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How body weight contributes to osteoarthritis

How does body weight contribute to osteoarthritis? In this article, Dr Nelligan describes how body weight can contribute to joint pain.

In the past, the link between body weight and osteoarthritis was simply thought to be due to changes in joint loading resulting from increased body weight. However, the fact that obesity is also linked to osteoarthritis in joints that don’t bear weight- such as the hand- suggests that the relationship between body weight and osteoarthritis is much more complex. We now know that higher weight can contribute to osteoarthritis in several ways.

Studies show that higher weight contributes to osteoarthritis by: Changing joint mechanics; Increasing the inflammation throughout the body; Affecting mood, sleep and social activities

These factors can all play a role in the development of osteoarthritis in the first place. They can also lead to a cycle of worsening symptoms, physical inactivity and more weight gain.

Cycle showing worsening symptoms, physical inactivity, weight gain: Weight gain- altered joint movement - whole body inflammation - muscle weakness - poor sleep quality - low mood; Worsening osteoarthritis- greater joint pain - poor sleep quality - low mood - reduced social activity; Physical inactivity- reduced fitness & energy expenditure.

To summarise, higher body weight is a major contributor to osteoarthritis as a risk factor for both the development of osteoarthritis and of worsening joint symptoms. The good news is that body weight can be changed, which can have positive benefits for your osteoarthritis and general health.

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Taking Control of Your Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

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