Improving Arthritis with Weight Loss

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis, or are you experiencing osteoarthritis pain in your joints? The number you see on the scale may seem unrelated to your bones and joints, but there are some key ways in which extra body weight can contribute to or even directly exacerbate arthritis pain. The good news is weight loss can help.

The association between weight and hip & knee pain

Since most people gain weight at a rate that is too gradual to make a direct association, it isn’t easy to notice how carrying extra weight can add to knee pain. But the Arthritis Foundation estimates that for every pound of extra weight a person carries, they experience four times that amount in additional pressure on their joints. So, for example, if you are 100 pounds overweight, that translates to 400 pounds of extra pressure on your joints, or 200 pounds per knee or hip.

On the bright side, for each pound lost, you can experience four pounds of pressure relief. In fact, a 2013 scientific study showed that losing even 10% of body weight brought relief to osteoarthritis knee pain sufferers.

If you are feeling knee pain and are overweight, consider that time is a factor as well. Taking action to lose weight can help prevent continuing pressure-induced joint damage—and potentially help you steer clear of future surgery for painful knee or hip joints.

The connection between fat and arthritis inflammation

The correlation between excess weight and arthritis is not just about avoiding extra pressure on your joints. Fatty tissues create and releases chemicals which can promote inflammation. This has been proven in studies that show there is also an association between obesity and osteoarthritis in non-weight bearing joints. So, for instance, even though hands are not exposed to the pressure that knee and hip joints experience, these joints can experience the inflammatory effects of being overweight on the system.

Weight and rheumatoid arthritis

The inflammatory chemicals from fat that likely contribute to osteoarthritis are also thought to contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Chemicals called cytokines are released by fat tissues, and many of them contribute to rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, if your body composition has too much fat vs muscle, you may be putting yourself at greater risk for rheumatoid arthritis. And if you are already fighting the disease, you have another reason to lose weight: rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are more likely to have heart disease, and weight loss can help.

Want help with losing weight and reducing joint pain?

Knowing how weight can contribute to joint pain is a motivator for many to get help taking off pounds. We’d love to help. We know how challenging it can be, but we’ve got proven solutions and an incredible team to support you throughout the process. Read about our weight loss options here.