Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of your overall health. But if you struggle to control your weight, you are not alone. Obesity affects more than 650 million adults worldwide and is considered one of the most common health conditions in the world. Extra weight can cause extra strain on your weight-bearing joints and put you at a higher risk for inflammation and even at risk for arthritis.
Obesity and Joint Pain
If you are overweight and feeling joint pain in your knees or lower back, it might be time to consider that obesity may be the cause. The pressure a few extra pounds can put on your weight-bearing joints is misleading, as it’s not one to one. Studies have shown that if you lost one pound, it would take four pounds of pressure off your knees. Keep multiplying, and you can see how much impact your weight can have on your lower limbs and lower back. Obesity can even affect joints in your hands, spine and neck. If not kept in check, obesity can lead to worse conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Obesity and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most painful joint conditions, and obesity is now understood to be an important risk factor. The extra weight doesn’t just cause osteoarthritis to progress more quickly, it also:
- Wears down the cartilage within a joint at a faster rate
- Increases joint inflammation, which is believed to be a risk factor for osteoarthritis
Evidence is growing that osteoarthritis is part of metabolic syndrome, which involves high levels of inflammation. Linked with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, obesity influences metabolic syndrome and can worsen its symptoms or cause other health issues.
Whether you are worried about arthritis because a family member had it, or you are having trouble with joint pain, it is an important first step to check your weight.
Weight Loss for Joint Pain
Reducing your weight by having a healthy lifestyle is a big factor to ease your symptoms of joint pain and osteoarthritis. Healthy eating and exercise are the best way to lose weight. If you are just starting out, some great low impact exercises are:
- Water exercises
Focusing on foods that are high in nutrients can also help you lose weight and slow the progression of joint pain and osteoarthritis. High nutrient foods include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants
- Whole foods and plant based foods, which are high in fiber
- Healthy oils, like olive oil
But if diet and exercise still don’t help with your joint pain, rheumatologists and pain medicine specialists can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, chronic musculoskeletal pain-relievers, as well as injections of a lubricating gel. If you struggle to lose weight bariatric surgery might also be an option.
Weight loss is hard, and when the results you want don’t happen, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. But a healthier lifestyle isn’t your only option for losing weight to ease joint pain. Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure, and studies have shown that weight-loss surgery can be the most effective treatment for obesity. At Advanced Laparoscopic Associates, we recognize your needs extend beyond the surgical procedure itself. We provide comprehensive, personalized care before, during, and after your surgery. If you think it’s time to take back control and want more information on whether bariatric surgery is an option for you, please join one of our free seminars or contact Advanced Laparoscopic Associates in Paramus, New Jersey, to schedule an appointment.