Could Weight be the Cause of Your Arthritis?

There are over 100 different types of arthritis, and each one has a different cause. But one thing they all have in common is that being overweight worsens the symptoms. But does being overweight or obese actually cause your arthritis? In some cases, the answer may be yes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one in five Americans has arthritis, but among obese people, that stat increases to one in three. The connection is worth considering.

At Southern Pain Specialists, we understand your arthritis pain and can help you manage your symptoms and even overcome them. If your weight is playing a role in your arthritis pain, we can help you establish a plan to lose weight and relieve your pain at the same time. The first step is understanding what’s happening in your body that links the two. 

The link between obesity and osteoarthritis

More than 53 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis, and, of those, 27 million have osteoarthritis (OA). If you have OA, the cartilage in your joints has deteriorated. The cause may be from genetics, age, trauma, or even obesity.

The joints in overweight people have to do some pretty heavy lifting. In fact, every pound of extra weight you carry adds four to six times the pressure on your weight-bearing joints, like your knees and hips. That extra stress causes extra wear and tear on your cartilage that speeds up the deterioration process. So if you’re overweight but don’t have OA yet, it may well be in your future.

The link between obesity and psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease that makes your skin scaly and red. Studies show that obesity is a precursor to psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis — obese people are three times more likley to develop psoriatic arthritis than those at a normal weight.

Another way weight plays a role in your arthritis is that obesity increases inflammation throughout your body, which, in turn, may settle in your joints. That inflammation may also interfere with your medications to control it.

However, if you lose fat, even 10% of your extra weight, it could mean a 50% improvement in the pain level associated with your arthritis. It will also enable you to get more exercise, allow your medications to do their job, and improve your overall health. 

The link between obesity and rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is also an autoimmune disease, but instead of affecting your skin like psoriatic arthritis, it causes your immune system to attack your tissues and results in widespread inflammation, including in your joints.

If you’re overweight or obese, the fat in your body produces chemicals, at least one of which is known to cause inflammation, which creates a feedback loop between weight and pain/inflammation. 

In addition, if you have RA, you’re at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems than those without it, so it benefits you to lose weight and get in shape in other ways as well.

Whether you have one of these forms of arthritis or one of the many others, being overweight clearly complicates your condition. Call us at Southern Pain Specialists or click the “Book Online” button to schedule a consultation right away. We can help you start a plan to lose weight and relieve your arthritis pain at the same time.

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