There are many things that can accelerate or make arthritis worse. One of the most problematic accelerators is Obesity. By definition, obesity means that a person’s body weight is 20% higher than it should be and they have a body mass index (BMI) over 30. If a person’s BMI is between 25 & 29.9, they are considered overweight. Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis, which affects nearly 1 out of every 5 adults in the US. Reports show that by 2030, it’s estimated that over 67 million adults will suffer from osteoarthritis, a whopping 20% of the US population. Obesity can not only accelerate the progression of the disease but osteoarthritis can be much more severe for the obese and overweight and is just one more reason why weight loss is so important.
It’s a well-known fact that each pound you lose reduces the pressure on your knee joints by 4 pounds. Once cartilage is lost the damage cannot be undone. However, weight loss can and controlling your weight be very beneficial by slowing the progression of the disease. The larger the weight loss, the more intense an effect it has on your joints, reducing knee degeneration and slowing osteoarthritis. For example, every 11lbs a woman loses (2 BMI Points), the risk of developing OA dropped greater than 50%.
The Arthritis Foundation says that, “obesity is the number one preventable risk
factor for osteoarthritis.” Exercising on its own may not be the solution to weight loss though, especially if working out or being active is too painful. Diet plays a very large role in shedding the pounds and is particularly important in reducing the stress on your joints so that activity becomes less problematic. By combining healthy eating habits (i.e. vegetables and fruit) and drinking lots of water with exercise will aid in weight loss.