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Obesity and Arthritis: Are they linked?

Arthritis risk tied to obesity

Carrying extra body poundage increases your odds of suffering arthritis of hips and knees as you age, a study at the Lund University in Lund, Sweden reveals.

While age, sex, level of physical activity, and smoking history can increase one’s chances for osteoarthritis, researchers found that high body mass index is the highest risk factor among them. The research, presented at the American College of Rheumatology in San Francisco last month, shows that an extra weight of 30 percent already increases your odds for osteoarthritis by 60 percent. Further increase in body mass also increases the size of risk.

Understanding the relationship between obesity and arthritis

The knees and hips carry all the stress of weight of our body. The pressure around the joints increases by up to three times with each step when you walk or up to six times when you climb up or down a flight of stairs. If you weigh 150 pounds, multiply that by 3 and that’s the amount of stress your hips and knees experience when walking.

Extra pounds speed up the damage on cartilage around the joints by increasing the amount of stress that the joints must carry. Over time, fluids accumulate, the muscles become unable to protect your joints from the extra load, and the cartilage inside the joints wears down. Each movement hurts that one is often forced to limit it.

Understanding the relationship between body mass index and osteoarthritis is important in preventing the disease. Since the size of risk is commensurate to a person’s body mass index, people can lessen their risk by reducing weight. Diet and exercise are traditional ways to lose the extra pounds, but thousands who need extra help have also turned to diet aids like Xenical. Whatever your choices are, discuss with your physician the safe way to shed excess weight and maintain a healthy body weight.

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