Obesity has been directly linked to arthritis, and particularly osteoarthritis. Scary? I know. But did you know that 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with osteoarthritis of a knee (or both knees)? That means your chance of getting a debilitating disease is 50%. If that isn’t enough to get you moving, according to a recent study reported in Arthritis Today, if you are overweight or obese that statistic increases to almost 67%. This translates to 2 out of 3 people. Women in particular need to heed these warnings. It has been reported that 70% of women who are overweight have been diagnosed with OA, compared to 35% for males.
The increase in individuals suffering from osteoarthritis can be tied to the increase in the projected percentage of individuals that are above their ideal body mass projections. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects nearly 33 million Americans alone. The knee is the most affected area, particularly in those who are overweight, but the hips, ankles, and hands can be affected as well. Our knees bear most of our weight in daily activities. Every extra pound that we gain puts an extra 3 pounds of load-bearing stress on our knees. If you gain 20 pounds over the holidays, or from a lack of exercise, that is 60 more pounds of pressure you have added to your knees.
When you are carrying around excess weight and are in pain, the last thing you feel like doing is physical exercise. Nevertheless, motivate yourself. We’re not suggesting signing up for the next marathon. Even adding a 20-minute evening walk will be beneficial. Swimming is another alternative that minimizes the stress on your joints while providing all the benefits of exercise. Shedding the extra pounds will take the extra stress off your joints, which will also alleviate pain. Weight loss and exercise are the most effective ways to treat and improve conditions among those who are considered obese. Many physicians will not even consider the prospect of surgery, until a loss in body weight has occurred. These statistics are too startling to ignore. If you are seeing pounds creep on, or if they’ve already crept, add a workout plan to your routine (along with a healthy diet) and feel the rewards.