Watch your weight to avoid arthritis

Watch your weight to avoid arthritis

Watch your weight to avoid arthritis. Be it academic, work or social setting, there exists a strong prejudice in our country against obese persons....

Be it academic, work or social setting, there exists a strong prejudice in our country against obese persons. Medically, obese people are at a higher risk of conditions such as Diabetes, cardiac disorders and psychiatric disturbances.

“Obese patients are at high risk of arthritis as every extra kilo increases the force on knees by 4-5 times. Obese patients suffering from arthritis find it difficult to exercise or walk to shed the extra kilos. In some cases, knees deteriorate to the extent that it starts affecting their movement and performing even the basic activities becomes challenging”,says Dr Reddy.

“In such cases, Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is usually the most suitable option for pain relief and regain mobility. Obesity, a major healthcare problem in developed nations has made inroads in India over past few decades. Poor eating habits, increasing preference for junk food especially amongst kids and young, lack of hard work and physical activity are some of the factors causing increasing number of Indians having high Body Mass Index (BMI)”, he added.

Knees are the highest weight bearing joints in our body. Any extra weight places extra pressure on knee joint, stresses muscles, causes early wear of smooth and soft articular cartilage, eventually resulting in arthritis. Every 1 kg extra weight gain can exert 4-5 times additional pressure on knees at every step. This constant pressure speeds up the wear and tear of knee joint, causing its degeneration.

Weight reduction is very useful for patients suffering with obesity, as it improves the symptoms and progression of arthritis. Physiotherapy and some changes in daily activities like prolonged standing, excessive stair climbing, avoiding cross leg sitting and Indian toilets may help significantly in early stages of arthritis. Certain nutritional supplements may help cartilage nutrition and alter the progress of arthritis.

However, obese patients suffering from severe knee arthritis and recommended for Knee Replacement face a peculiar problem. Those with BMI of more than 40 are usually considered unfit for surgery due to fear of complications are recommended weight loss before surgery.

It is a common belief that high body weight may lead to a less-than-optimal outcome of TKR due to increased stress across the components and increased load on surrounding bone. However evidence suggests that Total Knee Replacement surgery is as successful in obese patients as in non-obese patients and satisfaction rates are extremely high.

(The author is a senior consultant, Joint Replacement, Landmark Hospital)

By Dr Sudhir Reddy

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