Can Losing Weight Help Relieve Joint Pain?
People need to maintain a healthy body weight for many reasons, one of the most important being protecting the knee from injury.
Overweight and obesity are the main risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis of the knee joint. At the same time, excess body weight not only increases the risk of developing this pathology, but also aggravates its course.
Obesity and Osteoarthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, USA, 1 in 5 Americans have a history of osteoarthritis. Among obese people, the statistics are different – 1 out of 3 had this pathology in the anamnesis.
The fact is that being overweight increases the pressure on the knee joints. There are 2 main pathways for the development of osteoarthritis: the first is a heavy load on the joints, the second is an increase in the severity of inflammation in the joint.
In this case, inflammation can affect not only the joint itself, but also the surrounding muscles and nerve endings, leading to an increase in the severity of pain.
A dipose tissue is very active. It produces and releases various chemicals that can provoke inflammation in the body and thereby affect the development of osteoarthritis. Therefore, body weight immediately affects 2 ways of development of this pathology.
At the same time, obesity not only increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis, but also aggravates its course. For example, excess body weight increases the load on the knee joints, which can accelerate the process of destruction of cartilage tissue.
P.S 1 kg of excess body weight puts an additional load on the knee joints in the amount of about 4 kg. Therefore, if there is an excess of 10 kg, about 40 kg of additional load is applied to the knees of a person.
People with an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis need to keep their body mass index under control, scientists say. At the same time, those who have a history of this pathology should not forget about the need to observe physical activity, despite the presence of pain in the joints. It is better to consult a doctor about what physical exercises are suitable in this case for patients with osteoarthritis.
According to the Obesity Action Coalition, the following relationship exists between obesity and osteoarthritis:
- Obese individuals are 60% more likely to develop osteoarthritis than those of normal body weight;
- Every excess 11 kg increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis by 36%;
- Obese women are almost 4 times more susceptible, and obese men 5 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee joint compared to women and men with normal body weight.
Simple lifestyle changes such as physical activity and diet can lead to weight loss and thereby help reduce pain and improve joint mobility.
Studies show that weight loss reduces the risk of knee osteoarthritis.
For a woman with average height, a decrease in body weight for every 11 kg (approximately 2 units of body mass index) reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee joint by more than 50%. At the same time, a comparable increase in body weight in women led to an increase in this risk within the same limits.
In another study, researchers concluded that if men in adulthood lost enough overweight to move from the obese to overweight category, those in the latter category lost weight to the overweight category. Normal body weight, the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee joints in them decreased by 21.5%, in women – by 33%.
The researchers emphasize that weight loss should be combined with a healthy diet to reduce the severity of knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. In the course of the study, this was demonstrated by scientists from Wake Forest University, USA.
The results showed that diet and exercise contributed to greater weight loss, knee pain, and well-being more than just exercising or following a healthy diet. In such individuals, a 51% reduction in the severity of pain was noted. At the same time, participants who followed a healthy diet saw pain relief by only 25%, and those who did exercise by 28%.
Thus, clinical studies demonstrate how a combination of diet and exercise can help reduce the severity of osteoarthritis symptoms. Even a 10% decrease in body weight can bring tangible results in this regard.
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