Obesity is commonly associated with heart disease and diabetes, but many people don’t realize that obesity is also often linked to joint problems, including arthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis, but among people who are overweight or obese, that number jumps to one in three.
The more weight on your joints, the more stressed they become, leading to damage over time. Damage to the joints not only causes pain, it can also weaken the joints, increasing your chance of injury. One study found a “clear association between body mass index (BMI) and the probability of sustaining an injury,” including injuries related to falls, sprains/strains, lower extremity fractures and joint dislocations.
Studies on arthritis in overweight and obese people have found that 1 pound of excess weight results in about 4 pounds of pressure on the joints, particularly the knees. So, if you are 10 pounds overweight, there are 40 extra pounds of pressure on your knees. Carrying 100 pounds of extra weight puts a whopping 400 pounds of pressure on your joints. It’s easy to see how being overweight or obese can cause serious joint problems.
It’s not just the extra pounds of pressure that can cause joint issues. Fat is an active tissue that creates inflammatory chemicals called adipokines. In other words, fat causes inflammation in the body, leading to discomfort and pain associated with joint disorders such as arthritis. These inflammatory chemicals can also influence the development of osteoarthritis. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight could significantly reduce inflammation in your body, helping to prevent inflammation-related health problems, including osteoarthritis.
According to the American Obesity Association, obesity is also commonly associated with episodes of back pain. To compensate for extra body weight, the spine can become tilted or unevenly stressed, eventually developing an unnatural curvature of the spine. Patients who lose weight may experience a significant reduction in lower back pain and sciatica.
Are you ready to regain your life and live pain-free? Contact us today to learn how weight loss surgery can help reduce your risk of joint problems and injury, giving you your life back.