How Lowering Weight May Benefit Your Knees

How Lowering Weight May Benefit Your Knees

Knee discomfort is common in those who are overweight or obese. Losing weight can help relieve discomfort and minimize the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) in many circumstances.

According to one study, OA of the knee affects 3.7 percent of those with a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-25), whereas it affects 19.5 percent of those with grade 2 obesity, or a BMI of 35-39.9.

Having excess weight puts greater strain on your knees. This can lead to persistent pain and other issues, such as OA. Inflammation could also be a factor.

How weight affects knee pain
Maintaining a healthy weight has numerous health advantages, including:
- reducing the risk of various diseases
- reducing knee pain
- reducing joint inflammation

Decreasing weight-bearing pressure on the knees
Overweight people can lessen the stress on their knee joint by 4 pounds (1.81 kg) for every pound lost.

That means that if you drop 10 pounds (4.54 kg), your knees will have to sustain 40 pounds (18.14 kg) less weight in each stride.

Less pressure on the knees means less wear and tear and a lower risk of osteoarthritis (OA).

Weight loss is currently recommended as a technique for controlling knee OA.

Losing 5% or more of your body weight, according to the American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation, can improve both knee function and treatment outcomes.

Reducing inflammation in the body
OA has long been thought to be a wear-and-tear condition. Excessive pressure on the joints for an extended time will result in inflammation.

Recent research, however, reveals that inflammation may be a risk factor rather than a result.

Obesity can raise inflammatory levels in the body, causing joint pain. This inflammatory reaction can be reduced by losing weight.

One study looked at data from persons who lost an average of 2 pounds (0.91 kg) per month for 3 months to 2 years. In most trials, inflammatory markers in their bodies decreased dramatically.

Link with metabolic syndrome
Scientists have found links between obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many other health issues.

All of these disorders are part of a group known as metabolic syndrome. They all appear to entail significant levels of inflammation and may interact with one another.

There is mounting evidence that OA is a component of metabolic syndrome.

Following a risk-lowering diet that slows the progression of metabolic syndrome may also help with OA.

This includes eating fresh, nutrient-dense foods with a focus on:
- fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants and other nutrients
- foods high in fiber, such as whole meals and plant-based foods
- healthy oils, such as olive oil

Foods to avoid include those that:
- are highly processed
- have added sugar, fat, and salt
- contain saturated and trans fats, as these may raise cholesterol levels

Exercise, in conjunction with dietary changes, can help you lose weight and lower your risk of OA.

Current guidelines recommend the following activities:
- tai chi
- cycling
- walking
- strengthening exercises
- water-based activities
- yoga

These can increase strength and flexibility, as well as help with weight loss and stress reduction. Stress can cause inflammation, which can aggravate knee discomfort.

Tips for losing weight

Here are some additional actions you can take to begin reducing weight.
- Go for a walk after a meal.
- Use a pedometer and challenge yourself to walk further.
- Take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator.
- Add one vegetable to your plate.
- Pack your lunch instead of eating out.
- Reduce portion sizes.

Overweight, obesity and OA are all linked. A high body weight or BMI can place additional strain on your knees, increasing the risk of damage and pain.

If you have obesity with OA, your doctor may advise you to lose 10% of your body weight and aim for a BMI of 18.5-25. This may help to alleviate knee discomfort and keep joint damage from worsening.

Losing weight may help you manage other illnesses associated with metabolic syndrome, such as:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure (hypertension)

Your healthcare physician can assist you in developing a weight-loss plan.

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