put more pressure on your joints, losing weight has a very positive affect and provides you with many added benefits in addition to joint pain relief. About two thirds of the US population is considered overweight or obese and approximately 20% of Americans have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and it’s estimated that by 2030 over 67 million US adults will suffer from it.
By definition, obesity means that a person’s body weight is 20% higher than it should be. The same can be said if a person’s body mass index (BMI) is over 30. However, if a person’s BMI is between 25 & 29.9, they are considered overweight, not obese. It’s a well-known fact that losing just 1lb of weight relieves 4lbs of pressure off of your knee joints. Obesity is such a major risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis that once the cartilage in your joints is damaged and/or lost, the damage cannot be undone and the cartilage won’t grow back. The good news, however, is that weight loss and controlling your weight can slow the progress of the disease. The more weight you lose, the more profound the effect it has on your joints. It will reduce knee degeneration & cartilage loss and it can slow down the progression of Osteoarthritis (OA). For example, every 11lbs a woman loses (2 BMI Points), the risk of OA drops by more than 50%.
The Arthritis Foundation says that, “obesity is the number one preventable risk factor for osteoarthritis.” However,exercising alone may not be the solution to your weight loss; Diet plays a very large role in shedding the pounds! Eating healthy (i.e. vegetables and fruit) and drinking lots of water when combined with exercise will aid in weight loss.
The dilemma for people diagnosed with arthritis is that their joints are painful so they avoid exercise, making it much more difficult to lose weight. If your joints are so painful that it’s difficult to walk, we recommend seeing your doctor immediately and inquiring about your options. But remember, don’t wait to take off the weight!