With 50 million people in the U.S. affected by arthritis – and related healthcare costs of $128 billion every year – reducing arthritis pain is an important issue. A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that weight loss may be a key factor. And you may not have to lose as much as you think.
The study, which consisted of the CDC analyzing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the period 2003—2009, determined that obesity was, on average, 54% higher in adults with arthritis than in those without.
The cycle of arthritis, and the escalation of arthritis pain and joint pain, tends to be self-perpetuating. Inflammation and the consequent pain and stiffness of the joints contribute to immobility which, in turn, causes weight gain. The weight gain can then make the pain more severe, thereby further reducing physical function, increasing disability, and making physical activity even less likely.
It’s a never-ending cycle.
The good news for arthritis suffers is that even a minimal weight loss can make a big difference in arthritis pain and joint pain. According to the CDC editorial notes about the study
“Even small amounts of weight loss (e.g., 10–12 pounds) can have important benefits for persons with arthritis. Randomized controlled interventions of diet, exercise, and diet plus exercise among overweight and obese adults with osteoarthritis have reduced body weight by approximately 5%, improving symptoms and functioning, and preventing short-term disability.”
The notes go on to say that reducing obesity might also prevent 111,206 total knee replacements. According to the CDC, total knee replacement is one of the most common orthopedic procedures performed on older persons. During 1979–2002, knee replacement procedures in those over 65 years old increased 800%.
Those suffering from arthritis pain could also add years to their life by losing weight. Studies show weight loss could reduce the risk of early mortality for arthritis sufferers by nearly 50
According to Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) – a government initiative for improving the health of Americans – the number of doctors counseling arthritis pain sufferers to lose weight has increased in recent years. However, there has been no improvement in the number of patients who have taken a self-management education class or been counseled to engage in physical activity, the other two objectives outlined in HP2010.
Whether your doctor counsels you regarding weight loss, diet and exercise or not, these studies prove that if you want to reduce the arthritis pain, joint pain, and the impact arthritis can have on your life, weight is a key factor.
In fact, just a little effort, and a few less pounds, could go a long wa
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