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Does Obesity Affect Joint Health?

Being obese can make simple movements such as bending, reaching for objects, squatting, or climbing stairs a challenge. As it relates to joint health, obesity can cause joint degeneration which manifests as joint pain, swelling, redness, deformity, warmth, and decreased range of motion. The less you move to avoid these symptoms, the worse your joints become. You are also at an increased risk of developing degenerative joint disease such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

There are 2 mechanisms by which being obese negatively affects joint health –

  • The excess weight puts increased stress on your joints which speeds up the age related wear and tear of joint surfaces.
  • Adipose tissue produces inflammatory markers that cause joint pain and inflammation.

For those who are overweight or suffering with joint problems due to obesity, losing weight through a regular exercise coupled with healthy eating is an absolute necessity for restoring joint health and function – You’d better use it, or you lose it!

Simple low-impact exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, using an elliptical machine, or water aerobics will help you lose weight without putting undue stress on your joints. The key would be to start slow and progressively increase your intensity, so you don’t aggravate your joint problems or cause an injury.

Even a small amount of weight loss can make a marked difference. According to research studies, for each pound of weight you lose there is a load reduction on your knee joint by 4 pounds while walking. So, if you can reduce your weight by 10 pounds, that’s minus 40 pounds of load on your knee with each step you take – obviously a benefit to overstressed knees.

You will find that the more weight you lose, the easier it will become to move your joints and the more energy you will have at your disposal to plow back into your weight loss efforts. With sustained effort and adherence to a caloric-deficit diet, within 6 months you will notice a marked improvement in your joint health.

NewportCare Medical Group is a comprehensive specialty group in Newport Beach, California. For all
appointments and inquiries, please call (949) 491-9991.

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