What can you do when you are overweight or obese and suffer from arthritis of your lower limbs?
Being overweight or obese is widely acknowledged as a significant risk factor for the onset of arthritis and other joint diseases, especially those affecting the lower limbs.
One in 5 Canadians has been diagnosed with arthritis, but that number jumps to more than 1 in 3 among obese people.
Osteoarthritis, OA, is the most common type of arthritis, affecting approximately 10% of the population. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage that delineates the ends of bones at the joint level. Several factors influence the development of osteoarthritis including age, injury, heredity, obesity and lifestyle factors.
The prevalence of osteoarthritis is rising tremendously with the aging population and the current obesity epidemic. More and more people are suffering and the number of knee and hip replacements is continuously rising.
How is obesity linked to arthritis?
Osteoarthritis has a logical link to obesity: The more weight that is placed on a joint, the more stress on the joint, and the more likely the cartilage will wear down and be damaged.
For instance, every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. So a person who is 30 lbs overweight has 120 lbs of extra pressure on his knees; if a person is 150 lbs overweight, that is 600 lbs of extra pressure on his knees. Our joints were not designed to sustain that kind of pressures on a repetitive basis and this inevitably leads to premature damage of the cartilage of the weight bearing joints. That’s why people who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing arthritis in the first place. Furthermore, once a person has arthritis, this condition tends to escalate as the additional weight causes even more pressure. This leads to more inflammation and more pain resulting in a vicious circle where patients becoming more reluctant to move because of the pain which leads them to gain even more weight further compounding their arthritis.
But it is not just the extra weight on joints that’s causing the damage. The fat itself acts as an active tissue that creates and releases specific chemicals, many of which promote inflammation.
Approximately, 80% of affected individuals end up with some degree of movement limitation, and 25% are unable to perform major activities of daily living.
For both reasons – excess joint stress and inflammatory chemicals – fat should be kept in check among all people, especially those who already have osteoarthritis.
How can weight loss improve arthritis?
Loss of a minimum of 10% of body weight, coupled with exercise, is recognized as a cornerstone in the treatment of obese patients with osteoarthritis, and can lead to significant improvements in symptoms, physical function, and health-related quality of life.
In fact, the medical literature reports that patients who were able to lose a significant amount of weight noticed a definitive reduction in pain. Less body weight often equals less pain. They also reported a significant improvement in joint function with a better range of motion. Although the best results came when both exercise and diet were involved, just losing weight significantly improved knee function, allowing the patients to be more functional and more mobile. Musculoskeletal pain also interferes with sleep and seems to lead to poor quality of sleep and insomnia over the years. Weight loss, though, can lead to better sleep, which is essential for someone who needs to be active in order to lose weight.
This is the where Zero Excuse GO can help you. With our remote patient monitoring device that we will give you, we will be able to track your weight as well as all your activities, including the number of steps that you take, the number of floors you climb, and the number of minutes of exercise that you do, and we will guide you and encourage you not only to become active but also to derive pleasure in exercising.
Do you want to become healthy again and feel less pain from your hips or your knees? Take the jump and call us.