Obesity & Osteoarthritis

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Every 10 pound overweight puts a 30 to 60 pounds of pressure on the knee so the relation between being overweight or obese can’t be neglected.

Peter van der Kraan, PhD, head of experimental rheumatology at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, says that Excess Fat act in non-mechanical ways to speed the destruction of cartilage and joints. Fat is chemically active and constantly releases inflammation-causing proteins and other biochemicals, such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1.

Inflammation and OA:

Hand OA is about twice as common among obese people as it is in leaner individuals, Once an obese person has OA in a joint or joints, it will develop more OA elsewhere. Obese people with OA in one knee, for example, are five times more likely than healthy-weight people to develop OA in the other knee.

Moreover, as Dr. van der Kraan said, the excess fat tissues can create a stable state of low-grade inflammation throughout body and activate it by placing a mechanical load on cartilage, so prompting them to release inflammatory proteins and other factors that cause joint destruction.

Being overweight or obese makes the effects of OA more disabling, says John Batsis, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

According to Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology study 2015 , Dr. Batsis and his colleagues analyzed data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, about 5.000 people with knee OA.

Compared with healthy-weight people with OA, they found that people with OA who were obese needed to take more medications, walked more slowly, were much less likely to be physically active and were at significantly higher risk after six years of developing disabilities that interfere with daily life.

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