Excess weight speeds up osteoarthritis


Apart from heart disease and diabetes, being overweight or obese can cause rapid deterioration of the cartilage in the knee, leading to osteoarthritis. With every one unit increase in body mass index (BMI), the chances of rapid cartilage loss increased 11 percent, said Padma Shri, Dr. B C Roy National Awardee & DST National Science Communication Awardee, Dr. K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India and Sr National Vice President Indian Medical Association.

Osteoarthritis is the most common musculoskeletal disorder with major health and socioeconomic impact in our aging society. Osteoarthritis usually progresses slowly, but some patients experience a more rapid progression.

In a report published in the journal Radiology, researchers recruited 336 patients from a major osteoarthritis study. All were overweight and at risk of osteoarthritis, but had minimal or no loss of cartilage in their knees. During 30 months of follow–up, 20.2 percent of the patients showed a slow loss of knee cartilage and 5.8 percent had rapid cartilage loss. The main risk factors for cartilage loss were pre–existing cartilage damage, being overweight or obese, tears or other injury to the cartilage at the knee joint (meniscus), and severe lesions seen on an MRI. Other factors include inflammation of the membrane lining the joints and abnormal build-up of fluid in the joint.

Weight loss is probably the most important factor to slow disease progression. Danger of developing osteoarthritis is another reason to control weight.

Do not let yourself get heavy. People who are heavy are the ones that are getting worse. Keeping your weight down through diet and exercise or weight–loss surgery –– could prevent the need for knee–replacement surgery

Leave a Reply