Obesity is thought to be one of the biggest health problems affecting our society. It is associated with many chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, pulmonary disease, and some cancers. There is also a tie between obesity and arthritis, especially knee osteoarthritis.
Points to consider about obesity and arthritis
Obesity is also one of the most prevalent risk factors of osteoarthritis of the knee. By itself, obesity is thought to account for one-third of all knee osteoarthritis cases. It is thought to be the primary preventable cause of osteoarthritis in women and the second most common preventable cause in men. Obese individuals have a 4- to 10-fold higher risk of developing knee osteoarthritis than non-obese people.
There is also a link between obesity and the need for later knee replacement. Compared with patients who have a normal body mass index (BMI), the need for a total knee arthroplasty is estimated to be 8.5 times higher in patients with a BMI greater than 30.
Clearly every effort should be made to try to maintain an optimal body weight. In addition to all of the positive health effects, losing weight can help your knees.
Dieting alone can relieve the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis in obese patients. An exercise regimen should be initiated at the same time to help maintain weight loss.
Sports medicine stats: Obesity and musculoskeletal pain and injury
Sports medicine stats: Costs of obesity
In addition to helping with weight loss, moderate exercise is believed to help fight knee osteoarthritis by increasing knee stability, helping cartilage remodel and making the joint surface tougher.
People who are overweight or obese should make every effort to lose weight. They can consult their doctors for advice on safe ways to do so.