It sometimes seems that the medical profession loves to blame the patient for their woes, especially if you are obese. This is one such article. It talks about a review study done by medics which basically says if you are obese then it is your own fault you have osteoarthritis (and probably a load of other medical issues as well!).
But is it the actual weight that causes the problem and will weight loss end your misery?
Is It The Weight That Causes of Osteoarthritis?
I don’t believe it is as simple as mechanical strain on the joint as often you will find only one knee or hip is affected. I think there has to be other factors involved as well.
If you have only one side affected then you will probably find you have had an old trauma in the past that has not healed properly. This has meant there has been abnormal stress through the joint, causing it to wear. Yes increased weight will cause it to wear quicker but it was not the actual cause and if you had been thin then it would still have worn.
Also I believe genetics play a strong role in OA. In a lot of cases you are going to get OA anyway as your joints just aren’t so good. Blame your ancestry, not yourself. Again the extra weight will cause the wear to occur quicker but did not cause the OA.
Now there is a lot of talk lately that systemic factors of being obese cause OA. In the article they quote Ryan C. Koonce, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Skagit Regional Clinics in Mount Vernon, Wash., and one of the authors of the literature review. He says
“There’s a clear link between obesity and osteoarthritis, and the link is both from biomechanical factors as well as systemic factors. The systemic component appears to be significant,”
By systemic he means the effect that the obesity has on the whole body and the way it functions. I don’t think it is the fact you are obese I think it it the way in which you became obese. Nowadays most of us are overweight because we eat junky, processed, unhealthy food, lacking in essential vitamins and mineral and high in salt (an important muscle tone regulator).
This means our bodies do not have the essentials to repair and look after itself. Consequently any minor trauma does not repair properly and so it wears out quicker.
So rather than just concentrating on weight loss consider what you are putting into your body. These are a couple of article I wrote about how a good diet can help:
So rather than concentrating solely on the AMOUNT of food you eat, look at WHAT food you eat. By altering your diet and eating healthier you will almost certainly loose weight but more importantly you will give your body the nutrients it needs.
Is Weight Loss for Osteoarthritis the Magic Cure?
Unfortunately not! If you already have OA then it will reduce the stress on the joint and surrounding soft tissue so reduce the amount of pain you suffer. As to whether it caused your OA I suspect there were other factors involved, as I venture to say all 360 of your joints are the same age so why aren’t they all affected!
However, I do believe eating HEALTHILY is more important than the actual amount of weight you carry. A good quality vitamin and mineral supplement will help you get a boost and kick start a healthy eating program.
If you want more information on other treatments rather than just weight loss for osteoarthritis please sign up for my free course, Pain Management for Osteoarthritis.