Arthritis Awareness Month: What’s the Link Between Obesity and Arthritis?

May 30, 2018

arthritis awareness month
Did you know that obesity can be linked to join problems, including arthritis? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis, but one in three people who are overweight or obese will suffer from the joint disease.

So what’s the link? It all comes down to weight and pressure on your joints that leads to damage over time. The more you weigh, the more pressure your joints must withstand. The more weight that is put on your joints, the more stressed they become, leading to damage over time. Every pound of excess body weight puts about four pounds of pressure on the joints, particularly the knees. If you are 20 pounds overweight, that’s 80 pounds of extra pressure on your joints.

When you look at the research, it’s easy to see how even being slightly overweight can cause problems with your knees and other joints. Damaged joints from obesity also increase your chance of injury. One study found a “clear association between BMI and the probability of sustaining an injury,” including injuries related to falls, sprains/strains, fractures and dislocations.

In addition to the added pressure, fat is an active tissue that causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation leads to discomfort and pain associated with arthritis and other joint disorders. The inflammatory chemicals produced by body fat can also induce the development of f osteoarthritis. Studies show that losing just 10 percent of your body weight could significantly reduce inflammation in your body, helping to prevent osteoarthritis and other inflammation-related health problems.

Back pain is also closely associated with obesity, according to the American Obesity Association. In order to compensate for the extra body weight, the spine can become tilted or unevenly stressed, resulting in an unnatural curvature of the spine. Many patients who lose weight report a reduction in lower back pain.

Do you suffer from arthritis? Are you tired of living with back and joint pain? Contact Nicholson Clinic today to learn how weight loss surgery can improve your symptoms and help reduce your risk of weight-related joint problems, such as arthritis.  

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