How Body Weight Affects Arthritis

Obesity is becoming a major problem across the globe. The biggest issue for the medical community is how much obesity is related to health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Another main concern with maintaining unhealthy body weight is the extreme stress it places on joints. The joints in the lower part of the body, such as hips, knees and ankles, are most likely to be affected because those take the brunt of the body weight.

Damage Caused by Obesity

Not only does extra weight put pressure and stress on joints, it can also affect blood circulation and prevent proper flow to the areas around joints. These issues often lead to arthritis, which causes extreme pain, stiffness, inflammation and swelling.

Although people who are of healthy weight may still be diagnosed with arthritis, those who carry extra weight are significantly more likely to develop the disease. Because of the epidemic of obesity-related arthritis causing joint damage, joint replacement surgeries have become much more common. They used to be reserved for elderly people whose arthritis cases had progressed too far, but they are now being performed on people who are much younger that have already developed severe arthritis from being overweight.

Lightening the Load

The best way to decrease your chances or getting arthritis, or to improve a case of arthritis you already have, is to adopt a healthy lifestyle of proper diet and exercise. If you are overweight, decreasing your caloric intake and burning calories through exercise can take off the extra pounds and the extra stress on your joints.

Always Consult a Health Professional

To determine the types of exercises that are safe for you based on your weight, physical health, and condition of your joints, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist who is familiar with your condition. He or she can recommend some simple exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, or jogging. Many health professionals also recommend activities such as stretching or yoga to help with joint elasticity and better range of motion.