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Does Weight Loss Help With Arthritis

Managing Weight Can Be Delicious

Weight Loss and Arthritis

Exercise and proper sleep are just two ways to manage weight, and the benefits of both include less pain and improved mood. But weight can be managed in another way the helps with arthritis pain. Did you know that the foods you eat can have a dramatic and positive impact on your arthritis? Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties and can actually help reduce painful symptoms.

Eating a diet filled with anti-inflammatory foods can help manage painful, swollen joints even as it helps you lose weight. Anti-inflammatory foods include things like leafy greens, cherries, wild salmon, and almonds.

For best results, including a quick shedding of pounds, eliminate common inflammation-causing foods like sugar, white flour, and any processed foods. Some people find that dairy or wheat causes painful joint pain flare-ups. There are more substitutes for dairy and wheat than there used to be, but those can be filled with fat, sugar, and salt and should be eaten sparingly.

The more whole foods you can incorporate into your diet the better. An easy way to think about eating for weight management and anti-inflammation is this: eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.

Weight Loss And Exercise Is The Optimal Approach To Managing Obese Patients With Osteoarthritis

Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism recommend the need for weight loss as well as exercise in the management of overweight or obese patients with OA. Several studies support the combination of exercise and weight loss, together with appropriate analgesia, as a cornerstone for these patients ,. These studies have highlighted important benefits of combined exercise and diet therapy compared with either exercise or diet alone, including greater improvements in gait, knee pain and physical function . Although long-term weight loss can be achieved through calorie restriction alone, the addition of exercise is also required in order to significantly improve mobility , self-reported function and pain . In addition, the CAROT study indicated a decrease in lower extremity muscle mass and muscle strength following weight loss in obese patients with knee OA, suggesting that significant weight loss should be followed by an exercise regimen to restore or increase muscle mass in this patient population .

In contrast to weight loss among the general population, where rapid initial weight loss can indicate a poorer long-term prognosis in terms of regaining weight , greater initial weight loss in obese people with OA is associated with better long-term prognoses, and can be associated with better compliance with treatment . However, this is in contrast with clinical opinion recommending a slower rate of weight loss .

Ask Your Doctor About Your Meds

Some medications that are used to treat RA or other inflammatory arthritis conditions can impact weight, says Dr. Andrews. For example, long-term use of glucocorticoids is associated with weight gain, and several medications used for arthritic pain can also cause weight gain. If you have these side effects, talk to your doctor.

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How Can My Diet Affect My Condition

Eating a balanced diet and having a healthy lifestyle such as regular physical activity, not smoking, not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can have a huge impact on arthritis and our health in general.

Although there are no diets or supplements that will cure your arthritis, some people do find that their condition is affected by what they eat, how much they weigh and their physical activity levels.

There are many types of arthritis, and there are differences between people, so what works for one person may not work for another.

When it comes to what we eat, the two things that can have the biggest impact on arthritis are:

  • Your weight being overweight can increase the strain on your joints, so keeping to a healthy weight can help. Being overweight can also increase your risk of developing certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Eating a balanced diet eating a diet with all the vitamins and minerals you need is important for everyone, but for people with arthritis it could help reduce the side effects of some drugs and protect you from conditions affecting the heart and blood, which can be a complication of some forms of arthritis.

Changing your diet probably wont have as great an impact on your arthritis as medical treatments, and its not recommended that you stop any of your treatments.

You should always speak to a healthcare professional before you make any major changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Mayo Clinic Q And A: Managing Arthritis Pain

Does Weight Loss Help Knee Arthritis?

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Nine months ago, I lost a significant amount of weight after being told doing so should help with pain from osteoarthritis. I now have a healthy body mass index, but my joints still hurt. Why is that? What else can I do to lessen my symptoms?

ANSWER: By losing weight, you have definitely improved your overall health, and youve decreased the risk that your arthritis symptoms will worsen. Unfortunately, weight loss doesnt reverse the effects of osteoarthritis on your joints. That means weight loss alone usually isnt enough to completely eliminate pain and other symptoms caused by osteoarthritis. But, along with maintaining your weight loss, exercising regularly, taking medication and participating in physical therapy all can help you manage arthritis pain.

Osteoarthritis is sometimes called wear-and-tear arthritis because it often develops over time as the cartilage within joints breaks down. Cartilage is the hard, slick coating that cushions the ends of your bones and allows them to move freely. In time, the cartilage may wear away completely, so bone grinds directly on bone, causing pain and making it hard to move the joint. Other common symptoms of arthritis in addition to pain and loss of flexibility include joint stiffness, redness and swelling.

In addition, if you smoke, quit. Smoking is related to accelerated damage of connective tissues and developing arthritis and pain from arthritis.

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Arthritis And Your Weight

Your weight doesnt just influence your risk for arthritis. Once you have arthritis, youre more likely to become disabled if youre overweight.

Though body weight is typically associated with osteoarthritis, it also contributes to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis develops at an earlier age in people who are overweight or obese. Additionally, carrying extra weight delays the effect of the drugs we prescribe to treat the disease and slow down joint damage.

Many people can prevent arthritis or drastically lower their risk by losing weight. You dont even need to lose a massive amount of weight to make a difference. For example, obese women who lose 11 pounds can lower their risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by at least 50%.

Improved Mood Due To Exercise Breaks The Vicious Cycle Of Pain Sleep Issues And Depression

Even if pain is not actually worse, poor sleep due to arthritis can bring on mood disorders like depression which make pain seem worse. Managing your weight through exercise sheds pounds while boosting mood, a double bonus for those who need help managing chronic arthritis pain.

Dr. Patricia Parmelee from the Center for Mental Health & Aging at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa found that sleep and pain were closely linked:

Sleep disturbance is a common complaint among those with pain, particularly among those with OA. Our research is unique as we investigate the complex relationships among sleep, OA-related pain, disability and depressed mood simultaneously in a single study.

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Obesity And Psoriatic Arthritis

Research also suggests a link between obesity and psoriatic arthritis a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes scaly, red patches of skin. A population-based study found the risk of developing PsA among psoriasis patients increases with BMI, or body mass index the higher your BMI, the more your risk of PsA increases.

Obesity Is A Risk Factor For Incidence And Progression Of Osteoarthritis And Negatively Influences Disease Outcomes

#RheumTips – How to Lose Weight with Arthritis Joint Pain

Obesity is widely acknowledged as a risk factor for OA, with every 5kg of weight gain conferring a 36& increase in the risk of knee OA . There is evidence that the risk accumulates with increased exposure to high BMI throughout adulthood, with an association between BMI and later knee OA starting as early as 20 years in men and 11 years in women . In addition, body weight influences the severity of OA obese individuals have significantly more severe joint degeneration in the knees compared with normal weight or underweight individuals . Data from a casecontrol study have also indicated a strong association between increasing BMI and surgical replacement of hip and knee joints .

Of note, obesity and OA collectively reduce mobility. This can initiate a vicious cycle of events: reduced activity, further weight gain and decreased muscle strength, leading to increased joint problems and disease progression . Hence, weight loss is a primary goal in obese individuals with OA.

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The Scoop On Supplements

Supplements abound when it comes to arthritis. But only glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have some evidence to support their use. Glucosamine with chondroitin may decrease pain in people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee.

Note that osteoarthritis is the only type of arthritis that may benefit from these supplements. They do not help people with rheumatoid arthritis.

In general, glucosamine and chondroitin have minimal side effects. Steer clear of glucosamine if you are allergic to shellfish, or consider only glucosamine derived from a vegetable source. Glucosamine may raise blood sugar. Chondroitin can interact with anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs such as warfarin and aspirin that can increase the risk of bleeding.

Do Any Foods Interact With My Medication

Your doctor should tell you if there are any foods you need to avoid or eat more of while taking the prescribed drugs for your condition. There should also be information in the patient information leaflet included with your drugs.

Complementary treatments, such as supplements or herbal remedies can also interact with certain medications and could increase the risk of side effects. Its important to let your doctor know if you take any complementary treatments.

Some drugs prescribed for arthritis do interact with certain foods. Below youll find information on some of the most common interactions.


Grapefruit and grapefruit juice contain compounds that can block enzymes in your body. These enzymes are needed to break down certain drugs, but if theyre blocked, this can increase the levels of the drug in your blood. This could then cause new or worse side effects.

This can happen with some drugs to treat arthritis and related conditions, including:

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Body Weight Affects Joint Inflammation

Fat cells release substances that promote body-wide inflammation. If youre overweight, youll have more of those unwanted chemicals circulating through your body. The inflammation triggered by fat cells aggravates the joint inflammation already caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

People who are overweight or obese and who also have rheumatoid arthritis experience more joint pain than patients with a normal weight. However, weight loss can lower inflammation, improve joint function, and help reduce your joint pain.

If youre overweight and you struggle with knee pain, or pain in any of your weight-bearing joints, we can treat the problem in your joint and relieve your pain, while also recommending gentle exercises that will help you lose weight without further aggravating your joints.

To get started on the road to joint health, call Pennsylvania Orthopedic Associates, or schedule an appointment online.

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Why Weight Loss Helps

Does Weight Loss Help Knee Pain and Arthritis?

If youâre overweight, your chances of getting arthritis in your knee are four to five times higher than someone whoâs not.

Weight loss can help prevent OA — and treat it if you already have it — in a few ways:

  • It eases the pressure on your joints, like your knees and hips. The less extra weight you have to carry, the less wear and tear on your body. A loss of just 10 pounds can take 30 to 40 pounds of pressure off your knees when you walk, Sammut says.
  • It may lower levels of proteins that cause swelling. Fat cells create proteins that cause swelling throughout your body and can damage joints. Weight loss can help you lose extra fat and may ease swelling, even in joints that donât carry your weight.

The benefits of weight loss can be dramatic. If people who are overweight lose 10% of their body weight — 20 pounds for a 200-pound person — they can ease their joint pain by half.

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Impact Of Body Weight On Your Joints

It makes sense that gaining weight adds stress to your weight-bearing joints, but exactly how much difference does it make? When you walk, the pressure on your knees is three to six times more than your body weight. If you gain 10 pounds, your knees support an additional 30-60 pounds of pressure every time you take a step.

Though being overweight can lead to tissue degeneration, you can significantly lower your chance of knee osteoarthritis by losing weight. Studies show that women who lost 11 pounds cut their risk of knee osteoarthritis in half.

Can Diet Improve Arthritis Symptoms

Through the centuries, many claims have been made about the influence of dietary habits and nutritional supplements on arthritis. Some of these claims are supported by medical evidence and some are reasonable theories. However, for most of these claims, we are just not sure.

Even without all the proof, there are many healthy nutritional ideas that you can consider.

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Does Weight Loss And Bariatric Surgery Help Psa

The answer appears to be yes, especially for obese patients with severe cases of PsO and PsA. A new study presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, held in November, 2015, in San Francisco, California, reported significant symptom improvements in patients after they had received bariatric surgery. This finding suggests that emergency weight loss could have a major positive impact for obese PsA patient outcomes, noted the researchers.8

In the retrospective study, the researchers searched through a database of over 9,000 cases of bariatric surgeries performed at a single clinic from 2002 to 2013. They found 86 patients who had been diagnosed with PsO and/or PsA and compiled information about their disease history, treatments, and symptoms before and after the surgery.

The majority of psoriasis patients and PsA patients reported a substantial subjective improvement of their symptoms 1 year following the bariatric surgery. Using a disease severity scale , post-surgery decreases were significant for PsO and PsA patients . Patients with severe cases of PsO and PsA showed post-surgical improvements even more pronounced .

Exercise Gives You More Energy

Study: Weight loss benefits knee joint pain, arthritis

Maybe the thought of hauling your painful joints off the couch makes you tired, but know this: as you consistently exercise, losing weight and building strength and flexibility, your body actually has more energy.

Researcher Patrick OConnor, PhD and co-director of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory in Athens, Georgia recognizes that it may be hard to believe.

A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise, but if youre physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will helpit may be that lacing up your tennis shoes and getting out and doing some physical activity every morning can provide that spark of energy that people are looking for.

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How Can I Keep To A Healthy Weight

Keeping to a healthy weight is important for your general health, but it can also have benefits for people with different types of arthritis.

Being overweight can put more strain on your joints particularly those in the legs. The force put through your knees when walking can be two or three times your body weight, so losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Being overweight can also increase inflammation in the body, which could cause you more pain.

You may be more likely to develop certain types of arthritis if youre overweight, including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, back pain and osteoarthritis.

Would My Oa Patient Benefit From Losing Weight

Weight/Height Tables. Determining whether a patient would benefit from weight loss involves making some informed decisions. One method that offers general guidelines is to determine whether a patients weight falls into the healthy weight ranges currently recommended for adults. These ranges, which were revised and updated in 1995, are presented in the Optimal Weight/Height Table below. In general, within each range the lower weights are for women, while the higher weights are for men.

Federal Guidelines on Obesity The first Federal Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults were released in March, 1998 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , in cooperation with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . These guidelines proposed that health care providers use three measures to assess overweight: body mass index waist circumference, and patients risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity.

  • Waist Circumference Waist circumference is another measure which provides important information about the associated health risks. Waist circumferences is closely linked with abdominal fat , which is an independent predictor of disease risk. A waist circumference of greater than 40 inches in men and greater than 35 in women signifies increased risk in those who have a BMI of 25 to 34.9.
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    Study On Weight Loss Counseling Arthritis Patients

    A CDC study found that healthcare professionals counseling for weight loss for adults with arthritis who are overweight or have obesity increased from approximately 35% in 2002 to 46% in 2014. Still, more than half of adults who have arthritis and weigh more than recommended are not receiving healthcare professional counseling to lose weight.

    Healthcare professionals should talk to their patients about physical activity and nutrition options to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

    A healthcare professional can talk to a patient with arthritis about weight loss options.

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