According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese. Why is obesity linked with arthritis? We already know that being obese increases the risk of developing certain chronic diseases such as diabetes. However, obesity has also been proven to worsen arthritis in every case. What’s more, 1 in 5 Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis. This article explores various types of arthritis and how each type is linked to obesity.
Obesity and Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis or OA is the most common type of arthritis. It affects nearly 27 million Americans, according to the Arthritis Foundation. OA describes the breakdown of cartilage, the tough connective tissue that covers the ends of bones at joints.
Age, injury, heredity, and lifestyle factors affect the risk of developing osteoarthritis. For example, if you are very overweight, you are at higher risk of having OA. Think about it: The more weight you place on a joint, the more stressed the joint becomes. The added stress increases the wear and tear and risk of damage to the joint.
Research suggests that when walking, a force of nearly three to six times one’s body weight is exerted on the knee. Not surprisingly, an increase in body weight increases the force by this amount as well. Losing and managing your weight can help reduce the load placed on your joints and lesson the pain you experience with OA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Weight
How does your weight affect rheumatoid arthritis? We already know that losing weight reduces the stress placed on arthritic joints. The good news is that a lower body mass index (BMI) can also reduce RA risk. However, many people with RA have trouble staying active with regular exercise due to having inflamed, painful joints. The inflammation caused by RA can cause joint erosion, and this damage is compounded by excess body weight. Fortunately, losing weight, physical therapy, and strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints can help.
Gout and Obesity
Studies suggest that obesity is closely linked to gout. According to the Arthritis Foundation, as the country’s obesity rate has increased, so has the rate of gout. Specifically, approximately 70 percent of people with gout are overweight and 14 percent are obese.
Obese people are at a higher risk of developing gout, as research has found. In addition, obese individuals are at risk of developing gout 11 years earlier on average than if they are a normal weight.
Get Relief With Weight Loss
Losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult or challenging. There’s no need to go on a crash diet to achieve a healthy weight. When it comes to weight loss, making small and sustainable changes is more effective than crash dieting. Instead of buying junk food, load your refrigerator with fresh, healthy vegetables. Cut down on processed food – if it comes in a package, don’t eat it. Remove sugar-loaded beverages and sodas from your diet. Juices and sodas add empty calories to your caloric quota, and this translates to unwanted pounds.
Clean out your refrigerator and remove tempting foods from your daily diet. Remember: “Out of sight, out of mind.” You won’t eat the junk food if you don’t buy it and put it in your refrigerator in the first place.
Spend time with like-minded people. If you enjoy attending church events, spend time with new friends in this setting. Try a new water aerobics or jazzercise class. Surround yourself with people who support your weight loss efforts and you will see results before you know it.
Get out and get active! Sitting for long periods of time is hazardous to your long-term health. Inactivity is associated with several chronic illnesses, so get moving every day until you have established a consistent exercise routine for years to come.